Those of a certain age will remember station wagons as the go-to vehicles for families. Their big selling point was roominess, which works perfectly when you have a car full of kids. Then came the minivan and families had a whole new way to travel. It all started with the Chrysler Town and Country 35 years ago and today the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica takes up the standard as a thoroughly modern minivan.
While SUVs and crossovers are increasingly popular for families, spend some time in a minivan and you’ll quickly see why they’re hard to beat when you have kids along for the ride. It all starts with those sliding doors, which make loading up toddlers in meltdown who hate car seats a little less likely to cause a matching parental meltdown.
Making Family Life Easy
In the Pacifica, the power sliding doors and the liftgate are both foot-activated. Just wave your foot under the sensor when you have the key fob stuffed in your pocket or purse, and the doors open. It’s ideal when you have your arms full and don’t want to have to put everything on the ground to dig out a key.
Those same wide sliding doors also make the Pacifica easy for older kids to hop in and out of without needing Mom or Dad to help. Loading a car full of kids and their stuff is not easy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re heading out for a week-long road trip or a day’s adventure to the beach – kids have lots of stuff.
While you finish loading the last bits of cargo into the Pacifica, the kids can step right up and get themselves buckled. Getting kids into the car for a trip is half the battle and you take what you can get as a busy parent.
Everyone Stays Entertained
The Pacifica has family-friendly features like a rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones and two 10-inch seatback touchscreens. There are second and third row Stow ‘n Go seats that fold easily down into the floor or offer hidden underfloor storage when the seats are in use. The Easy Tilt second row also tips forward to make getting to the third row easier.
Parents get the convenience of Uconnect infotainment with an available 8.4-inch touchscreen. It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with 4G Wi-Fi connectivity. There are even premium audio systems from Alpine and Harman Kardon. And for cleaning up the inevitable messes, the Stow ‘n Vac vacuum is at the ready and can reach all the way from the cargo area to the driver’s footwell.
Kids Not Required
Although most of the time you have kids along when you’re driving a minivan, if you’re lucky, you may get some time away without the kids. We spent 5 days on a cross-country road trip without the kids and found the Pacifica a great choice.
First, the open and airy shape of a minivan makes it feel downright spacious for front passengers so even after hours of driving you don’t feel worn out. There’s an overabundance of places to hold stuff, from keys to maps to empty coffee cups, so you won’t feel like you’re driving in a disaster area and can keep your road trip life organized.
The front console is perfect for holding what you want at the ready like smartphones. We left them plugged in and charging, cords nicely out of the way, ready for when it was time to find someplace tasty to eat or a good place to stop for the night.
Our Pacifica featured captain’s chairs, which we’re a big fan of any time they’re offered in a vehicle. They’re more comfortable and they provide the perfect place for a cooler in the middle. Not only can kids reach it, but pulled forward it’s easy for the front passenger to access, too. No need to pull over for snacks and drinks when you have them at the ready.
The sliding doors that make loading kids easy also make it easier to grab things out of the car. Unlike a sedan, which has room for one person to reach in back through each door, pop the minivan doors open and two adults can reach in, grab what they need, and go.
Quiet and Comfortable
You don’t think much about performance in a minivan, after all, you buy it for its versatility and features, but the Pacifica is surprisingly responsive. It has a 3.6-liter V6 offering 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Merging into highway traffic is easy and once you’re up to speed, the ride is controlled and responsive.
It’s also notably quiet. If you have kids, this might be a little hard to prove over the dull roar of the children, but once they fall asleep, you’ll notice. There’s very little road or wind noise and the Pacifica proves itself a relaxing ride that’s perfect for road trips.
Finally, a Hybrid Minivan
Budgeting for road trips is easy with an EPA-estimate fuel economy of up to 19 mph in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. That’s good, but the Pacifica can do one better in a way that no other minivan can match courtesy of a plug-in hybrid.
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the only hybrid minivan you can buy. It has a total combined gas and electric range of 520 miles, which reduces how often you need to stop for fuel but unfortunately doesn’t do anything to help with all those bathroom breaks. There’s an all-electric range of 32 miles and it achieves EPA-estimated fuel economy of 82 MPGe so it’s easy on your wallet.
Finally, there’s safety, which rises to the top of your priority list when you have the kids along for the ride. The Pacifica received an overall 5-stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2019 Top Safety Pick. It also comes with a wide range of standard and available safety features.
Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, rear park assist, and electric parking brake with safety hold are standard. Available features on the Chrysler Pacifica include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, parallel and perpendicular park assist, front and rear park assist, surround view camera, and trailer-sway control.
A Wide Range of Trim Choices
The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica offers a premium minivan experience for families. It has high safety ratings and a wide range of available safety features with convenience features that make life easier. There’s also a choice of two fuel efficient powertrains including the only hybrid minivan available.
Pricing on the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica starts at $26,985 for the base model and runs up to $44,445 for the Limited at the top of the six-trim range. The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is available in a range of three trims priced from $39,995 to $45,545.
Whether you’re taking it around town or on a road trip, hauling the family or escaping as a couple, you’ll be happy you’re driving the Pacifica.