It’s been a long time coming, but finally the next-generation Chrysler minivan has been revealed with the 2017 Pacifica. While much of this vehicle was already rumored, ditching the nearly legendary Town & Country nameplate is a bit of a surprise. Nonetheless, it appears Chrysler has brought their A-game back to the segment they created in 1984.
This time the company has essentially started from scratch to reinvent the minivan with an all-new architecture. This has allowed Chrysler to design a minivan that actually looks fairly attractive in person with lots of borrowed design cues from the Chrysler 200 sedan and an overall greenhouse shape that’s as less minivan as it could probably get. The result is a very practical vehicle that ends up not looking like a total mommy mobile. In person the Pacifica almost looks more premium than mainstream with detailed sheetmetal work and high-end finishes.
Inside is a similar story. The Pacifica interior isn’t just nice to look at, but material quality and ergonomics appear to be top-notch, especially in comparison to the rest of the minivan segment. The upper dash is soft-touch and everything feels of high quality. Chrysler claims that eight adults will comfortably fit into the Pacifica, and in our quick look, we’d have to agree with them. The load floor is flat, the seats are remarkably comfortable and there’s a host of new, purposeful features.
Chrysler is claiming the Pacifica has 40 features that are new to the minivan segment. Amongst the list are dual 10-inch touchscreens on the seat backs to entertain children. The screens even have an app called “are we there yet” that turns the minivan’s navigation into a game for kids so they will perhaps ask the notorious question a little less. And when the kids make a mess in the minivan, the Pacifica has that covered with a built-in vacuum in the back.
At launch the 2017 Pacifica will be powered by Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with 287 horsepower and 262 ft-lb of torque, a significant bump from today’s version. Power flows through a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Later this fall the fall the Pacifica Hybrid will launch, which will also have the 3.6-liter V-6, but the addition of a 60 khw battery and electric motor. The battery pack will be good for about 30 miles of EV range, then the Pacifica will transition to the 3.6-liter for power. Chrysler is quick to note that the V-6 directly powers the wheels when the Pacifica is out of electric juice.
In general the Pacific looks like very compelling minivan option, while also being good enough to potentially attract people who wished to avoid the minivan perception.