2017 Chrysler Pacifica: New strong rival in minivan niche

James Raia

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica replaces the Town & Country.

Pacifica isn’t a new automotive nameplate. Chrysler first used it on a concept vehicle 1999. The Chrysler SUV/wagon discontinued in 2008 after four years of production was also called the Pacifica.

But the name has returned again with the debut of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan. It’s the replacement for the royal-sounding and now-defunct Town & Country.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica: New strong rival in minivan niche 1
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan replaces the Town & Country. All images © James Raia/2017

The three-row, seven or eight-passenger minivan joins the niche market dominated for many years by the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. But out and good riddance with the former vehicle Chrysler called a “sports tourer.” And welcome its sibling that resembles no one else in the family.

Once considered stodgy and best reserved as utilitarian people movers for “soccer moms” and family picnics, the minivan segment is vastly improved. Like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, the new Pacifica is a modern, comfortable touring vehicle.

It’s still a people hauler, but like its competitors, the new Chrysler prompts a serious consideration for new buyers.

Why not consider a minivan even if you’re part of a smaller family? When not consider a minivan even if you’re a family of one who seeks multiple rows of flexible, comfortable seats for friends or generous cargo space for solo travel while hauling stuff?

The new Pacifica’s versatility begins with its five trim levels: LX, Touring, Touring-L, Touring-L Plus and Limited. The Pacifica Hybrid, available later in 2017 and on display for the first time last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will be sold as Touring and Limited Platinum.

As the third trim on the cost ladder, the Touring-L Plus edition, my test vehicle, includes the extensive of standard features from the lower trims, including one of the minivan’s highlights — power sliding rear doors.

The Touring L-Plus includes: upgraded headlights, an eight-way power passenger seat, an upgraded driver information display, ambient interior lighting and second-and third-row sunshades.

And there are heated second-row seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, a 13-speaker sound system and a second-row rear entertainment system with dual 10-inch touchscreens, a Blu-ray player and additional USB and HDMI inputs.

Further added touches include a built-in vacuum and the Uconnect Theater entertainment system.

The Pacifica’s seat configuration and ease of adjustment are impressive. Passengers heading for the third row of seats can access the back row from the center aisle between the captain’s chair seats in the second row.

The third row is also accessible with room to spare by tilting the second-row seats forward via a lever in Chrysler “Stow ’n Go” feature. The third row of seats also fold into a rear storage area. With the third row of seats up, the Pacifica has 32.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The area expands to 87.5 cubic feet with the third row down and to 140.5 cubic feet of storage with the second and third row of seats stored.

With its comfort and smooth ride, the Pacifica also advances in near silence, particularly considering it’s a van. In both city and highway trips, the minivan has all the characteristics of its segment. But there’s a surprising luxury trait that enhances the driving experience.

Comfortable, spacious interior
Smooth ride.
Good gas mileage for the segment.
Touchscreen heating and cooling controls.

No standard spare tire.

Facts & Figures: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.4 seconds.
Airbags: 8.
Fuel economy: 18 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway), 22 mpg combined, 9-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 287.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $37,895.00.
Manufacturer’s Website: www.chrysler.com.
Price As Tested: $43,445.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“The Pacifica may give up a little something to the Odyssey and Sienna in some areas. But it’s close. And in this category, all those USB ports, entertainment options, and storage solutions are just about as important as anything.” — caranddriver.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is a consummate family people mover. It’s versatile, spacious, comfortable and has a lot of comfort features for the price. No wonder it’s on so many lists of top vehicles for 2017.”


2014 Chrysler Town & Country

2009 Chrysler Town & Country

Article Last Updated: March 6, 2017.

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