2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Review and Road-test By John Heilig
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THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION: 3.6-liter V6/9-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 79.6 x 69.9 in.
CARGO CAPACITY: 32.2/87.5/140.5 (all seats up, 3rd row seats down, 2nd row seats down)
ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/17.9 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 19.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,330 lbs. #/HP: 16.2
TOWING CAPACITY: 3,600 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna
STICKER: $49,665 (includes $1,095 delivery, $4,875 options)
BOTTOM LINE: Chrysler, which invented the minivan way back when, has re-invented the minivan with the Pacifica, that makes the old Town & Country look like a truck.
Constant readers of these scribblings will note that the Heilig family is a van family. We owned a full-size van before minivans were invented and drove it for many years as our girls grew from Brownies through college. So while others may prefer sedans or pickup trucks, vans are not summarily rejected here. In fact, two of our daughters own minivans.
Our big van was built on a truck chassis (in fact it was a 2500, making it slightly truckier than normal. The ride was rough, but it did the job.
Minivans, on the other hand, generally are built on car platforms, and the unibody construction leads to a better ride. Still, I was surprised by how quiet the Chrysler Pacifica is. Very little external noise is transmitted to the cabin, and most of road imperfections are eliminated. To complete the equation, the ride quality is excellent.
Under the short hood is a 3.6-liter V6 that is rated at 287 horsepower. This is enough for the Pacifica. I remember that our old (brand name deleted) had trouble climbing the Continental Divide and had to stop for a breather.
The only disadvantage to a softer ride came up in our hillclimb test. In this, the roads wind and some of the turns are tight. The Pacifica exhibited a tendency to lean in most corners and showed boat-like qualities. On most roads this isn’t a problem, but you should be aware of it if you normally encounter winding roads.
Even more than SUVs or CUVs, minivans must have utility, and the Pacifica has utility in spades. For example, interior storage is excellent. It has excellent cargo capacity - for example, there’s a deep well in the rear where the third row stow and go seats go that is useful for most anything you carry, from groceries to garden plants to golf clubs. Here, the Pacifica again outdoes our (BND) that took our family of five on a cross-country tent-camping trip.
Doors.There are bottoms to the door pulls that I find useful. There’s a small cubby just beneath the door pull and a dual cubby underneath that with room for water. In addition, there’s a deep cubby at the base of the center console with 12-volt and USB outlets. This cubby also has a curved bottom that helps retain stuff.
There’s a large drawer at the base of the center stack with a change holder. Additionally, there’s a slot in the center stack that’s ideal for holding a cell phone. Inside the center console/arm rest is a storage area with a shaped bottom.
I’m stressing these small cubbies because on our long trip (and I’m sure, yours) you’re always looking for places to put stuff - snacks, maps, phones, games, etc.
Unlike our BND there is no access from the front bucket seats to the rear of the van because of the console. However, the console is more valuable.
Front seats are comfortable with fold-down arm rests in the center. Second row seats have assist handles on the B pillars to aid in entry. There’s a pull-up shade on each side window in the second and third rows. My granddaughters love these. Second and third row seats have excellent leg room.
Chrysler’s UConnect audio system offers excellent sound quality. There are also two video screens in the headrests of the front seats for second row passengers to enjoy. The girls also noticed that there are pre-loaded games and they were playing checkers within minutes.
Overall, the Chrysler Pacifica has shown how far minivans have developed over the years. Personally, I would choose a Pacifica over most of the SUVs, but I am prejudiced.
CR Rating: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica
Overall Score 76 Road Test Score 88
Predicted Reliability (N/A) Satisfaction (much better) - 21 MPG
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