2017 Chrysler Pacifica Test Drive: Minivan Reinvented [Review]

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

After creating a brand new automotive segment more than 30 years ago by introducing the very first minivan, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has reinvented the minivan with the all-new ninth generation Chrysler Pacifica for 2017.

The Pacifica emerges as an all-new platform to replace the outgoing premium Chrysler Town & Country minivan. It will bow initially with five levels of trim or distinctively different models in terms of content, followed by a hybrid version in late Fall. Here are the trim levels for the 2017 Pacifica:

Model MSRP* Standard Features

Chrysler Pacifica LX

$28,595 Stow ‘n Go seats, Stow ‘n Go Assist (driver side), power driver’s seat, Active Noise Cancellation, six-speaker sound system, first-row one-touch up/down windows, second-row power windows and Bluetooth connectivity. Other standard features include ParkView rear backup camera, passive entry, halogen headlamps, 17-inch aluminum wheels and capless fuel filler.
Chrysler Pacifica Touring $30,495 Building on the standard equipment of the Pacifica LX, the Pacifica Touring adds standard SiriusXM satellite radio, power sliding doors, passive entry on all doors and automatic headlamps.
Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L $34,495 Leather seats, heated first-row seats, remote start, three-zone automatic temperature control, projector headlamps, fog lamps, chrome trim accents and power liftgate. The Touring-L also adds the SafetyTec Group as standard, which includes ParkSense rear park assist with stop, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection.
Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus $37,895 Adding onto the standard equipment of the Touring-L, the Touring-L Plus has rear seat entertainment system, 7-inch Driver Information Display (DID), heated steering wheel, power passenger seat, Stow ‘n Go Assist (passenger side), heated second-row seats, 13-speaker Alpine sound system and 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen.
Chrysler Pacifica Limited $42,495

Inside, the Chrysler Pacifica Limited is loaded with memory functions for the Nappa leather seats, audio and mirrors and includes power third-row seats, ventilated front seats, 3-D navigation and Stow ‘n Vac integrated vacuum – the segment’s most powerful vacuum.

The exterior features HID headlamps, LED fog lamps, power folding mirrors, and handsfree sliding doors and liftgate. The standard tri-pane panoramic sunroof adds to the feeling of spaciousness with a dual-pane panoramic sunroof over the front- and second-row seats and fixed glass pane over the third row.

* Add $995 destination charge for each model.

For starters, all models will come in a front-wheel drive configuration, with the possibility of all-wheel drive being added later in production. The exception will be the Pacifica Hybrid, which will only be available in FWD.

Gasoline-fueled Pacificas will draw their motive force from a front, transversely-mounted 3.6-liter Pentastar, DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine with sequential multiport electronic returnless fuel injection that makes 287 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, while also developing 262 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Energy is delivered to the front wheels through a TorqueFlite Nine-speed automatic transmission with rotary dial e- shift technology.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid have been reengineered to deliver class-leading ride quality and handling characteristics along with reduced noise, vibration, and harshness, and are set to revolutionize the minivan market with nearly 40 minivan firsts. To date, FCA US now lays claim to an unprecedented 115 significant minivan innovations.

Visually, the Pacifica delivers a sophisticated, sculptural exterior, with a bold athletic stance and aerodynamic profile that emphasizes an aggressive wheel to body proportion. Its long wheelbase, widened track, and low ground clearance contribute to its sleek and futuristic image.

The artistic nature of the Pacifica’s body section with its lower surface character line, combined with the A-line and rear fascia surfacing, add to the minivan’s overall fluid-like surface that dances with layers of light from virtually every angle. A visually stretched daylight opening defines the upper canopy that is accented by a chrome surround, which, as it travels aft, thins and thickens as if drawn with a brush. The sliding door track lines are cleverly hidden beneath the rear-quarter side glass, resulting in virtually invisible tracks.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

The rear liftgate glass is “tucked” into and offset from the D-pillars, with the liftgate glass integrated seamlessly into the tail lamps for a unified effect. As with the front fascia, the rear fascia projects simplicity and sculpture, with a minimized rear bumper shelf that helps to marry the liftgate and rear fascia. The rear fascia features an integrated black valance panel that includes rear reflex and a bright chrome horizontal detail to visually lighten the rear of the vehicle, enhancing Pacifica’s wide stance. Horizontally-oriented tail lamps feature an LED “halo signature” with an even glow for a modern appearance. The tail lamps are integrated into the rear backlight and are extended outward.

