By on January 6, 2017

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L

3.6-liter V6 (287 hp @ 6400 rpm, 262 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm)

Nine-speed automatic transmission

18 city/28 highway/22 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

22.1 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price: $35,490

As Tested: $36,880

Prices include $995 destination charge.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat myself: the minivan is the one kid hauler to have when you’re hauling more than one kid. Crossovers are the rage, certainly, but lack vertical cargo and passenger space due to the relatively high ride height. Also, a minivan’s sliding side doors are a godsend when strapping down squirming small-human cargo — especially when aided by a power open/close feature, or when parked in a tight garage.

That’s why I own a minivan — a 2012 Chrysler, to be precise. Besides the two kids, I’m often hauling family members, the kids’ friends, and/or the various implements of suburban remodeling/destruction. No other vehicle is as versatile, but I’m as susceptible to the pull of the shiny new thing as anyone else. Thus, I welcomed the appearance of this 2017 Chrysler Pacifica in my drive for an informal comparison.

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I’m hesitant to call the Pacifica beautiful. It’s a highly-stylized box, after all. But it wouldn’t look too out of place at the country club, train dealership, monocle boutique, or any other place where people with money might park their vehicles.

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Compared to other minivans, the Pacifica is stunning. It’s a stark departure from the previous-generation Town & Country, which was all slab sides and angles. In darker colors, like the Granite Crystal Metallic of my tester, it looks positively opulent. My only design dislike appears in the rear three-quarter view, where the rear hatch window appears to wrap around the D-pillar. Nope — that’s black plastic, and it looks a little cheesy up close.

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The 17-inch alloy wheels fitted to my tester look good only if you haven’t been looking at other Pacificas. When you’re walking through the dealer’s lot, however, these look positively cheap compared to the available twenty inchers frequently fitted to the top-trim Pacifica Limited — which Tim reviewed a few months ago. Don’t let the wheels make or break your deal, though — there is a ride quality payoff when choosing the taller sidewall afforded by the smaller rims. Driven back to back, it’s clear that he larger wheels also deliver more road noise to the cabin.

Chrysler continues to flaunt the flexibility afforded by the Stow’n Go seats, which easily fold away to reveal a flat cargo floor. That flexibility is the prime reason I chose my personal Town & Country several years ago — the hidden storage space beneath the floor is a godsend for road trips. However, I don’t often fold the seats on my van, as raising the floor panel to the full vertical position requires moving the front seat, which can be an awkward dance between the front door and the sliding door.

In the new Pacifica, Chrysler has made those folding second-row seats even easier to lower — the Stow’n Go Assist feature has a B-pillar-mounted button, accessible from the second row, which moves the front seat forward. Push the button, lift the floor panel, and drop the seat down. Lower the panel, and press the button again, and the seat returns to the preset position. It’s brilliant.

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Those eight-way power adjustable front seats are much improved over the previous model. On the Touring-L trim I tested, they were trimmed in leather, and heated — perfect for this Ohio winter. I had no fatigue after a long day in the saddle, and my wife almost instantly fell asleep in the cozy-warm passenger chair. The second and third rows aren’t quite as plush, but as they are typically inhabited by dependents rather than breadwinners, the accommodations are more than acceptable.

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UConnect should be the template upon which all other in-car entertainment systems are modeled — it is easily the most intuitive system I’ve ever encountered. The base system, named UConnect 5.0 for its five-inch touchscreen, works well enough, but the optional Uconnect 8.4 fitted to my tester is superb. With a customizable menu bar, you can drag and drop your most-used controls to the bottom of the screen. I can imagine, for example, that some drivers in warmer climates may not need the heated seats as often — the controls for those seats can easily be eliminated from the menu bar. My only concern: it doesn’t work with gloved hands. Most touchscreens in modern cars are likewise glove-limited, though. Perhaps I’m just spoiled by my old Town & Country.

Thankfully, many of the frequently used controls on the touchscreen are replicated with traditional buttons elsewhere — audio controls on the steering wheel, a large volume knob directly below the screen, and HVAC controls dead center. The optional 13-speaker Alpine-branded audio system was impressive, filling the big box with high-quality sound.

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My week with the Pacifica included a weekend with the in-laws, several hours from home. I was disappointed that the Touring-L trim does not offer the large seatback-mounted touchscreen entertainment system found on higher trims. The kids were forced to go old-school, entertaining themselves with books. Oh, well.

As a fifth-generation Mopar van owner, I was in familiar territory when I popped the hood of the Pacifica. The powerful 3.6-liter Pentastar was present, basically unchanged from my van, but the nine-speed automatic was all-new. There have been plenty of complaints about this new transmission, but it was a pleasant companion for my drive. Shifts were seamless and smooth, and the new powertrain combo proved to be much more efficient.

