2017 Chrysler Pacifica Full Expert Review

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Introduction

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica comes as an all-new minivan.  It’s the replacement for the previous Town & Country minivan, which the manufacturers have discontinued.

Before now in the mid-2000shrysler had a crossover wagon/SUV named Pacifica but there’s no relation here. However, this Pacifica comes to replace the now-discontinued Town & Country minivan. Also that Chrysler is willing to shelve the name recognition of the familiar T&C is a hint of how different this new Pacifica would be like. It’s created on a new light yet strong body structure and is wrapped up with svelte styling and a  more handsome-looking and well-finished interior.

The Pacifica carries over  some cool new optional features, too, including a dual screen rear entertainment system, automatic emergency braking, a built-in vacuum cleaner and an automated parallel and perpendicular parking system. Also interesting is the new option is the Pacifica Hybrid variant. It’s the first hybrid minivan on the market (plug-in variant or otherwise), and Chrysler says you can drive it up to 30 miles on electric power alone and then it switches over to regular gasoline/electric hybrid power.

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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Chrysler Pacifica minivan lands in five trim levels: LX, Touring, Touring-L, Touring-L Plus and Limited. The Pacifica Hybrid will be given as Touring and Limited Platinum; however the Hybrid would come under a separate review.

Setting things off is the Pacifica LX with 17inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, seven passenger seating, foldable/collapsible second-row seats (“Stow ‘n Go”), a 60/40 split folding third row seat, an eight-way power driver seat, three-zone climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an electric parking brake, a 5-inch center touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, voice commands, Uconnect Acess and a six-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary inputs.

Upgrading to the Touring gives you those features and power sliding rear doors and satellite radio.

The midgrade Touring-L has on a power lift gate, exotic exterior trim, fog lights, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, LED taillights, a security alarm, automatic climate control (three-zone), leather seating, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and an additional storage for the first-row floor console.

There are even more with the Touring-L Plus. Its options include the already highlighted added with an upgraded headlights, an eight way power driver seat, an upgraded driver information display, ambient interior lighting, second and third-row sunshades, 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.

Finally, there’s the Limited. The entertainment system is however optional but otherwise it has all of the above, and 18-inch wheels, a hands free lift gate and sliding door functionality (though available late), two sunroofs ;panoramic for the first two rows and an additional fixed sunroof above the third row, xenon headlights, LED fog lights and a power-folding mirrors. On the inside there is a driver memory settings, upgraded ambient interior lighting, a navigation system, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, an in car vacuum cleaner and power folding functionality for the third-row seat.

Many of the options of the upper trim levels can be added to the lower trim levels optionally. Other major options are a 20 inch wheels, a removable center second-row seat (increasing passenger capacity to eight), a 20-speaker Harman Kardon sound system plus a tow package.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2017 Chrysler Pacifica lands standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That power is directed to the front wheels via a nine speed automatic transmission. Automatic engine stop start function (this save gas when you’re not in motion) will be included midway through the year.

EPA fuel economy estimates is kept at 22mpg combined 18 city/28 highway. This is quite an average number for the minivan class.

For the Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler is planning to use a special version of the V6 combined with a pair of hybrid motor/generators fed by a 16-kWh floor-mounted battery pack. An estimated 260 hp passes through a special continuously variable transmission.

Chrysler thinks the hybrid will be able to travel up to 30 miles on electric power alone before it switches over to regular gas/electric hybrid operation and claims an 80MPGe estimate. As with other hybrids, some battery recharging happens naturally when braking or coasting. The plug in nature of the van means its battery pack will be primarily recharged from a power cord, however. With a 240-volt charger, Chrysler opines that recharging a depleted battery will take just two hours.

Properly equipped, the regular Pacifica can tow up to 3,600 pounds.

Safety

Standard safety equipment for the 2017 Pacifica is inclusive of traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, side curtain airbags, front seat side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags and a rearview camera. The antilock brake system also has a couple other features, including periodic brake-rotor drying in rainy conditions and automatically snugging the brake pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the gas.

The subscription based Uconnect Access service adds emergency assistance, remote door locking/unlocking and vehicle location services.

Rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic signal are optional for the LX and Touring (Safety Tec Group package) and standard on all other Pacificas. If you’re backing up in a Pacifica, the rear parking sensors have automatic low-speed braking ability that can be applied when an object is detected and the driver takes no action.

The optional Advanced SafetyTec Group package is the for Touring-L Plus and Limited and adds automatic wipers, automatic high-beam headlight control, lane departure warning, lane departure intervention, forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree top-down camera system and an automated parking system (both parallel and perpendicular).

Interior Design and Special Features

The Pacifica’s dashboard has a modern and flowing look that’s topped off by the new metallic rotary gear selector knob that looks and feels more upscale than the typical stubby minivan shifter.chry interior

Chrysler has also adopted the more open feel of the Odyssey and Sienna by taking out the previous van’s traditional center console and instead going with an open floor between the driver and passenger. This creates more available storage and the Pacifica now rivals the Odyssey for the best mix of cubbies, slots and bins. Interior materials quality is high, and the controls have a solid feel to them. Overall, the Pacifica looks and feels impressively upscale inside.chry navi

The Pacifica also packs Chrysler’s latest tech hardware. If you can, get the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen. Uconnect is one of our favorite infotainment systems because of its crisp and clear graphics, quick processing and easy-to-use nature. If you do a lot of road trips with your kids, you’ll enjoy opting for the new “Uconnect Theater” rear entertainment system. Besides having Blu-ray disc playback for the two 10-inch touchscreens mounted in the back of the front seats, the system also includes the ability to individually input various devices (smartphones, gaming consoles) and has a few built-in apps and games as well.

One thing carried over from last year is the useful folding/collapsible second-row captain’s chair seats, which Chrysler calls “Stow ‘n Go.” If you frequently need to switch from carrying people to hauling cargo, they are invaluable. Without much effort, you can individually fold the second-row seats and then store them in under-floor compartments (which can also be used for storage if you have the seats deployed). The only downside to these seats is that they’re not quite as adjustable or comfortable as the second-row seats in rival minivans.

A new addition this year is an available center seat for the second row that boosts the Pacifica’s passenger count to eight. It’s removable, but unlike the outer seats, there’s no under-floor storage for it. In the third row is the class-typical 60/40-split third-row seat. It’s more comfortable for adults than the old T&C’s seat, though, and we think the Pacifica now has the most supportive and comfy seat in its class.

If you’ve got child safety seats installed in the second row seats, getting to the third row is easier this year. Passengers can still use the center aisle between the seats but there’s also a second-row seat tilt feature that allows you to tip those Stow ‘n Go seats forward without having to remove the safety seats.

When you don’t need the third-row seat, you can fold it down into a rear storage area. Power operation is an exclusive feature of the Limited trim level; just push a button and the individual seat sections can be raised or lowered in about 17 seconds.

Behind the third-row seats, the Pacifica offers 32.3 cubic feet of luggage space. Fold those seats down and 87.5 cubic feet becomes available. Maximum cargo capacity is 140.5 cubes. These capacities are typical for the latest batch of minivans.

Driving Impressions

The 2017 Pacific boasts an agreeably smooth and quiet ride. Whether you’re driving around town or heading out for a week-long road trip, the Pacifica will keep you and your passengers comfortable. It’s also impressively quiet at highway speeds thanks to minimal amounts of wind, road and engine noise. Around turns, you’ll feel like you have plenty of control through the van’s steering, but ultimate grip is expectedly modest.chry wheel

We’ve yet to fully run a Pacifica through our official battery of tests but initial impressions of the V6 are largely positive. Hit the gas from a stop and the minivan scoots up to city speeds quickly. For the most part, you’ll likely never notice that the Pacifica is picking from nine forward speeds, either. But there are times when the transmission can be hesitant to downshift, such as when you’re rolling along and need just a bit more acceleration.chry trunk