2021 Chrysler Pacifica overview: Ever the powerful act to high

The Pacifica may not appear like a Chrysler 200 anymore, however I feel we will collectively contemplate good factor.

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When the Chrysler Pacifica first debuted, it leapt to the highest of its class. Over the previous few years, its opponents have whipped up some new methods, so for 2021, Chrysler centered on revamping the Pacifica lineup to offer patrons extra selection, and the outcomes hold this van in competition for high honors.

LikeSmooth rideTons of usable inside spaceGreat cabin tech

Do not LikeTop trim runs north of $55,000.Cease-start roughness

Nameless seems to be, however who cares?

Chrysler first confirmed off its refreshed Pacifica on the 2020 Chicago Auto Present, and several other of my colleagues had been fast to pooh-pooh its new design, calling its entrance finish too boring or nameless or no matter. I am within the reverse camp; I feel it seems to be nice, if solely as a result of it now not has the identical entrance finish as a Chrysler 200. Minivans are supposed to be instruments greater than toys, so understated seems to be characterize their utilitarian leanings. The rear finish is way sharper than earlier than, and because of new working lights on each ends, its nighttime profile is way extra distinctive than it was.

However in relation to household autos, very like one’s personal existence, it is what’s inside that counts. To that finish, the Pacifica completely shines, particularly within the new-for-2021 Pinnacle trim. Sure, it is virtually as costly as a BMW 5 Collection, with my tester ringing in at an “oof”-inducing $54,885, together with $1,495 for vacation spot. However, on the similar time, it is almost as luxurious because the Bimmer, thanks to straightforward trimmings like quilted Nappa leather-based seats, pillows for the second-row captain’s chairs and nearly each trendy function one would count on in a minivan.

But, choosing all that luxurious does not imply it’s important to compromise in different departments. The powered third row nonetheless stows effortlessly, due to switches mounted close to the liftgate. There’s nonetheless a vacuum tucked again there, too. The one actual compromise is the shortage of Stow-n-Go second-row seats, however they will nonetheless slide up and out of the best way to make room for flat-pack furnishings containers, Christmas bushes, a complete kennel’s value of canines, you title it.

Storage has all the time been an vital consider minivan inside design, and the Pacifica Pinnacle goes above and past the bottom trims with what it calls the Extremely Console. This redesigned heart console packs a formidable quantity of storage, from a sneaky tray beneath to a cavernous cubby underneath the armrest. Just under the local weather controls, there is a wi-fi charging tray sizable sufficient to accommodate any telephone at the moment available on the market, along with cup holders appropriate for bigger water bottles.

Uconnect 5 is a tech-showcase centerpiece

FCA’s Uconnect is one in all my favourite infotainment techniques as a result of it is easy and straightforward to study. The newest model, Uconnect 5, makes one in all its first appearances within the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica, and no shock, I like it.

Now dwelling on a 10.1-inch display, Uconnect picks up just a few new methods that make dwelling with the system even simpler. A beefier processor means quicker boot occasions and improved responsiveness, whereas its Bluetooth capabilities broaden to permit a number of concurrent sources. Amazon Alexa functionality is baked in, as are wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. My favourite bit, although, is the brand new dwelling display, which shows a number of corners of the system (e.g. audio, navigation) directly, and there is sufficient display decision to make the whole lot seem good and crisp. USB ports are in all places, with the entrance row alone packing 4 USB ports, break up evenly between USB-A and USB-C.

Uconnect 5 is a darling. It is loaded with the most recent options, and it is all wrapped up in a shell that is simple to make use of and memorize with minimal distraction.

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By way of cameras, there are sufficient on this Pacifica to offer the British CCTV panopticon a run for its cash. The conventional backup digicam packs appropriate decision, and the surround-view digicam makes parking a breeze. However essentially the most fascinating digicam is definitely contained in the car — a brand new FamCam inside monitor makes use of a roof-mounted lens to regulate rear-seat occupants from above, which is nice for paranoid mother and father eager to regulate just a little one in a rear-facing automobile seat.

In terms of security, the Pacifica Pinnacle comes customary with nearly the whole lot. Parking sensors? Verify. Energetic parking help? Verify. Adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go performance? Lane-keep help? Automated emergency braking? Pedestrian and bicycle owner detection? You get the thought.

Mushy however regular on the street

I’ve all the time appreciated the best way the Pacifica drives, which is extra like a well-dampened automobile than a crossover, and fortunately FCA did not mess with success for the 2021 mannequin. There are, nevertheless, a pair new additions to assist the automaker sustain with the Joneses.

My tester rocks the identical engine the Pacifica has all the time utilized, the venerable three.6-liter Pentastar V6. Right here, it makes 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, however what’s new is the power to ship that energy to 4 wheels, moderately than two. A $2,995 upcharge, its newly obtainable all-wheel-drive getup presents just a little further piece of thoughts for drivers in locales with multiple or two seasons. I discover it has no impact on the Pacifica’s total character, largely as a result of the rear wheels do not really interact till the automobile detects slippage up entrance, which boosts gas financial system. The 362-pound weight delta does not appear to have an effect on the stunning quantity of hustle that the Pacifica’s all the time packed, and the V6 nonetheless sounds nice when it is hustling down an on-ramp.

Nappa leather-based? In a minivan? Maybe you need to depart the sticky snacks and drinks at dwelling should you purchase the Pinnacle trim.

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There is a bit of additional journey peak on AWD Pacificas, however from what I can inform it does not have an effect on the dealing with in any respect. That is one impartial minivan, with the correct amount of physique roll to melt the journey with out making it really feel too wishy-washy, and with enough damping to take away a lot of the nasty bits on native roads. Like earlier than, it will make a fantastic street journey minivan, absorbing the miles and returning loads of consolation for lengthy stretches. The steering is properly weighted, and each the throttle and brake pedals are tuned to make sure easy begins and stops each time. The precise stop-start system, nevertheless, is just a little on the janky facet, with ample jostling when the V6 each cuts out and returns to life.

The one place that the AWD system cannot be ignored is within the Pacifica’s fuel-economy estimates. Whereas the front-drive mannequin earns a good 19 miles per gallon metropolis and 28 mpg freeway, the added mechanical complexity of the AWD variant (and the heft that comes with it) drops these figures to 17 and 25, respectively. Fortunately, a light-weight foot can bridge that gulf a bit, as I am seeing freeway figures nearer to 28 or 29 mpg.

Right down to brass tacks

The minivan section may not be essentially the most riveting within the business, but it surely’s not prefer it’s stagnant. The Toyota Sienna is now a hybrid-only affair, with elective AWD by the use of a second electrical motor out again, which lacks the electric-only vary of the Pacifica’s PHEV variant however guarantees 35 mpg mixed. It is also… very uniquely styled. Honda just lately refreshed the Odyssey, as effectively, however the modifications are all minor, so it is slowly turning into the section laggard as Toyota and FCA provide extra routes to effectivity, which is vital in household autos of this measurement.

If you don’t need your minivan to appear like one thing out of Akira, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is a tough act to beat — however then once more, you can say the identical in regards to the 2017-2020 fashions, as effectively. All through the Pacifica’s life cycle, it impressed me with its family-friendly performance and high quality journey, and its newfound versatility solely makes it extra interesting.

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