My first tank of fuel, in driving conditions identical to those I experience daily in my old T&C, yielded 20.5 miles per gallon. I’d typically see right around 15 mpg in the old van. That’s impressive. For the entire week, I managed 22.1 mpg, matching the Pacifica’s EPA combined rating.

The driving experience is better, as well. Certainly, my 2012-vintage van is getting tired, with over 100,000 miles on the odometer, but I clearly recall significant creaks and rattles even when new. Not so with the Pacifica — it’s much stiffer, with a quiet, compliant ride. It’s no Lexus, as wind noise does creep in especially at freeway speeds, as does the somewhat coarse engine note when accelerating briskly, but it’s as good as its competitors from Honda and Toyota.

Would I Buy The Chrysler Pacifica?

Oh, absolutely. I even caught my notoriously large-purchase-averse (she’ll kill me if I call her cheap) wife poking around the Pacifica configurator on Chrysler.com, trying to find the best option package. We can’t make it work for our budget right now — our existing van is fine, after all, though the contrast between old and new is stark — though it is on our radar for a couple years from now.

However, I don’t know how I’d option it. At $36,880 as tested, this Touring-L package was very nicely equipped, but was missing the rear-seat entertainment package that we have on our current van, which retailed for around $29,000 when new five years ago. The UConnect Theater package, which has dual touchscreens fitted to the backs of the front seats, requires the Touring-L Plus trim, which starts at $38,890. The base LX trim, at $29,590, eliminates the power sliding doors and liftgate, fog lamps, automatic climate control, blind-spot monitoring, and satellite radio, among many other features. It’s a tough choice.

Plus, there are changes coming to the minivan marketplace — the Pacifica Hybrid could potentially be a game-changer for fuel economy, though my beloved Stow’n Go seats would be dispatched to make room for batteries. And next week Honda plans to reveal the new Odyssey, which is certain to respond to all of the improvements made by Chrysler.

The family was sad to see the Chrysler Pacifica go. It’s a perfect road trip machine, and it makes the daily commute simple and relaxing. It is basically minivan perfection.

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[Images © 2016 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars]

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92 Comments on “2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Review – The Perfect People Mover...”


  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    FCA has certainly put a great deal of effort into improving their van (I refuse to refer to this as a “minivan”), and I wish them well with sales, and hope the reliability of these is at least adequate.

    Hopefully the fact that it’s not assembled in the US will not create issues with its pricing or availability.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Maxivan

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        No, the Maxi-van could haul 15 with seat belts. At least 26 if you didn’t worry about being belted in.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, a true minivan was available not too long ago…Mazda 5. I think they’re still trying to sell the leftover 2015s.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Still available in Canada as is the Kia Rondo. The Chev Orlando is no longer available.

          At one time there were true ‘mini-vans’. The original Caravan/Voyager, the original Odyssey, the Mazda MPV, the Villager/Quest all relatively the same size as the Mazda 5 and Rondo.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      Yes, I’m curious about how trump is going to impact pricing on imports and consumer choice. I fear the day when a Chevy Cruze will cost as much as a optioned Silverado is drawing near. Hopefully that won’t be the case when gas prices start heading north to >$3/gal again. I guess we’ll see…

      • 0 avatar
        Rasputin

        Last I heard we elected a Chief Executive, not a dictator – ignoring the current Prezzy with his pen & his phone, who is soon to leave. I suggest you contact your Representative and your Senators with your fears. They are the one who should be making changes to the LAWS.

        • 0 avatar
          e30gator

          True, YOUR chief executive doesn’t make the laws. At least that’s not in the job description. But what’s puzzling to me is why he continues to threaten US companies with tariffs who’ve planned to build certain manufacturing facilities abroad, and then Tweet to the world about how he “saved American jobs” in doing so. Particularly puzzling is that he’s done this even though he hasn’t taken office yet. Thus it would appear to me that, like so many other things, he doesn’t understand his job description very well. So like I said, we’ll see….

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “But what’s puzzling to me is why he continues to threaten US companies with tariffs who’ve planned to build certain manufacturing facilities abroad, and then Tweet to the world about how he “saved American jobs” in doing so.”

            Because it’s a) easy, b) looks good, and c) doesn’t hack anyone off. And it won’t solve a single structural issue.

            For a guy who made his bones as a reality-TV and tabloid star, it’s pure statesmanship.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatist

          It’s true, the prez does not make the laws. But Donald’s soon to be predecessor went super freaken wild with executive orders and regulatory decrees (almost 10K pages in thes past few weeks). None of this crap was ever legislated by Congress. Now these technically are not ‘laws’ but they are effectivly laws and extremely expensive to fight.

