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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus Review +VIDEO By John Heilig

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus (select to view enlarged photo)
2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus

By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus
ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 287 hp @  6,400 rpm/262 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
WHEELBASE: 121.6 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 203.8 x 87.5 x 69.9 in.
TIRES: P235/60R18 All Season
CARGO: 32.3/87.5/140.5 cu. ft. (all rows up/3rd row down/3rd and 2nd rows down)
ECONOMY: 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway/18.4 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 19.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,330 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona
STICKER: $43,765 (includes $995 delivery, $4,875 options)

BOTTOM LINE: This latest iteration of the Chrysler minivan seems smaller on the outside, yet is just as practical as a people and cargo mover as the previous version. Most impressive is the silent operation of the Chrysler Pacifica.

While Chrysler invented the minivan segment more than 30 years ago, it was time for a re-do. Granted, the Chrysler Town & Country has evolved over the last three decades and five generations, but competition from other manufacturers dictated a more drastic change.

The new Pacifica is that change. Re-engineered from the ground up on a new platform, the Pacifica boasts 37 innovations and a large reduction in NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) that results in a nearly silent ride. 

Constant readers will remember that we had a full-size van for several years, and one of my memories of that vehicle was that it most definitely wasn’t quiet. Built on a truck chassis, it drove like a truck and had all the requisite rattles and vibrations. 

Physically, the Pacifica is slightly smaller than the Town & Country we parked beside at the store one day. It is more like the Asian competition in size. Oddly, with all the attention spent on reducing chassis noise, there was considerable wind noise at highway speeds. It was so disturbing in fact that my wife and I both kept looking around for open windows or doors. 

There’s plenty of pep from the 3.6-liter V-6 (rated at 287 horsepower). The engine is connected to a 9-speed automatic. While I sometimes question the escalating transmission speed numbers, the nine results in a smooth ride. Shifts were almost imperceptible. The shifter is a rotary dial mounted on the center stack, freeing up space on the center console.

Among the innovations Chrysler claims for the Pacifica is Stow ’n Go seating. The second row seats fold and drop into a well behind the front seats. There’s a button that moves the front seats forward to make stowage easier. The third row seats also stow and fold into a deep well behind them. This well also increases cargo capacity the the seats aren’t in it. With all the seats folded there are more than 140 cubic feet of storage, the most in its class. The flat floor is large enough to carry the standard 4x8 plywood sheet.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus (select to view enlarged photo)

Besides the impressive cargo capacity, there are other useful storage areas located throughout the Pacifica. For example, in the front doors there are two door pockets. The lower one is large enough to carry water bottles. The middle one is slightly smaller and useful for smaller objects. In addition, the door pulls have bottoms which make them convenient for holding keys or cell phones. 

At the base of the center stack there is a tray with 12-volt and USB jacks. There is the requisite pair of cupholders and a small covered center console. There’s an overhead sunglass holder as well as a “spy mirror” to keep an eye on the kiddies in the back. Boy, we could have used this feature in our old van.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus (select to view enlarged photo)

The front seats are comfortable and have pull-down arm rests. Rear seat legroom is excellent, as is third row seating. The second row bench has a fold-down center console. For entertainment, there are screens behind the front row headrests with pre-loaded games. My granddaughters enjoyed this feature.

For ease of entry there are assist handles on the front passenger A-pillar and on the B-pillars. Among the innovations Chrysler claims are handsfree sliding door and liftgate operation. All you are supposed to have to do is wiggle your foot under the door or lift gate and they open. I had a problem (and I confess to my ignorance) so I had to tap the underside of the body to make the doors work. It is a convenient feature.

There is no CD player for entertainment, although all the other options are available.  There is a slew of buttons with cryptic icons on the center console for HVAC, park assist and audio. Overall, the entire vehicle is an excellent design.


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