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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is completely new from the ground up and is a replacement for the former Chrysler minivan, the Town & Country. With this new entry, Chrysler is aiming to both revive the minivan market and recreate the segment as a mobile family room. Already, the Pacifica is a top choice among minivans thanks to its roomy cabin, generous cargo space, and powerful V6 engine that gets 287 horsepower.
It starts at $28,595 and offers Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system, a five-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system, and voice recognition technology. Higher trims come with a built-in vacuum, rear seat touch screens, a suite of video games, and a 360-degree parking camera.
The Pacifica has a strong fuel economy of 18 mpg city / 28 mpg highway. It affords up to 140.5 cubic feet of storage space when the second- and third-row seats are folded down. Stow ‘n Go seating means the second- and third-row seats can be folded into compartments in the floor instead of removed entirely.
In September, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the all-new Pacifica its Top Safety Pick+ prize. However, the award only applies to Pacificas manufactured after August 2016, when changes were made to offer more protection to the driver-side door during a crash.
The 2017 Pacifica is also available as a plug-in hybrid.
What the experts are saying
An ideal pick for families
“As a people-mover and a family vehicle, there’s probably nothing as good. It does everything really well. Available Stow ‘n Go storage compartments in the floor for families to put stuff and keep out of the way is a neat idea. … And you have to love a vehicle, especially a family vehicle, with a built-in vacuum. People that carry kids seem to be trailed by Cheerios and Goldfish. Having a built-in vacuum must be a really good idea. … Between traction control, stability control, and front-wheel drive it should be good for taking on lousy New England weather and packing up the family and going to beach.” – John Paul, AAA’s “The Car Doctor”
A significant improvement from the last generation of minivan
“The Pacifica is head and shoulders above the old Chrysler Town & Country it replaces. Not only is it good across the board in all IIHS crash tests, but it also has an available front crash prevention system, which is a technology that wasn’t available on the old Town & Country. … The Pacifica is one of only two minivans that earns our highest safety designation, the Top Safety Pick+. … Minivans are a practical alternative to SUVs for families and are among the safest vehicles on the road mainly because of their size and weight. ‘Minivan’ is kind of a misnomer because these vehicles are kind of big and heavy. If you’re in the market for a minivan and safety is a high priority, this one should be on your shortlist.” – Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
A luxurious vehicle that works well for families and retirees
“The Pacifica really makes a luxury car out of the minivan. It feels like a premium vehicle, which is new for most minivans. … There aren’t many vehicles outside of Bentley or Rolls Royce that focus on rear seat passengers, which is the point of a minivan. … Families with young kids are number one [for people who would appreciate the Pacifica the most]. I know the second tier of people interested are going to be empty-nesters. They’re looking for vehicles that are easy to get in and out of, have a utility, and can bring people around with them. A minivan works well for that audience, especially the way Chrysler treated it as a premium luxury vehicle. That will be appreciated, too. … Driving it into town is a challenge. It’s easy to see, but not easy to park because of its size. Chrysler has given it every advantage possible, but it’s a sizable vehicle, so that’s something to be aware of.” – Craig Fitzgerald, president of the New England Motor Press Association / editor-in-chief of BestRide.com
For more information on the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica visit a Chrysler dealership near you.