          Trump is already promising to clean the books… but who knows what comes next?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “It’s true, the prez does not make the laws. But Donald’s soon to be predecessor went super freaken wild with executive orders and regulatory decrees (almost 10K pages in thes past few weeks). None of this crap was ever legislated by Congress.”

            True, and I think Congress – or more appropriately, the “Screw Obama, And The Horse He Rode In On Society,” as it’s been known for several years now – is partially to blame.

            But we’ll see how closely Trump cleaves to the conservative, “strict constructionist” ideal when it comes to things like willy-nilly changing tariffs, which I guarantee you a huge percentage of his own party opposes. I predict Trump’s executive order pen will be busy.

          • 0 avatar
            probert

            Check Bush’s record and get back to us.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Weird, but only one president is ever described as having gone “super freaken wild.” I wonder why.

          • 0 avatar
            Deontologist

            The last few executive orders were about extremely mundane things such as the order of succession in various government departments. Like, what if the head of the EPA dies? Then what?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_federal_executive_orders_13489_and_above

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Good points made regarding the inability of tariffs to be capriciously levied by the executive branch, and the reason I also specifically mentioned availability is because of the issue that FCA faced three years ago:

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/chrysler-vans-sitting-idle-as-oil-boom-robs-rail-capacity/

      Unfortunately, the location where these are produced is not only in Canada, it has also experienced a lack of rail capacity to ship the units out to dealers. Hopefully this same issue won’t rear its ugly head in the near future, seeing as this is an important – and potentially very profitable – product launch.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Nice looking van. Amazing they hit a home run here but had to kill the 200. I am not crazy about the rotary shift knob though- did you find yourself adjusting the volume with it often?

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      Once.

      That said, the steering wheel audio controls are exactly the same as on my existing van, so I typically wouldn’t reach for the center knob.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Ah. I hadn’t realized that. I probably would too, at least once.

      How durable-feeling is that shifter? Do you project it will hold up?

      Once the rental fleets get hold of these, we shall see if they stay “tight” after 30k miles.

      My Odyssey is at 27k, and nary a rattle or loose control in the van. However, I still want to rip the damned doors off if I forget something and turn around to get back in, as it beeps assuredly to remind me that I want to lock, not open, the doors.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Is it just a circumstance that Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” is on the infotainment screen, or is that a message of some kind?

    J/K. I think the new Pacifica is fantastic. The Hybrid version has me interested, but I don’t think my SO would want a minivan…

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Nice van.

    I’m a minivan aficionado and am looking to replace my old ’05 Nissan Quest. I like my old van for all the reasons discussed in the article, but buying a $35k vehicle that will inevitably have to endure melted M&Ms in hidden crevices well before its first oil change is not for me. With little kids, I like something disposable.

    Crash tests (small overlap) are causing me to look at used SUVs for a replacement, but I would rather have another minivan. I just can’t find anything manufactured before 2012 that doesn’t crumple like a beer can in that test. And yes, due to the 2 lane roads I have to drive on with my kids in tow, that is important to me.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      What about the Ford TC?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Looking at the IIHS website I can’t find data for the Transit Connect. I will add though that the Transit Connect is a size down from the Pacifica, although, man those overhead storage compartments in the Transit Connect are cool.

      • 0 avatar
        syncro87

        A Ford TC is hugely appealing to me. I test drove one on multiple occasions trying to like it IRL as much as I do on paper.

        My problem with it is that Ford insists on saddling the thing with the NA 2.5L engine. The TC positively cries out for a better powerplant. I don’t believe you can spec the long wheelbase passenger version with an Ecoboost.

        The extended versions I drove felt barely adequate power-wise with just myself and the sales person on board, on flat roads. Add in A/C usage, three or four people, some cargo, or any kind of hills at all…not pretty. You end up hammering the thing all the time to keep up with the average econo car in traffic. At that point, you end up in the low 20s MPG at best. Not any better than a larger vehicle with more usable power. The Chrysler Town and Country I rented while on vacation last year was far more pleasant to drive. I do like the form factor and design of the Transit Connect better, but the drive is marginal.

        I drove a Ram Promaster City, and the engine felt significantly stronger. The used, low miles example I test drove already had some odd and disconcerting lurches in the transmission. I passed, given that I’ve read nothing positive about the 9 speed here or anywhere else and the weird thumpy shifts just validated my unease.

        I’d own something like a TC or ProC in a minute, if Honda or Toyota sold similar here in the US. I’d even take a risk on the Ford if it had a better engine, and the Ram if it had a less scary transmission option.

      • 0 avatar
        e30gator

        I really like the Transit. I just can’t seem to find any into about it on the aforementioned test. It does seem a little smaller than the Quest, but I haven’t checked them out up close.

        What I’d really like is a Mercedes Metris, but like the Pacifica, is still a bit too expensive. I always try to buy cash, but unfortunately, $30k is more than I have in the piggy bank.

        • 0 avatar
          Chris Tonn

          I’d love to see how the Metris is as a passenger vehicle – I just spotted my first passenger Metris the other day, actually. I’m afraid it’ll at once be too crude (due to the cargo van roots) and too weak (small engine).

          • 0 avatar
            syncro87

            I’d also like to see how a passenger Metris drives. I don’t really care about the crude cargo roots angle, but most people probably do.

            On paper, it is significantly more powerful than a TC, although a fair bit heavier.

            TC: 169/171 hp tq

            Metris: 208/258

            rear wheel drive would be a liability in my area and for my use, although I guess if you had a set of dedicated steel wheels with winter rubber on them (i do for our Civic) maybe it would be halfway capable in snow

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    As always, Chrysler has managed to deliver a van that’s handsome, useful and priced reasonably. I quite like it…and I hear the 9-speed is better here than in other FCA applications.

    As for wanting one, Chris, just wait until new versions of the Sienna or especially Odyssey are released. FCA will then pile on discounts, and you may end up paying something much closer to the $30K price of your old one for exactly the options you want.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      Yeah. Even now you can already get $5k+ off MSRP on higher trims on certain branded Truecar services.

      I can get one optioned like this review car at $32k, for example.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      We tested a Touring a couple weeks ago as a potential replacement for my wife’s Passat TDI. My wife liked it, but not enough to overcome her not wanting to drive a minivan (and not to mention being… frugal, like Chris’ wife). Our girls are 7 and 1, so her next car is going to be a CPO MAZDA6. The bigger vehicle will be a few more years down the road.

      The 9-speed gave me pause as well, but after speaking to an auto journo I know who had also just tested the Pacifica, I was assured that this version was much less busy than say the unit in my mother’s Renegade.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Any van is better than any car so I like this CRV on steroids.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Shifts were seamless and smooth”

    I’m stunned. That’s the first thoroughly positive comment I’ve ever read about the 9-spd automatic.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I really want whichever version has the 20s. That is a good looking van.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I have rented 3 off the rental lot at National and liked each one. I typically pick the minivan when renting (have you ever seen a minivan pulled over? me neither!).

    The Pacifica is much nicer than the T&C, and I am a fan of the T&C. Seats are wonderful, the 9 speed gave me no issues whatsoever.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I agree, this looks like a nice van. I don’t know how often I’d use the stow and go in the second row, personally, but the storage space under the floor could still be useful.

    I recall reading, in the past, that second row seat comfort was compromised for the stow and go option compared to the (now extinct) non-folding option. I’ve been reading about the hybrid version with interest. Since it loses the stow and go feature are the rear seats any different? I imagine not since it would cost more to design a different seat, but I’m just curious. None of the articles or photos I’ve seen of the hybrid mention or show the back seats.

    • 0 avatar
      jeoff

      The middle row of the hybrid is occupied by captain’s chairs–which are reportedly more comfortable than the stow and go seats, but reduces max capacity to 7. I think the 3rd row is unchanged.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Having captains chairs does reduce the official passenger numbers to 7. But I find the third row cannot usually accommodate three people due to the reduced width (due to the wheel arches). So you have a 6 seater can only. That doesn’t work for families with three kids who want space for grandparents etc.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      I didn’t read that bit about second row seat comfort anywhere, but I’m here to tell you: those second row seats are absolute penalty boxes. On that basis alone, I wouldn’t buy this van.

      That disappoint me, because now that Honda is out of my life completely (screw Honda–if they want to contact me and hear the stories–first the good and then the bad–feel free), my choices are severely limited. I love Toyota but not the Sienna in particular, although I could come to love it. We’ll see.

      I’m hoping that they put good seats in the hybrid, since they don’t have to worry about stow and go.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    After Wednesday’s “Ace of Base” review of the Ford Expedition XLT at almost $50,000 with cloth seats, this $37,000 mid-level Chrysler Pacifica looks reasonable. Still, the Pacifica Hybrid looks prety compelling if you can live without the center stow-n-go seats. After the tax credit, the hybrid upgrade is basically free. It’s a shame Chrysler couldn’t have saved about 1/4 of the underfloor storage in the Hybrid. Usually when I had a Dodge Grand Caravan, I just used the stow-n-go for the headphones, some DVDs, a first aid kit and room for a computer bag, which took about 1/4 of the space.

