We recently got a chance to take the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica for a very short test drive here in my hometown of Phoenix. Now minivan has been a dirty word, but Chrysler is actually wearing it on their sleeve.
Now arriving at dealerships nationwide, the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica does take its name from the crossover that Chrysler built a decade or so back. But as they tell it this is a pure minivan inside and out, one they designed to be what it is and the best at it.
So what it is, is three rows of lots of space in a lounge like theme that will offer buyers more options and higher trim levels than the Town and Country it replaces ever thought of. Even though it starts under $30,000 you will be able to dock one up to over $50,000 full boat.
But like minivan, perhaps boat wasn’t the right word. The new Pacifica rides on an all-new chassis architecture that brings Chrysler’s best new powertrains and suspension hardware to the table. Gone is the old beam axle at the rear, now standard a multi-link suspension.
Gone are the rental car engines, replaced with a smooth and powerful 3.6 liter V6 good for 287 horsepower. Here it comes with Chryslers version of the nine-speed ZF automatic transmission, but in my short drive I found it to be better behaved in shifting feel than we expected. It’s clear they’ve been polishing it up.
Also polished up is the handling which with a body structure some 250 pounds lighter, comes across as such. Granted, our tester had every option under the sun including the panoramic glass roof, leather seats, and all the technology. So any weight savings was likely in our head.
What’s important to convey from our short stint though is that the seating position is much less upright, therefore more car like. It handles less like a van, more like a car. And when you plant your right foot down, it delivers some punch….like a car.
And that leads us to styling. It looks from the front a lot like a Chrysler 200 which by the way is a car. From the side and rear though it is indeed a minivan, but they’ve given a few new ideas, a few new angles some play here that scrubs away the dowdy we’d call the old Town and Country.
And that flows inside too where the interior is very pleasing to the eye with a good build quality and ergonomic design. It was just in-fact named one of Ward’s 10-best interiors, which is a high honor in the industry.
While not all models will have it all the Chrysler Pacifica offers so much in the way of versatility like fold flat “stow and go” seats for both the second and third rows. There are entertainment options that both adults and children will love, which we will get more into on our upcoming extended test drive review.
Suffice it to say they’ve thought of just about everything, including a built-in vacuum cleaner. Now yes you could say they copied Honda here, but this thing is powerful and robust. It even comes with a 12-foot extension hose so you can vacuum your boat or camping tent. Nice.
We will have a far more detailed review soon when we get more time with the Pacifica, but having owned a minivan in a past life that we used to hide when parking at work, this one comes off pretty hip at first blush.