“Innovation” may not be a word kicking around in your head when it comes to minivans, but 2021 is certainly more than a blip when it comes to new features hitting these family haulers. The Toyota Sienna is going all hybrid, we’ll soon see a new Kia Sedona, and then there’s the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica. Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario plant built the original minivan in the 1984 Plymouth Voyager, and thirty-six years later just kicked off the next era as the first 2021 cars roll off the line.
So what’s new with this generation? It’s more than just a simple refresh, though its styling makes its lineage to the previous Pacifica clear. The standard models will get FCA’s typical 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine under the hood. Here, it produces 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque — more or less on par with the updated 2021 Honda Odyssey. The Pacifica Hybrid returns with up to 30 miles of all-electric range and an EPA-rated 80 MPGe, as well as over 500 miles of total driving range. But that’s all par for the course.
What’s really new (at least for the Pacifica) is its all-wheel drive system offered on gas-powered models. This is the first time a Chrysler minivan has leveraged an AWD option since the 2004 Town & Country. Now, buyers will have the option between the plug-in model for efficiency and the AWD models for slippery climates. FCA says the system can actually send 100 percent of the engine’s available torque to the rear wheels, or disengage the drive shaft entirely to manage better fuel economy.
New technology – Uconnect 5 infotainment system
Beyond just having an all-wheel drive option, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica also brings updated technology to the table. The available 10.1-inch infotainment screen is nearly 20 percent larger than the previous version, and introduces the brand’s Uconnect 5 infotainment system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are still standard fare, but the new system promises a better user experience and overall responsiveness.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica adds what FCA calls the “FamCAM” interior camera as well. While cameras in the rear rows aren’t unique in this segment (Honda does have CabinWatch), the system lets Pacifica owners keep an eye on kids in rear-facing child seats. As you would expect in the segment, the new Pacifica also comes loaded to the gills with standard safety features.
Check out everything you do get in the new Pacifica in our first-look video below: