2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Enhancing the Minivan with More Family Friendly Features
When my second child arrived 13 years ago, my husband and I recognized that my small Honda Civic coupe was insufficient for our family's needs, but when we decided to step up to a minivan, I chose to drive my husband's sedan and let him become the "Minivan Dad." For more than 30 years, minivans have been the ultimate family haulers, offering comfort and convenience, as well as practical flexibility for people and cargo; unfortunately, they've never been perceived as "cool."
Chrysler aims to change that perception with the introduction of its new seven- or eight-passenger Pacifica multipurpose vehicle, promising stylish design, cutting-edge technology, an all-new efficient hybrid powertrain (the segment's first), as well as all the comfort and convenience features we have come to appreciate in Chrysler's previous people movers.
Since it debuted the Dodge Caravan in 1984, the Chrysler Group has set the pace in the minivan segment, selling more than 12 million units worldwide (including the Caravan and Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, and Plymouth Voyager). As the familiar family vehicle approaches the end of its fifth generation, the company is recreating its minivan mindset with an all-new model -- the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica -- set to launch later this year.
Completely re-engineered from the ground up on an all-new platform, the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica features a sculpted exterior with a fast-looking silhouette. Sliding-door track lines are hidden under the rear-quarter side glass, making them nearly invisible. With its long wheelbase, wide track, and low ground clearance, the Pacifica looks athletic and planted.
Inside, high-tech elements combine with a sculpted, muscular feel. The interior boasts 165 cubic feet of passenger volume with 32 cu.-ft. of storage behind the third row, or as much as 140 cu.-ft. of storage behind the front-seat passengers. Thoughtful storage abounds: a large center console features spaces specifically designed to fit devices like an iPad; its bottom is deeper than the vehicle floor for added storage space. Two bins in the rear cargo area can each hold a gallon of milk, and the backs of the front seats include integrated grocery bag hooks. Seating for seven is standard; the eight-passenger option includes a removable seat between the existing second-row seats and functions as a large second-row armrest with cupholders when not in use.
The all new Pacifica also introduces a convenient integrated vacuum Chrysler calls "Stow 'n Vac," as well as an available tri-pane panoramic sunroof that adds to the feeling of interior spaciousness. Active noise cancellation is standard on all models for a quieter interior during the daily commute or while on an extended road trip with family and friends. A unique back-seat entertainment system called "Are We There Yet?" also provides interactive activities, and even tracks the car’s distance from its destination.
Under its hood is Chrysler's latest 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, which produces 287 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with rotary e-shift technology and benefitting from engine stop-start (ESS) technology, the Pacifica boasts a towing capacity of 3,600 pounds and fuel economy figures of 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 22 combined.
In the second half of 2016, the Pacifica will offer the industry's first plug-in hybrid electric minivan, promising an estimated range of 30 miles solely on zero-emissions electric power from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. When the battery's energy is depleted, the Pacifica Hybrid works like a conventional hybrid to be powered by both the electric drive system or supplemented by the 3.6-liter V-6 engine. In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. The battery pack can be fully recharged in as little as two hours using a 240-volt plug-in system.
If your daily drive is under 30 miles, and you have access to a power outlet between trips, Pacifica offers the potential to be an all-electric commuter. On the other hand, its hybrid powertrain alleviates the range-anxiety that may limit some from choosing a pure electric vehicle. Unfortunately, the battery system occupies the underfloor wells into which the Stow-N-Go seats would normally fold, replacing those popular collapsible second-row buckets with larger removable seats.
In addition to such convenient favorites as keyless Enter 'n Go, remote start, and heated and ventilated seats, Pacifica also offers hands-free sliding side doors and liftgate, and redesigned Stow 'n Go seating with Stow 'n Go assist and easy tilt access to the third row.
Pacifica promises a laundry list of standard and available safety and security features, including electronic stability control; 360-degree surround-view camera; ParkSense rear parking assist with stop, parallel and perpendicular park assist; blind-spot monitoring; adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality; forward collision alert with automatic braking; as well as lane departure warning and keep-assist.
Ideal for families with several young children, Pacifica also boasts up to five seating positions that will accommodate LATCH child safety-seat installation -- more than any others in the segment. Traveling with that many youngsters is made easier by the Uconnect Theater rear seat entertainment system and the "Are We There Yet?" app suite, so passengers can watch movies, play built-in games, connect personal devices to surf the Internet, and stream content throughout the vehicle via two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens.
If your family also includes young drivers, the available KeySense programmable key fob places limits on speed and audio volume, mutes the audio when front seatbelts are not buckled, prevents the disabling of certain features like Forward Collision Warning-Plus and ParkSense rear park assist, and allows blocking of certain SiriusXM Radio channels.
The 2017 Pacifica will be offered in five trim levels starting with the LX ($28,595), Touring ($30,495), Touring-L ($34,495), Touring-L Plus ($37,895), and Limited ($42,495); destination charges add another $995. When the PHEV powertrain becomes available later this year, Hybrid buyers can choose between Touring and Limited Platinum trim levels, though pricing has not yet been revealed.
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