Moving to the inside, the dash, which is horizontally drawn, emphasizes the spaciousness of the vehicle while mixing high-tech elements with a sculpted flair. Outlets appear more formal, highlighted by a simple thinner chrome ring for a precise feel. Bezels feature a similarly weighted accent. Modern color and material trim combinations are highlighted by unique interior accents in the doors and instrument panel. These interior environments were inspired by various locations in the United States. The tone-on-tone control knobs in the center stack feature a spun finish, reminiscent of high-end audio equipment.

The Uconnect touchscreen – available as either a 5-inch or 8.4-inch – is set flush with the instrument panel for a clean, technical look. With a glossy screen surface that allows for higher contrast, the touchscreen feels futuristic and in line with other modern devices, like a tablet.

The spacious interior delivers best-in-class front-row and third-row legroom, and an available tri-pane panoramic sunroof that adds to the feeling of openness, with a dual-pane panoramic sunroof over the front- and second-row seats and fixed glass pane over the third row. The HVAC controls are consolidated in the headliner, running cleanly along the rails. In the rear, the HVAC controls are on the passenger side headline – a thoughtful consideration.

Chrysler’s innovative Stow ‘n Go floor bins offer storage when the second-row seats are not tucked away, and the enhanced Stow ‘n Go system features redesigned seats for added comfort and side support. The Stow ‘n Go process has been improved so that the seats fold smoothly forward into the tubs while the addition of the all-new Stow ‘n Go Assist feature helps to further simplify the process. With the press of a button on the B-pillar, the front seat moves forward to allow the second-row seat to be concealed out of the way. Pressing the button again moves the front seat back to its upright position.

The Easy Tilt second-row seats allow for easy access to the third row, even with an empty child seat installed in the second row. Seating options increase with the addition of the available eight-passenger seating package. The lightweight, removable eighth-passenger seat fits in between the existing second-row seats and functions as a large second-row armrest with cupholders when not in use.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

For quick cleanup, the Stow ‘n Vac integrated vacuum, powered by RIDGID, is the highest-powered in-vehicle vacuum in the market, and is located in the C-pillar trim area for easy access to all corners of the vehicle with a 14-foot hose and beyond with an available 14-foot extension hose.

Safety and security abound in the new Pacifica, with helpful features such as 360-degree surround-view camera with bird’s eye perspective, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning Plus, LaneSense Departure Warning, and an all-new KeySense programmable key fob.

My pre-production test Chrysler Pacifica was a Touring-L Plus model, featuring the rear entertainment system, tri-panel sunroof and 18-inch wheels and tires. It was sprayed outside in Granite Crystal metallic and finished inside in Cognac and Alloy tines. The base price was set at $37,895. While the final count and amount came to $42,170

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

SUMMARY: The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan delivers a luxury, sedan-like ride, with comfortable and supportive seating, along with responsive damping. Acceleration with a broad torque range is more than adequate . The Pacifica delivers twice the torsional rigidity of the outgoing Town & Country for heightened stability. The transmission shifted smoothly, but on occasion, seemed superfluous and tended to hold some gears longer than necessary, and paddle shifters would have been a big plus.

There are so many creature comfort features included as standard fare in the new Pacifica that it is truly a marvel in family transportation, delivering what may well be the ultimate in functionality and versatility.

Think of the Pacifica not as a “soccer mom” van of old, but as a fully equipped adventure pod for the entire family and all their gear. EPA mileage estimates had yet to be certified as of this writing, but it’s safe to assume that satisfactory numbers will evolve. The Pacifica has a wealth of content and features to offer at affordable prices.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is built in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and goes on sale in April 2016 while the plug-in hybrid version is slated to go on sale Fall of 2016.

  • Buy itOn the TFLcar scale of:
  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica a ‘Buy It!‘ for a sleek-looking, highly functional minivan with lots of versatility.

MSRP $37,895
Price as tested $42,170
Engine 3.6L Pentastar DOHC V6
Power (bhp) 287 @ 6400 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 262 @ 4000 rpm
Transmission TorqueFlite Nine-speed automatic with rotary dial
e-shift technology
Drivetrain layout Transversely mounted front engine / front-wheel drive
Curb weight 4,330 lbs
EPA-estimated fuel economy (mpg) TBD


Watch the video below to learn more about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.