When it came time for Chrysler to reinvent their minivan, a market segment they invented, they started with a clean sheet of paper and a new name, Pacifica.
Ok, well not an entirely new name as the Pacifica had been a similarly sized crossover not that long ago. A clean break was made though, leaving the olden days image of Town and Country back out in the land of white ranch fences and wood siding.
All new from the ground up, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is styled much like the contemporary 200 sedan. The face in fact is nearly identical, the side styling lines similar. Where the design takes a new curve is at the back where a sporting kick up frames a wrap-around rear glass styling element with integrated tail lights.
Our Touring trim grade test vehicle came with standard 17-inch wheels and a number of popular features like power sliding doors, optioned was a power rear gate, all of which can open by pressing a button inside, outside or on the key fob.
Its interior is also well featured for being one rung up from the base model with a pleasant looking two tone color scheme, sturdy fabric for the seating and top quality materials throughout. The latter was one of the most impressive aspects of this cabin.
Versatility too is top of the list with storage bins everywhere, plenty of places to place and charge personal devices, lots of cup holders and extra power ports. Chrysler’s Stow-N-Go seating is also standard, the second and third row seats able to fold entirely flat into the floor for a flat cargo deck.
Seating up front is plenty comfortable if not sporting. The driver gets a power seat, the passenger manual. Outward visibility is very good as in most minivans, and the seating position very commanding.
Second row passengers do get a seat back rake adjustment to go with their plentiful space, though the lower cushion is set a bit low. Third row passengers also have commodious levels of leg and head room, easy to get to with the center aisle.
The standard audio system has AM/FM and Sirius XM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity for your phone, and both a USB and AUX port. Sound quality through its six speakers is good, but there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto here yet.
Powering the Pacifica is a heavily revised version of the brand’s 3.6 liter V6. With 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque it works well with a 9-speed automatic transmission. It all worked very well, the engine refined and smooth, the transmission the best behaved we’ve experience yet with the 9-speed.
Fuel economy is rated at 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. In our week with it we achieved 24 mpg combined which was a bit above promised – always good.
A long wheelbase, a new independent rear suspension and a more rigid body structure also contribute to a quieter and more premium feel when cruising down the highway or driving around the imperfect city streets.
Steering has a light feel that makes the overall driving experience playful if not fun, and that says a lot for a minivan.
As tested, our 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring was $31,985 including the power lift gate at $495. This represents a pretty healthy value in our view given the overall goodness and versatility Chrysler put into the new van. We liked it so much, it makes our 2016 id Buy It” list.