    • 0 avatar
      Rasputin

      I know that you will want to thank us for your tax credit, so on behalf of all taxpayers I will say, “You’re welcome.”

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        …just like folks used to get tax credits for buying Escalades or Navigators as “work trucks,” when the only “work” they ever did was ferrying the owner’s wife back and forth from the McMansion to Nordstrom…

        Tax credits have long been used to spur new industrial segments. In the ’80s, the big bad gummint used to offer them for early adopters of PC’s. I seem to recall that particular product having some kind of economic impact.

      • 0 avatar
        Tandoor

        Just so we’re clear- tax credit=your money that you earned that you get to keep. Child tax credit, healthcare premium tax credit, education tax credit. These are all things that reduce how much the IRS gets to take from you. No other taxpayers money is involved. If we were talking about a Refundable Tax Credit like earned income tax credit, then yes, what was once your money is being sent to someone that earns a very small income and has dependents.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “If we were talking about a Refundable Tax Credit like earned income tax credit, then yes, what was once your money is being sent to someone that earns a very small income and has dependents.”

          And fascinatingly enough, that peculiar form of welfare was instituted by none other than Ronaldus Maximus, who also ballooned the living hell out of the deficit.

          • 0 avatar
            Conslaw

            FreedMike is right. St. Ronnie instituted the earned income credit. It was the passable form of Milton Friedman’s “negative income tax” IIRC. Poor people getting a significant chunk of money once a year has good and bad points. One of the bad points is that crappy used car prices go up every year at tax refund time.

        • 0 avatar
          jim brewer

          Don’t kid yourself. A tax credit should be viewed as an expenditure. Some are ‘refundable’ meaning that they really are cash.

  • avatar

    As a “vanthusiast” (is that a thing? It should be), I really dig the looks and what it has on paper…but I can’t bring myself to buying one of these, because I loathe FCA so.

    I am looking forward to the new Ody coming out, and hopefully it’ll have some actual driver’s side legroom. Otherwise, it’ll be a Sienna that will occupy my driveway in the future (still need to check out the new Sedona though).

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      I sat in a recent vintage Sedona not too long ago. It felt smaller inside, to me, than the Odysseys and Siennas I’ve ridden in. I’d be surprised if you were satisfied with it if you feel a tad cramped in an Ody.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Kia purposely tried to make the Sedona a bit CUV-ish (2nd gen U-body vans anyone?) and this more appealing, but sacrificed some interior space in the process.

        I had a rental EX last year for a day trip with coworkers. I found it quite agreeable. Good power, got something like 26.5 mpg in mostly highway driving. I haven’t driven any other current gen minivans to compare it against, but on its own it was a perfectly competent vehicle, nothing stood out as lacking. I didn’t care for the console shifter I guess (another CUV-ification), I’d rather have a column/dash shift and pass through space to the second row.

        • 0 avatar
          Meat

          I own a 2015 Sedona EX and also find it to be a solid van. Comfort is nice and though the center console prohibits front seat passengers from freely moving to the rear it offers a lot of convenient storage in return.

          The styling of the newest Sedona is the primary reason I purchased it. The ebony black over black+camel copper stitched leather interior looks super upscale for my $26k (19k mi slightly used) van.

  • avatar
    carguy

    This really is a great van design but FCAs quality problems would keep me from considering any of their products.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      Yeah, it’s too bad.

      Really bugs me that some of the most appealing vehicles happen to be at the bottom in quality/reliability rankings.

      If I wasn’t such a worry-wart and didn’t place a high priority on piece of mind, our garage would probably have an FCA van and a GLI or GTI.

      • 0 avatar
        syncro87

        nels0300 expressed pretty much my exact sentiments.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Agree. Had premature issues with all 4 Caravans that we have had.

        What I truly desire in the driveway would be a mini-van engineered by Volvo, designed, spec’ed and assembled by Toyota, using an engine from Honda and a transmission from GM.

        With a Mitsubishi warranty, an MSRP under $27k and manufacturer’s financing under 3% for 84 months.

        Is that too much to ask for?

    • 0 avatar
      OzCop

      I must be one of the few whom has never experienced the FCA quality problems…whatever those may be. I have owned two, and still own one, and have had zero issues with quality. Unless you are talking issues that may appear after 80K miles or so, since I tend to trade them off during or previous to that mileage period. My current 2014 4 WD Longhorn Edition Ram has been perfect, with zero problems and only one recall item that I can recall, and it was only to check for a possible minor issue.

      Most often when I drive this truck on long trips it has a trailer loaded with a car behind it, not to mention the weekends hauling to local events across the DFW Metroplex. My previous FCA was the current style Durango, also AWD and the top line model. Also used for towing the same trailer, different car, but did so flawlessly for more than 60K miles…both these vehicles have the 5.7 Hemi, and even the fuel mileage is acceptable.

      My mother in law now lives with us, and we traded her T & C Minivan in on the current Ford Escape only because she had trouble climbing in and out of it. It had 85K miles, and zero failures during the time she and my now deceased father in law owned it. (other than a wreck he was involved in at around 60K miles)

      Everyone has different experiences with different vehicles, but it just seems odd to me that others have experienced quality problems, and I haven’t. Perhaps I should keep a good sized piece of wood on which to knock…

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Of all the Mopars I have had I have had issues with the 904LA transmission in a 1979 Magnum and 1986 5th Avenue both with high mileage (no issues ever with a 727) and traded a 2.7l Stratus that developed a knock at 165k miles.

        I did have a fuel pump fail on my 167k mile Daytona.

        Our Durango has 190k miles and the major issues with that were the cooling system at 180k miles. Replaced the radiator and hoses but there is still a small leak somewhere so it needs topped off every few months still. I suspect the heater core.

        Our Avenger at 40k miles has been fine other than an issue when something is plugged into the OBD port. The shifter interlock didn’t work properly.

        I also have a Mopar powered roadster with a 400+hp V8 with a manual that gets driven very hard and it has been great also.

        Dad’s work Maxi-vans all had 150k plus miles when traded off. A couple of their minivans did have a transmission issue of the 8 they have had and both were the same generation as they each have one.

        I guess everyone has issues with brands, but we have had pretty good luck overall.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d take a shot on leasing a FCA product, but (certain Jeeps aside) their lousy residuals don’t lend themselves well to that kind of financing.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Still available in Canada as is the Kia Rondo. The Chev Orlando is no longer available.

      At one time there were true ‘mini-vans’. The original Caravan/Voyager, the original Odyssey, the Mazda MPV, the Villager/Quest all relatively the same size as the Mazda 5 and Rondo.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Dodge Caravan was the 4th highest selling vehicle in Canada in 2016.

    Why not include the Value Package in the ‘Ace of Base’ section?

    I understand that the Pacifica is newer and much more modern. But will it be more reliable? And is it really worth at least 50% more than the Caravan?

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      I think Dodge would have sold a bazillion more base model Grand Caravans in the US if rear A/C was standard. Front-only A/C doesn’t cut it in much of the US in the summer time, with a vehicle of the interior volume of a GC.

      The AVP has a sticker price of around $23.5k down here, and the next level up with rear air is $2,500 more.

      They’d have been better off making the AVP $24k with standard rear a/c. Even with hefty discounts bringing down real world transaction prices, forcing people to swallow an extra $2500 for an option that’s pretty much mandatory in most parts of the country is a deal breaker to a lot of folks IMHO.

  • avatar
    mr_mike

    I have a ’13 Town & Country and 3 kids… I know it’s a first world problem, but my biggest nit with the Pacifica is the Rear Seat entertainment is only for the second row seats… In my current ride, the middle row is used by my younger 2, and the oldest watches things which interest her in the back. I know there are all kinds of devices that I can have them use to get close to the same experience, but I like that it’s all contained in the car, and we can still control what’s going on back there from the front. And it’s a godsend on long (16hr+) trips to keep them entertained.

    That said, 2 (older) kids, or more interested in handheld devices rather than built in, it looks like a great new ride, with significant upgrades. And this comes from someone who loves the ’13.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      That’s another factor I’ve looked at. Honestly, for the price difference between the tested Touring-L package, and the Limited – I can buy the kids all the iPads they want, load them with movies and games, and still have enough left over for a Nissan Versa.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      Except for very young children, handheld devices are making rear seat entertainment systems, especially the seat-back ones like on the new Pacifica, technologically obsolete. For the price of the rear seat entertainment, one can get a pair of iPads which are vastly superior and more flexible.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    train dealership… OK so you did make me lol.

    “Excuse me good Sir, I’d like to discuss exchanging my 2-12-0 for a 2-8-8-8-4.”

    Is the AWD version of the Pacifica going to be able to keep “Stow-n-Go”.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      The hybrid eliminates the Stow-n-Go seats. In my book, it’s not a bad trade-off. In the 5 years we’ve had our Odyssey, I’ve only needed to take out the second row seats maybe once a year. No biggee.

      I’d rather skip on Stow-n-Go and get thicker, more comfortable second row seats.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        YES. This 100%. Those stow-n-go seats are painful just sitting in them in the showroom; I can’t imagine going on a trip on those horrible things.

        I would be happy to swap them out for something more comfortable, and just leave them in there. In 15+ years of minivan driving, I’ve had the middle row seats out only twice.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        They offered more comfortable seats before on the T&C—and no one took that option.

