When people first see a Pacifica, they're not always sure what they're looking at. Is it a luxury SUV or a sport wagon? It has some minivan flavor as well, but there are four doors instead of sliders, and AWD for some all-weather security. Not only that, the country of origin is unclear. While it carries the Chrysler badge, the fit and finish is Mercedes quality.

Not that this neither-fish-nor-fowl debate really matters, especially when we see the potential realized by the Pacifica Royal concept. Performance West Group has produced an impressive array of award-winning show vehicles, and continuing in the same vein, demonstrates how blue-blooded the Pacifica truly is.

Its DNA stems from a number of sources, displaying a flair for the elegant, a concern for road-going security, and the capacity for the sporting life. The Chrysler Pacifica Royal refuses to be pigeonholed into a traditional vehicle description. This Sport Tourer is an evolutionary design that carries forward elements of almost every vehicle type.

Starting with the suspension, the Pacifica Royal's chassis features an enhanced setup that works in conjunction with the self-leveling system. The result is a slightly lowered center of gravity and a tuned chassis that gives the vehicle a level of performance handling belied by its size and passenger capacity.

Integrated with the suspension is the wheel and tire combination, in this case, a set of glittering 20-inch Oasis L1 rims wrapped with Toyo Proxes performance tires measuring P255/40R20. In addition to giving the Pacifica even better grip and handling, they amplify its upscale quality with jewelry-like fasteners encircling the outer edge of the wheel face, drawing attention to the meticulously polished finish. The subtle detail extends to the center caps with Allen head screws and discretely hidden wheel fasteners.

Even though extremes of horsepower were not the focus of the Royal, under the hood is a Kenne Bell Optimizer II high-performance engine management system that provides an extra reservoir of power for the highway and the fuel efficiency of the 250hp 3.5L SOHC V-6. The low-restriction after-cat exhaust system from MagnaFlow adds just the right touch of free-flowing power and a subtle yet distinctive sound quality.

Another subtle aspect radiates from the SpectraFlair Holographic MetalFlake paint, custom-mixed by Flex Products. The two-tone motif turns into a brilliant polychromatic finish in bright sunlight, with a veritable rainbow of hues, but without the odd extremes seen in other types of color-shift paints. The depth and richness of the surface treatment creates a softer aura, rather than a brazen flash, harmonizing with the refined approach of the Royal concept. The window tinting adds a hint of mystery, providing privacy while reflecting the heat of the sun's rays for a cool and comfortable interior.

Complementing the exterior is a sumptuous interior swathed in glove-soft, multi-hued, color-coordinated leather from the artisans at Katzkin. The upholstery evokes spa-like richness, and seat massagers, heaters, and coolers ease the tensions of the city driving and long days on the interstates. Who says you can't have pampering and performance in the same package? That's what we call the royal treatment.