2017 Chrysler Pacifica: New Minivan, Old Moniker, Likely Better Fate Than Namesake

Dan Wiese

Chrysler's all-new minivan is such a break from Chrysler minivans of yore it's christened with an all-old name. And the move actually makes sense.

The name is Pacifica, a moniker that graced an innovative but, alas, short-lived crossover that deserved a better fate.

The original Chrysler Pacifica, offered from 2004 through 2008, pretty much invented the large, three-row, car-based crossover. But it was born too early, arriving at a time when truck-based utes were all the rage. In retrospect, that original Pacifica can be viewed as a real innovator.

Indeed, so can the new 2017 Pacifica, a minivan that replaces the Chrysler Town and Country and, significantly, will have no Dodge Grand Caravan twin.

Like its earlier namesake, the 2017 Pacifica boasts loads of innovations — 37 minivan firsts, Chrysler says. These include available hands-free liftgate and sliding doors, which open with a foot-wiggle, and the first minivan to offer a hybrid along with the conventional V-6 model.

That six is an update of Chrysler Group's universally praised 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which here makes 287 hp. It's managed by another innovation — the first nine-speed automatic in a minivan.

The plug-in hybrid Pacifica gets the same engine, detuned to 248 hp but assisted by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and twin electric motors, each capable of driving the front wheels. The hybrid, which boasts total-system horsepower of 260, will on a full plug-in charge run up to 30 miles on pure electric power, Chrysler says.

Seeking to avoid a soccer-mom image, Pacifica is slickly styled with the smiling "New Face Of Chrysler" and a fluid, low-slung (by minivan standards) profile that cleverly conceals its sliding-door track.

Inside, available goodies include two 10-inch screens, part of a new Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system that happily mates wirelessly to Internet-capable personal devices. Up front, an available 8.4-inch infotainment screen integrates all of mom and dad's personal devices, along with providing navigation, real-time fuel prices, movie listings and lots more.

Source: 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch