What’s New for 2017:
- Redesigned minivan replaces Town & Country
- New 3.6-liter V-6 engine with 9-speed automatic transmission
- Pacifica Hybrid debuts with plug-in hybrid powertrain
- Numerous convenience, infotainment, and safety system upgrades
- Seemingly countless “minivan firsts,” according to Chrysler
- On sale in spring of 2016
Chrysler reinvents the minivan, again. The 2017 Pacifica replaces the venerable Town & Country, and is built on a new, lightweight platform for improved safety, fuel economy, ride, and handling characteristics. When it goes on sale in the spring of 2016, the Pacifica will compete with the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, and Toyota Sienna.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
Available with a gasoline engine or a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the new Pacifica is the first minivan to offer electric-only propulsion. The non-hybrid Pacifica comes in LX, Touring, Touring-L, Touring-L Plus, and Limited trim levels, while the Pacifica Hybrid is offered in Touring and Limited Platinum trim.
Every 2017 Pacifica is designed to seat 8 people and, non-hybrid vans are equipped with improved second-row Stow ‘n Go seating. Push a button and the front seats move forward to make it easier to stow the collapsing second-row seats into their storage bins beneath the floor. In the Pacifica Hybrid, the second-row seats do not offer Stow ‘n Go capability because the vehicle’s battery is located where the seats would normally stow beneath the floor.
Cargo capacity measures 32.3 cu. ft. behind the third-row seat. Tumble it down into its storage well and space expands to 87.5 cu. ft. Collapse the second-row seats and the standard Pacifica can move up to 140.5 cu. ft. of cargo. Chrysler says this van is designed to accommodate 4-foot-by-8-foot sheets of plywood, laying flat.
Both versions of the van feature a new, easy-tilt second-row seat design that allows for third-row access even when a child safety seat is installed in the second-row location. As an option, the new Pacifica offers a triple-pane panoramic sunroof.
Under the Hood
A new 3.6-liter V-6 engine is standard for the Pacifica, making 287 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. An automatic engine start/stop system is standard, and a 9-speed automatic transmission powers the front wheels.
The Pacifica Hybrid is equipped with an Atkinson-cycle 3.6-liter V-6, a 16-kWh Lithium-ion battery, and an Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) equipped with dual electric drive motors. The Pacifica Hybrid supplies a maximum of 30 miles of electric operational range, according to Chrysler. When the battery reaches a minimum state of charge, the Pacifica Hybrid works like a gas-electric hybrid vehicle. Chrysler says the battery recharges in 2 hours using a 240-volt home-charging station.
According to the EPA, the 2017 Pacifica is rated to get 22 mpg in combined driving. Choose the Pacifica Hybrid and the EPA estimate is 80 MPGe.
Safety Features and Ratings
Chrysler deploys its full arsenal of safety technologies for the new Pacifica. Highlights include a forward-collision warning system, front and rear automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, and a lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist.
Chrysler says that five of the Pacifica’s rear seating locations supply LATCH anchors for securing child safety seats. The company’s new KeySense technology allows parents to program specific vehicle limitations for one of the van’s key fobs in order to encourage safer driving habits.
As this overview is written, the Pacifica has not been subjected to government or IIHS crash tests.
As is expected of a completely redesigned vehicle, the new Pacifica is a technologically advanced form of transportation.
Among its many optional features, the latest versions of Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment technology and Uconnect Access services systems are available. Also, a new Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system debuts with dual 10-in., capacitive-touch display screens, embedded games, Internet access, an “Are We There Yet?” app for kids to monitor trip progress, and ability to watch movies. A 20-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system is also an option.
An adaptive cruise control system is available, providing stop-and-hold capability to make negotiating traffic easier. A surround-view camera system provides a 360-degree view of the Pacifica and its surroundings, and a park-assist system autonomously steers the van into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces while the driver operates the pedals and transmission.
A 7-in. color driver information display is also available for the Pacifica, and this van offers hands-free access both through the rear liftgate and via the sliding side doors, which run on hidden tracks for a cleaner appearance.