        Swivel & Go was dropped during the refresh as was the non removable captains chairs (around a $320 option) disappeared sometime after 2012 I believe.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Yeah…train dealership.

      Where they have Dash-8s on sale, cheap…they have air conditioning, but they’re definitely DC.

      Excuse me…no, I’m not selling the Pacifica. But…what can you give me for an SD-50…low miles…uh, no, there’s an issue with the title, but the bank can just clear it up for about half a million…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    People always gave crap to guys for driving these “mommy mobiles,” but you know what? Look at all the toys and gizmos here and on other uplevel minivans.

    Your buddy can jump sand dunes in his Raptor? Well, maybe so, but I can make my back seats disappear at the push of a button. And I have a built in vacuum cleaner. And I can watch dirty movies on two separate screens! Ha!

  • avatar
    Nurburgringer

    We’re in similar situations.
    I’ve had a’12 T&C Touring-L for 3 years (bought with 10k, now have 60k miles) and my father just bought a ’17 Pacifica Limited, with 20″ wheels that he didn’t really want.
    After driving it a total of about 10 hours, I like the quieter cabin (’12 isn’t bad though), slightly more comfy and more importantly memory seats (at the time I bought mine it was ~$4k to move up the a used Limited ’12), adaptive cruise and top-down camera view are really neat and useful, and improved stow-and-go is nice.
    Other than that I don’t see any pressing reason to get rid of my ’12. I actually like the ’12’s dash design better (don’t like the twirly knob on the Pacifica, taking up valuable near-driver dash real estate), and have no problem with it’s storm-trooper transport exterior styling.
    Still, looking forward to test driving a hybrid version soon. With a $7500 credit it’s a great value, even though you lose stow and go.

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    Chris, can we give it to Sajeev for an hour for a Vellum Venom? This might pull off the first-ever rear-DLO-fail!

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    Regarding wheel size and ride quality…is the real advantage of the 17s the taller tire sidewalls? I was always under the impression that the improved ride quality with smaller wheels was mostly due to the reduction in unsprung weight.

    • 0 avatar
      Meat

      It’s primarily the sidewall of the tire. In any given suspension setup the tire acts as a spring in series with the suspension coil spring (or torsion spring if we’re talking formula cars).

      A shorter sidewall is inherently stiffer than a taller sidewall. Mass of the unsprung bodies is a part of the ride quality but the spring rate of the tire side wall is probably an order of magnitude more influential.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Having owned a 13 T&C that got rear-ended, and now a Sienna.

    Is the build construction any better? The T&C was poorly built, the transmission couldn’t handle hills for a damn, and the crash ratings were nothing to write home about.

    The Toyota is quieter, better built in every way, and the transmission knows what it is doing. The Odyssey is more car-like to drive, albeit a lot louder.

    And fold down seats? Maybe if you have older kids, but then they could climb into that crossover. If you are in car seats, the seat belts being attached to the chairs rather than the pillars is amazing in the Sienna.

    So these minivan reviews are often too thin, and not very useful for actual parents. What matters is how easy it is to deal with huge car seats? How many crevices are there for food to get in. What is visibility like for the kids? Am I yelling over road noise (Odyssey) to get the kids attention? How easy is it to control the RES (terrible in the Sienna BTW). Driving dynamics? Who cares.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The Pacifica is the only mini-van currently that is a Top Safety Pick+ for 2017, and the only other minivan that is a Top Safety Pick for 2017 is the KIA Sedona. It appears that the current Sienna’s small overlap rating was the deciding factor.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @akatsuki makes many valid points. Driving dynamics mean squat to most shopping for a mini-van. Visibility, noise levels, ability to install/remove child seats, configure the seating, cubby bins and cup holders do matter. As does reliability.

  • avatar
    Highway Cruiser

    cool minivan, much better than any SUV for a family with multiple kids, especially in carseats. Good quality and noise cancellation, number of features is outstanding. Plugin-hybrid is a really deal breaker!

  • avatar
    Stevo

    The beauty of a van is even greater as your brood ages. Basketball carpool? Handled. Drive your daughter and her closest 5 friends where ever? Done. I leave the right middle seat out 99% of the time so the rear passengers can deploy quickly at whatever curbside stop we make. I sure as heck am not going to park at the mall or wherever just to drop them off and it beats not having to fold middle seats forward to free the trapped rear passengers like in a 3 row SUV. Have one of those too, it is horrible in comparison to our Odyssey for most every use.

