The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Review: Chrysler’s new 2017 Pacifica has split personalities. The interior is designed for people who love minivans, and the exterior is designed for people who hate them. It’s an interesting and bold experiment as Chrysler tries to re-ignite the passion people once had for minivans in the 1980s and ‘90s. The segment has dramatically shrunk in recent years as many buyers have switched from boxy, utilitarian vans to trendier crossovers and SUVs, despite their sometimes gluttonous gas consumption and less useful cabins.
The Pacifica makes the case that today’s marketplace isn’t being rational. The most logical vehicle for most American families, by a long shot, is the minivan. And this all-new design is a darn good one, perhaps the best ever to hit American roads.
It’s like Chrysler is saying, “Take that, Honda and Toyota!”
On the outside, the Pacifica does a great job shedding the frumpy persona that plagues most vans. While it’s still shaped like a box on wheel, the most efficient way to maximize interior volume, Chrysler’s stylists used visual magic tricks to make it look far more sleek and round from the outside.
The Pacifica is an extremely talented disguise artist, taking on the pleasant, friendly face of the Chrysler 200 in front and the sculpted, sophisticated look of a luxury crossover in back.
Still, Chrysler doesn’t shy away from the fact that this is a minivan at heart. Kia almost treats the term like an expletive, calling the Sedona a “multi-purpose vehicle” instead of using the dreaded M-word, but Chrysler embraces the Pacifica’s minivan-ness with pride.
You can feel that most clearly on the inside, where it goes farther than any other vehicle to make kids, and, in turn, their parents, sublimely happy.
On my high-end Limited tester, the back seats were a paradise of digital acronyms, USBs, HMDIs, LCDs, all designed to keep children entertained for hours. Ample power outlets meant my three kids could keep their iPads and portable games charged indefinitely on the highway.
Even if we forgot to bring along the handheld electronics, the Pacifica had us covered. Two huge video screens could not only play Blu-ray movies, but they also came with built-in games that can be played by touching the screen or by remote control.
The children could play tic-tac-toe or checkers against one another, for example, or play a fun game called “Are We There Yet?” that solves the bane of road trips. It integrates with the GPS navigation system in the front seat to display the van’s destination and progress along the route in a fun, cartoonish way for the passengers in back.
All the kid-friendly gadgets make me wonder whether Chrysler misspelled this van’s name. It should be called the Pacifier, not the Pacifica.
My biggest impression from the driver’s seat is sheer silence. This is the quietest van I’ve ever driven, and active noise cancellation, which comes as standard equipment on all trim levels, is a big part of that.
So is the stiffer, stronger, better-designed chassis that underpins everything. It feels even more solid and rock-like than the Japanese-brand minivans over the road, something I never thought I’d say about a Chrysler product, and its 287-horsepower engine and nine-speed transmission feel as silky and well-tuned as anything in its class. Even its gas mileage is unsurpassed at 28 mpg on the highway.
In my mind, though, resale value and brand reputation are the only two question marks about the Pacifica. Toyota and Honda, and to a lesser extent Nissan with its Quest, have earned esteem for longevity and ridiculously strong prices in the used-car market. Only time will tell if Chrysler’s latest work will close that resale gap as much as it has in technology and refinement, which are obvious from even a quick test drive.
Overall, though, the Pacifica is a minivan full of pleasant surprises. Its sharp looks, refined driving feel and long list of family-friendly innovations, 37 with this generation and 115 in total, if you’re counting, are all meant to shatter expectations. With a plug-in hybrid version on its way soon, expect for them to be shattered even more.
By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
What was tested? The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited family minivan with a base MSRP price of $42,495. Options on the test minivan: None. Price as tested including the $995 destination charge came to: $43,490
Wheelbase: 121.6 in.
Length: 203.6 in.
Width: 79.6 in.
Height: 69.9 in.
Engine: 3.6-liter V6 (287 hp, 262 lb.-ft.)
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
EPA Mileage: 18 city, 28 highway
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The Bottom Line: The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited does a brilliant job hiding its minivan bones from the outside. It combines the pretty nose of the Chrysler 200 with rear styling elements of a luxury crossover to mask its familiar, boxy dimensions. The Pacifica’s interior has the sophisticated look of an upscale car in the front. And in the back it’s very kid-friendly, especially on high-end trim levels with the optional entertainment system.
The sleek Chrysler Pacifica starts anew, replacing the old Town & Country and is the quietest minivan for sale today. It’s packed with family-friendly innovations, from its technology, to its easy-to-stow rear seats. It’s refined and stylish enough to tempt many of today’s crossover and SUV shoppers to check it out. And maybe, just for those reasons alone, you should “Drive one, Buy one, Today ©”.
This Bottom Line Review is provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net - And remember: “You Are What You Drive ©”
Column Name: A fresh start for Minivans
Topic: The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
Word Count: 1,020
Photo Caption: The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
Photo Credits: Chrysler Internet Media
Series #: 2017 - 06
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