Chrysler Pacifica Pampers While Reinventing Minivan

The Chrysler Pacifica was the only minivan among 29 entrants to be tested. But its creature comforts match or exceed those of many more expensive vehicles.

September 23, 2016

3 Min Read
Asking quotAre we there yetquot from second row of Pacifica might become a thing of the past
Asking "Are we there yet?" from second row of Pacifica might become a thing of the past.Tom Murphy

It wasn’t enough for FCA to resuscitate the moribund minivan segment with the all-new Chrysler Pacifica and promptly win Wards 10 Best Interiors honors earlier this year.

For our Wards 10 Best User Experiences evaluations, staffers considered more than just looks and layouts to determine which vehicles make driving pleasurable, even fun.  And we find enough to like to give the Pacifica one of the 10 Best UX awards, joining the Lexus RX and BMW 7-Series as dual winners.

It was the only minivan among 29 entrants to be tested. But the Pacifica’s creature comforts match or exceed those of many more expensive vehicles.

Infotainment and driver-assist systems are fundamental to the user experience, and the Pacifica is a winner on both fronts. We’re longtime fans of FCA's Uconnect, and, the 8.4-in. (20-cm) touchscreen provides the ability to simplify the complexity and has appropriate redundancies. There are four knobs on the center stack: the fan, gear selector and two audio controls – including the timeless technology of a tuning dial.

Smartphone pairing is effortless. The voice controls with which many automakers still struggle are among the best we tested. We have to ask just once for Sirius XM’s Underground Garage.

The Limited model we tested offers no fewer than seven USB ports and a Blu-Ray DVD player connected to two seatback video screens with large, sharp displays. Third-row passengers already treated to reclining seats easily can see what's playing.

We give the infotainment system raves nearly across the board. “Pretty much maxed out here. All that’s missing is a pool table,” enthuses Editorial Director Dave Zoia.

The Pacifica offers a serviceable if not comprehensive range of today's safety technologies: adaptive cruise control; forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking;  lane-departure warning; and pedestrian, blindspot and rear crosspath detection.

Infotainment and ADAS features bump the '17 Pacifica Limited’s base price of $42,495 up to $48,455, not unreasonable for a family needing more space than many costlier SUVs.

Finally, this from Senior Editor Drew Winter: “For families and overall utility, this is the best vehicle man has ever invented.”

Imagine what may come in the future from the company that invented the minivan a generation ago.

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