  • avatar
    Bawroski

    You said “I’d typically see right around 15 mpg in the old van”. Wow my 2007 Honda Odyssey gets 22 mpg normally. On road trip loaded I get 24-25 mpg, and I still have no rattles at 155,000.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “The powerful 3.6-liter Pentastar was present, basically unchanged from my van, but the nine-speed automatic was all-new”

    The 3.6L in the Pacifica is almost entirely new compared to the engines in the previous generation vans. The Pacifica has the Pentastar “Upgrade”, basically a gen II Pentastar. The most notable difference with the new generation is variable valve lift that makes for a broader power band.

    I loved the Touring L Plus that I had for 15,000 miles. It’s legitimately a pleasure to drive, ride and handling are notably good. The features are second to none. Uconnect theater is a kid tranquilizer. Stow N Go is a dream for cargo versatility, seats up or down. The buckets with the seats up are great storage spaces. I took the family on a road trip across the country and it was a pleasant trip thanks to the Pacifica where with a different vehicle it might have caused suicidal thoughts.

  • avatar
    DM335

    After years of Toyota ownership, we just traded our 2015 Toyota Sienna on a new Pacifica. My wife saw an ad for the Pacifica a few months ago, learned about some of the features and had to test drive one. She instantly liked everything about the van compared to her Sienna. She never liked her new Sienna as much as her 2010 before that because of its clumsy controls, road noise and wallowing ride. I was quite hesitant about trading her Toyota for a domestic brand, let alone a Chrysler.

    It’s hard for me to admit, but I like the Pacifica. It truly rides and drives more like a car. Every control seems to be well thought out. The U-Connect Theater and hands-free door controls on our Limited are fantastic. The transmission selector is odd and I will always have concerns about quality, but I could not be more impressed. I would absolutely agree that it is “minivan perfection”. Yes, it has a greater chance of a repair issue and I am totally prepared for the comparatively worse resale value, but overall it is a great van.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I have a Durango with the 8.4 UConnect screen and it works fine with gloved hands. I’ve been surprised but it even works with pretty thick gloves.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Nice write up. The new Odyssey, with Honda’s current design language scaled up to Odyssey proportions, makes the Pacifica much more attractive in many ways.

    My concern is really FCA quality. I’m fairly certain that we’re leasing again, so I’m not in it for the long term. But even in the short term, I want it to be good. Our Odyssey has only been out of service once in 3 years. And that’s when it was brand new, when the front fenders were rubbing on the doors. Disappointing to put it mildly, but nothing else has really gone wrong.

    And I really would like to try the hybrid van out, but the whole “first year hybrid AND it’s a Chrysler” kinda limits my enthusiasm for that.

    I recently had a Dart as rental with 30k on the clock. It seemed fine mechanically, but it had all sorts of buzzes and squeaks to it. Granted, rentals lead hard lives, I witnessed that working for the Big E in the late 90’s. But also, nothing shows flaws in a vehicle like rental use.

    We rented a Town and Country for a week before we leased the Odyssey. I feel the same thing will happen this time. $300 is a small price to pay to learn about living with a vehicle for a week that a 20 minute or even overnight test drive can’t.

  • avatar

    The elephant in the room is FCA quality. The Italian connection has just made Chrysler quality worse. Just look at the Dart and 200 for examples. Trust me FCA will find a way to screw up the Pacifica. That is what Sergio does best.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    So here’s my thing about FCA minivans.

    My use case: I need a vehicle capable of doing one of two things but never (or as good as never) at the same time:

    1) Move two adults, two under-fives, and their stuff on four trips per year of approximately 1000 miles one-way.

    2) Move two adults, two seniors, and two under-fives on local trips of up to 75 miles at a time.

    This seems like a no-brainer for a minivan — my folks owned Ford Aerostars from 1986-1998 and my wife’s family had at least one Dodge Caravan in the ’90s as well. So I was excited to rent a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan as proof of concept figuring if it worked out I could get a good deal on a used one.

    I wasn’t happy with the visibility and didn’t feel like I had a good sense of where the back corners of the vehicle were and I thought the shifter location was awkward. My wife says she hated everything about it and after about 50 miles refused to drive it further.

    The part that really bothered both of us though was the height of the vehicle floor. Height-wise, I’m above average and my wife is about average, and we found it awkward to pick up our (then) 20 month old and lift him into the car seat. Are we the only ones who experience this?

    Given my wife’s aversion especially to the vehicle length, we fell back on looking for a 3rd row crossover and eventually got a 2007 Pacifica Touring. It’s very much a compromise vehicle in many senses of the word, but it rides at least 4″ lower and feels much more compact than either the TC/GCV or the new Pacifica. I’m guessing that height is all gobbled up by stow-n-go and while that’s nice for stashing some toys or a diaper bag, it won’t swallow a pack-n-play and I can put the toddler in the back row using the flip-n-tumble seats just fine.


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