2021 Chrysler Pacifica
To be original of anything holds a high level of responsibility. Since 1983, this minivan held up that responsibility through corporate mergers, revolutionary design and technological advances, and changes in consumer trends for family transportation.
This original vehicle is now the responsibility of Stellantis, the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA. The newly combined automaker holds the legacy of the original minivan. The newly updated Chrysler Pacifica is the latest in the line of groundbreaking minivans the company offers today.
For 2021, the Pacifica arrived with a revised look, some new technology and hardware to advance one of the few true family haulers available today.
The exterior now wears a new front clip, larger grille, and headlamp units. A new set of taillights adorn the rear liftgate area, along with new wheel designs for all trim levels.
However, the Pacifica remains a very distinctive looking minivan. The glass profile remains with its front quarter glass for better front corner vision, and a reverse slant for the C-pillar side glass.
Our Limited tester came in a beautiful Ocean Blue Metallic. This color made the S Appearance Package pop a lot more. That package includes a blacked out grille and wing badge, along with trim details all around. Even our tester’s 20-inch alloy wheels were finished in black called “foreshadowed.”
As dramatic as the outside, the cabin remains the most advanced design among minivans today. Our tester came with a seven-seat configuration, with both the second-row captain’s chairs, and the third-row bench folded into the floor through the Stow’n Go system. It will provide a flat floor all the through the back of the first-row seats.
All three rows offer adult-size accommodations. Access to the third row is very easy with a quick release of each second-row seat and two power sliding doors for ease of entry and exit. Front row occupants are treated to comfortable and supportive bucket seats. Choosing the S Appearance Package gives all three rows nice black leather upholstery with the “S” stitched into the seats and white piping.
Storage is abundant with small little cubbyholes down the lower center stack, on the floor in-between the front seats, plus sliding storage places and more storage where the second row seats fold into the floor. The Pacifica is designed to take everything with you on any trips, including your work commute. And, there is a place for anything.
The Pacifica has the best instrument panel in the minivan segment, anchored with excellent and concentrated controls. The transmission is controlled by a knob, while the electronic parking brake is a push button, all on the center stack. Capping the center stack is the new UConnect 5 touchscreen, offering access to UConnect Apps and a multitude of audio playback and connectivity options. Instrumentation includes a customizable information screen in-between the speedometer and tachometer.
For second-row occupants, you have the UConnect Theatre. They can connect game consoles, playback BluRay discs, play pre-loaded games, and stream content from other devices two 10.1-inch high definition screens on the back of the front seats. You can also keep an eye on your second- and third-row passengers through FamCAM, with multiple views for each seat.
Powering our Limited tester is the 287-horsepower Pentastar 3.6-liter V6. The venerable engine is pretty responsive and quiet. This engine is connected to a nine-speed automatic, along with the new all-wheel-drive system. This new driveline returns to the Chrysler minivan after 13 years away, is designed to have full traction at all wheels when the system is enabled.
We found the Pacifica great to drive, even in winter situations. However, we also saw an average of 17.4 MPG in our care.
Our tester delivered with superior ride quality with absorbent suspension all around to ensure that it drives along without any negative feedback from the vehicle. Although handling is quite decent, some roll and lean is evident, we found that cornering was near flat below the limit.
The turning radius is very sharp for our Pacifica Limited tester, as it made quick work of tight maneuvers. Steering action felt a bit soft on-center with great response from its thick-rimmed wheel. Brakes are good with a solid feel at the pedal. Our Pacifica yielded solid stops in both normal, panic, and winter situations.
The Pacifica lineup starts with a base price of $35,045. Our Limited with S Appearance Package tester came with a sticker price of $55,265.
There are only a few competitors among minivans these days. Toyota’s Sienna, the Honda Odyssey, the Kia Sedona, and the Ford Transit Connect wagon. For family space, others have compared the Pacifica with large, long-wheelbase SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL, and Ford Expedition Max.
The Chrysler Pacifica remains one of the few choices for families of five or more with growing children. This minivan still offers the space they need for a comfortable ride with plenty fotech to make any drive worth bringing the family together.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors