2021 CHRYSLER PACIFICA TEST DRIVE
2021 CHRYSLER PACIFICA TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES
Have you ever pined for an all-wheel drive minivan AND one that offers Stow ‘n Go seating? Bam.
The 2021 Pacifica will offer an advanced all-wheel drive system that preserves Chrysler’s coolest and most proprietary feature – the ability for the 2nd row seats to disappear into the floor.
The Pacifica has been my favorite minivan since its introduction 5 years ago. It’s Chrysler at its best; perfecting a type of vehicle they themselves created.
It’s turned minivan styling on its ear, continued seating innovations its competitors still don’t have and introduced plug-in hybrid technology. And now, all-wheel drive becomes an option across all 4 gas-powered models just not on the hybrid…chalk up one for the new Sienna but more about that later.
The styling has been updated too adding even more athleticism to its character and with the popular S Appearance Package darkening things up and these new 20” wheels the Pacifica adds as much visual appeal as allowed by minivan law. Velvet Red Pearl is certainly the color to have and no it’s not an upcharge paint choice.
There’s also a new bougie Pinnacle model with standard all-wheel drive that starts at nearly $55,000.
But this one’s a step below, the Limited, also with standard all-wheel drive and a bunch of add on goodies such as the Premium and Safety Sphere Group and the Uconnect Theater Family Group which includes a new feature called the FamCam Interior Camera – a way for parents to keep tabs on the little ones, even in rear facing car seats.
And the seatback video screens have always been a big hit right from the start.
It hasn’t completely left behind its likeability but the previous version was so good that it didn’t really need a complete overhaul.
And I never thought of it as slow. But here we are and I just find it more distracting and more difficult to get to what I want.
The heated and ventilated seats and heated steering wheel are accessed here too and there’s almost no button redundancy.
Down below you’ll find the wireless charge pad and 5 of the 12 USB Type A and C ports scattered about the cabin. Staying connected is not a problem.
The Captain’s chairs go down very easily with a button that pushes the front seats out of the way and then returns them when the process is complete. And when they’re not stowing seats they can hold other stuff. The 3rd row is completely power operated and also gets in on the Stow ‘n Go action creating a huge, wide floor in a matter of seconds.
And 3rd row peeps of all ages and sizes will be just fine back here with easy access, tons of leg and headroom, vents, sunshades, power recline and a sunroof. You can’t beat a minivan for hauling 6 people or more.
It’s not a new feature but Stow ‘n Vac is cool because it’s not located all the way in the back like some competitors but over here and it can reach every inch of the vehicle.
Having all-wheel drive boosts the Pacifica’s appeal in places with miserable weather like here and it works in interesting ways, triggered by such things as using the windshield wipers and cold weather. In normal driving you can’t tell when it’s connected and when it isn’t. But the Pacifica has a new problem: you can get an all-new Toyota Sienna Platinum Hybrid AWD for $1,500 less and it gets 35mpg with a 630 mile driving range. This Pacifica only gets 20mpg, has a 380 mile range and stickers for almost $56,000.
Reducing the parasitic losses of a typical all-wheel drive system, the Pacifica disengages the drive shaft from spinning when not needed. But still. 17mpg in typical around the town minivan duties isn’t anything to write home about.
The Pentastar V6 is a minivan powerhouse at 287 horsepower but there’s a price to pay for its quick reactions and I have to say the 9-speed auto isn’t always the smoothest. MSRP here is $55,665 so this isn’t your blue collar minivan but it still does an excellent job of making family travel as easy and as enjoyable as can be and offers big time flexibility with a heaping dose of Chrysler cleverness.
2021 CHRYSLER PACIFICA TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES | TESTDRIVENOW 2021(c)