Minivans are the go-to car for families, or at least they were until they became the most uncool vehicles on the planet. SUVs and their smaller crossover cousins are now the hip, happening vehicles to drive, but don’t count the minivan out just yet. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica aims to bring back the minivan and convince families they’re the best way to haul the kids around town.
What is it?
You may be wondering what happened to the Chrysler Town & Country. That’s old news, so rather than redo their existing minivan Chrysler built one that’s entirely new. It has less whale-like minivan style and leans more toward an SUV when you look at it from the rear, but it’s still a minivan with those sliding doors and oodles of features to make family travel easier.
Pricing and trims
There are five different trim levels to choose from starting with the base LX priced as $25,595 and topping out with the Limited at $42,495. That’s a $17,000 price range and it all comes down to features. If you want that rear seat entertainment system, those gorgeous leather seats, and the built-in vacuum, then you’ll be paying more for your Pacifica. There is also a hybrid version of the Pacifica that hasn’t yet hit the market.
We drove the Pacifica in the L Plus trim with a price of $42,650. This sits one step below the Limited and included most of the big desirables like the rear seat entertainment, advanced safety features, and a leather interior.
Safety is always at the top of your list with a family car and the Chrysler Pacifica has plenty of standard and optional features to set your mind at ease. Altogether there are 100 different safety features built into the new Pacifica. A rear back-up camera is standard with optional blind spot and cross path detection on the base model.
Move up the lineup and blind spot and cross path detection becomes standard while advanced safety features become available. This includes lane departure warning, forward collision warning with braking, surround view camera, and ParkSense with front and rear park assist.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has not yet been crash-tested by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Trafic Safety Administration.
Check out BestRide’s listings for the Chrysler Pacifica here.
Power for the Pacifica comes from a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This is more horsepower than you’ll find on other minivans and it makes a difference. The Pacifica never feels too big for its own good and is a nice vehicle to drive.
Minivans aren’t designed for performance, but the Pacifica is a responsive ride that accelerates quickly from a complete stop. It also delivers enough power to confidently speed up and pass cars on the highway.
The engine is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission that is smooth and quiet. You won’t hear undue noise from the engine due to a poorly-timed up or downshift.
Ride and handling
Despite its undeniable bulk, the Pacifica is an enjoyable drive. The strong engine performance combines with a comfortable interior and responsive steering. It’s easy to manage on the highway without that sense of being top heavy that can make you nervous in many large vehicles. It’s smooth and composed at all times.
Road and wind noise are minimal, a tough trick in a large square vehicle. Put kids in the third row and they’ll hear you even without having to raise your voice.
The front seats are wonderfully comfortable with 8-way power driver and passenger seats that are also heated. The steering wheel is heated, too, making winter mornings easier to take.
The second row is available with seating for three or two captain’s chairs that allow for easy pass-through to the third row. There are 39.6 inches of headroom and 38.7 inches of legroom. You’ll find comparable headroom in the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, but the Odyssey offers more legroom by nearly two inches.
Getting kids in the car is made quicker with the addition of an extra button on the door handle. When they’re old enough to get in on their own, but the doors prove too heavy, they can press this button easily and the doors slide right open. Both sliding doors are also foot-activated so you never need to grab the handle or search for the key fob.
Third-row seating is comfortable, but as with any three-row vehicle, it’s the least comfortable of the lot. Chrysler’s Easy Tilt feature slides the second-row forward with an empty child seat still installed to make accessing that third row easier.
Once again, the third-row offers comparable headroom to the Odyssey and Sienna, but the Odyssey offers much more legroom. The Pacifica gives you 36.5 inches, the Sienna 36.3 inches, and the Odyssey comes in with 42.4 inches.
Check out BestRide’s listings for the Chrysler Pacifica here.
The Pacifica falls short on cargo room compared to competitors. There are 140.5 cubic inches behind the first row, 87.5 cubic inches behind the second row, and 32.3 cubic inches behind the third row. The Odyssey comes in at 148.5/93.1/38.4 while the Sienna comes in at 150.0/87.1/39.1 making the Pacifica a poor choice if you want the best cargo room.
It does have some great features for tucking away all those extras you have when the kids are little. Stow ‘n Go seating lets you tuck the second-row seats into the floor when not in use, but that floor space is great storage when the seats are upright.
Another nice feature is Stow ‘n Go Assist. When you open the sliding doors, there’s a button to press next to the front seats that will slide those seats forward far enough to ensure you can fold the second row without smacking into the backs of the front seats.
Infotainment and controls
The Pacifica features Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system with either a 5.0-inch or 8.4-inch color touchscreen. We find it one of the best systems out there for its intuitive layout, responsive touchscreen, and large icons. A six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and steering wheel mounted audio controls are standard.
Options include navigation, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, and both Alpine and Harman Kardon audio systems. The Uconnect Theater package adds two 10.1-inch seatback touchscreens along with remote controls, DVD, and video USB ports to entertain the kids.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica takes the minivan out of the doldrums. It has more modern styling, a versatile and well-appointed interior, advanced safety features, and good entertainment options.
Those looking for a minivan that breaks the traditional minivan mold will be pleased. It’s an updated version of the old standard that finally makes the family hauler fun to drive.
The drawback is cargo capacity and legroom. It’s not as spacious as competitors, so it wouldn’t be the first choice if you plan to pack if full of stuff rather than people on the weekends.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus
Base price: $37,895
Price as tested,$42,650 including $995 destination charge:
Tire and Wheel Group: $895
18-inch x 7.5-inch aluminum painted satin silver wheels
All season tires
Advanced SafetyTec Group: $1,995
ParkSense front and rear park assist with stop
360-degree surround view camera system
Parallel and perpendicular park assist with stop
Full-speed forward collision warning plus
Lane departure warning plus
Rain sensitive windshield wipers
Automatic high beam headlamp control
Advanced brake assist
Uconnect 8.4 Navigation: $695
SirisuXM Traffic with 5-year subscription
SiriusXM Travel Link with 5-year subscription
- Stow n’Go Seating
- Push-Button Sliding Doors
- Rear Seat Entertainment System
- Cargo Room
- Limited Options on Lower Trims
- Narrow Third-Row Legroom