The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica aims to lure you back to the minivan with a completely new and modern vehicle that even includes a hybrid option. Minivans are the workhorses of families everywhere, but they’re not the coolest cars on the block. They’re so uncool that they’ve fallen out of favor as families turn to SUVs and crossovers.
The Chrysler Town and Country was the first minivan and it’s a known quantity with a very definite image, which is exactly why Chrysler decided to give this minivan a different name. The Pacifica isn’t just a new model year or even an all-new version of the same vehicle. It’s entirely different than the minivan it replaces in the lineup and it’s quite a looker.
Yes, The Pacifica is still a minivan and you will not mistake it for anything else. At the same time, it’s lower to the ground, wider, less bulbous and whale-shaped than traditional minivans. It’s more style and less soccer mom.
Style is good but not particularly useful without functionality and versatility. The Pacifica delivers all of these, giving up nothing. There is seating for up to 8 passengers with several features to make it easier to reconfigure for cargo, people or both.
The Pacifica features Stow ‘n Go seating so passengers won’t have to remove the center row to make room for cargo. Instead a panel on the floor flips up, the seats flip down into the floor, and the panel snaps back into place. It’s a quick and simple process that makes commuting easier.
The new Stow ‘n Go Assist feature makes the process even smoother. Once you open the side doors, you’ll see a button next to the front seats. Press it and the front seats slide forward to ensure there’s room for the second row to fold without hitting the back of the first row. It’s a small detail, but one that makes a big difference.
The second row also has what Chrysler calls Easy Tilt. This lets you tip the seats forward for access to the third row even with an empty child seat installed in the second row. Anyone who has ever wrestled a child seat will instantly appreciate the benefits of this nifty feature.
Chrysler added a vacuum to the Pacifica, which is located in the second row rather than the very back. This makes a lot of sense because the second row is usually the messiest section in a minivan. This location and a long hose mean you can suck up dirt, stale french fries, and rogue bits of cereal all the way from the drivers footwell to the far back cargo area.
Something minivans have never been known for is a great driving experience. Historically they’ve been known to do the job. That’s it, nothing more (sometimes less).
The Pacifica changes things up with a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. That’s more horsepower than any other minivan and it feels that way when you’re behind the wheel.
Floor it at a dead stop sitting next to a Ferrari, and you’re still going to be left in the dust, but this car moves. Even at highway speeds, press the gas pedal and the Pacifica responds for easy maneuvering through heavy traffic.
The ride is notably smooth and quiet, more so than other minivans. Imperfections in the road surface are smoothed right out and it’s easy to handle. Driving through narrow, twisting roads it never felt uncontrolled and there was very little body roll. It was comfortable, quiet, and composed at all times.
Infotainment comes from the Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch color touchscreen, navigation, and voice command. We’ve found it consistently one of the easiest and most intuitive systems out there. Improvements include a screen that’s now flush with the dashboard giving it a more modern look.
A new addition is the Uconnect Theater rear seat entertainment system. This lets the kiddos watch movies and play built-in games through two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens. They can also connect to the internet and stream content. Those who take road trips will love this feature. Heck, those who are in the car for 10 seconds with kids will love it.
Parents hauling their families demand a safe vehicle. The Pacifica has over 100 standard and available safety features to set your mind at ease. This includes a 360-degree surround view camera. It shows the view around the vehicle, including a bird’s eye view to help avoid curbs and obstacles low to the ground.
Additional safety features include LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus to help keep you from drifting from your lane, Forward Collision Warning-Plus to stop the car before an impact, and Active Cruise Control that will bring the car to a full stop. There’s also ParkSense Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist to guide you into parking spaces.
Five different trim levels start with the base LX at $28,595 and top out with the Limited at $42,495. It is competitively priced and incorporates many optional features at a lower price point than the other guys. Pricing has yet to be released on the hybrid, which will be available later this year.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica isn’t the same old minivan. Improved styling, advanced safety technologies, and loads of comfort and convenience features make it the new standard for the modern minivan.