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Go In Snow: 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle AWD Review By Larry Nutson


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2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle AWD

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Just about a year ago Chrysler introduced the 2021 Pacifica at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show. For 2021 the Pacifica has an exterior refresh with a new grille, front fascia, LED headlamps, LED fog lamps and LED rear taillamp. New colors and six new wheel designs are offered.

A new, elite Pinnacle model, a premium people mover, is loaded with luxury features and content, including quilted Caramel Nappa leather seats in all three rows and unique matching lumbar pillows in the second-row captain’s chairs. There’s a unique center console design that extends from the dashboard between the front seats. An S Appearance Package with its black trim and wheels, purchased by 25% of Pacifica buyers, continues.


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Also new, the 2021 Pacifica now offers all-weather capable, seamless and fully automatic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Chrysler say it’s the most advanced AWD system in its class and is the only vehicle to offer AWD along with Stow ‘n Go seating.

All Pacifica models now come standard with a larger 10.1-inch infotainment display and the brand's latest Uconnect 5 interface which includes Alexa functionality. The new FamCAM interior camera, accessible through the 10.1-inch touchscreen, provides a high-definition image including a view of rear-facing child seat occupants, split-view display and unique “zoom-to-seat” feature.

Wind noise has been reduced by adding new door and glass seals, acoustic windshield glass and thicker sliding-door glass. New or upgraded glass, including front side glass for the Limited, Pinnacle and all hybrid models, helped reduce wind noise throughout the cabin, increasing speech intelligibility.

For 2021 Chrysler Pacifica offers 97 standard safety features including new Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking as well as Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Path detection, Rear Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Full Stop, Forward Collision Warning with Full Stop, and Lane Departure Warning.

Pacifica is powered by 287-HP 3.6-L V6 mated to a 9-speed automatic. The Pacifica Hybrid uses a modified V6 featuring an Atkinson cycle combustion system combined with an electric motor for a total of 260 system horsepower. It has an all-electric range of more than 30 miles and a total range of over 500 miles.

Over the course of the last 12 months I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the new Pacifica, thanks to Chrysler. Last summer my wife and I drove a Pacifica to our vacation destination. With only the two of us, we folded the second and third row rear seats and loaded the flat cargo floor with our two bicycles and all the necessary typical vacation suitcases, coolers and folding chairs.

Last Fall I drove the new Pacifica with all-wheel drive at a Chrysler launch drive program. The optional AWD system is seamless and fully automatic transferring all available engine torque to the rear wheels, or whichever wheels have more available traction.

My most recent drive experience was in the new top-line Pinnacle which comes with AWD as standard. The Pinnacle’s exterior has its own unique trim. This includes Satin Carbon Grille and Platinum Chrome on all exterior surrounds, moldings and badging in place of standard Bright Chrome, plus unique 20-inch wheels.


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The living room-like interior is very inviting with its quilted Caramel Nappa leather seats and lumbar pillows for the second-row captain's chairs. The center console design with armrests relocated from the seats and dual-level storage, instrument cluster with mid-century Timber Hydro faux wood bezels, black suede headliner, and Satin Chrome switchgear and interior trim are also unique top the Pinnacle.

The Pinnacle base price is $53,390, plus a $1,495 destination charge. The Pinnacle trim is also available on the front-wheel-drive-only Pacifica Hybrid starting at $52,340.

Visit www.chrysler.com for more information. 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Touring starts at a MSRP of $35,045. Pacifica with AWD starts at a MSRP of $38,040. Pacifica Hybrid starts at a MSRP of $39,995. 

Minivans have gotten a bad rap being called the soccer mom, or dad, vehicle of choice. Utility vehicles, whether they be sporty off-roaders or car-like crossovers, are what every family wants. Wants? Needs? Actually, speaking from the perspective of observing my daughter with her two pre-schoolers juggle loading up her SUV, parents with little ones should make the minivan their vehicle of choice….at least for those early childhood years.


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Left and right power opening and closing sliding doors and a power operated rear hatch make loading so much easier, convenient and safer with your arms full of little ones and all their needed paraphernalia.

There are only four minivans to choose from on the U.S. market: Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna. Each are stylish in their own right. The latest minivan designs have actually taken on the look of a crossover utility.

All-wheel drive on the Pacifica provides the added security in snowy climate regions of the U.S. Pacifica’s Stow ‘n Go seats make the large flat rear floor perfect for a trip to the local garden shop or lumber yard. Plus, the load floor height is much lower than that of a utility vehicle making for easy loading.

The Chrysler Pacifica provides incredible space, loads of versatility, a quiet cabin interior, a high level of convenience and, especially in the Pinnacle, premium comfort that will amaze your friends.

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy