By on February 6, 2020

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

Snow Belt parents, rejoice. There’s one more minivan on the market with all-wheel drive.

The refreshed 2021 Chrysler Pacifica now offers an AWD system that can redirect power away from any wheel that’s lost traction. The system also disconnects when not needed, reducing driveline drag and improving efficiency.

Meanwhile, the Pacifica’s front grille, headlamps, fog lamps, and taillamps are given an updated look. There will be four flavors available: Touring, Touring L, Limited, and a new range-topping trim dubbed Pinnacle. AWD will be available with all trims. Additionally, the plug-in hybrid powertrain remains an option. A limited Launch Edition trim will be available late in the second quarter of 2020, though the rest of the lineup hits the market in the fourth quarter.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

Remarkably, the AWD hardware won’t kill the available Stow N’ Go seating system. However, the AWD system doesn’t appear to be available on hybrid models.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler is touting the number of safety features available on the van – roughly 100 – including new ones like LED lights and Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking. A new interior camera will be available to allow drivers to keep tabs on occupants. Other available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with full stop, and lane-departure warning.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

Meanwhile, the van will be the first application for Chrysler’s UConnect 5 infotainment system. The upgraded system offers faster-charging USB Type-C ports and up to 12 USB Type-A and Type-C ports combined.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Powertrains and the available S appearance package carry over, though there are new wheel choices on offer, with sizes ranging from 17 to 20 inches. Other available new features include new option packages, wireless charging, and 10-inch subwoofer.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

[Images: Fiat Chrysler]

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36 Comments on “Chrysler at Chicago Auto Show: Refreshed 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Offers All-Wheel Drive...”


  • avatar
    Jon

    Suggestion: How about the diesel engine form the Wrangler? The 9HP48 has the torque capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      Mnemic

      It would be the #1 diesel vehicle where the owner puts gasoline in the tank

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      What’s the appeal?

      The Pentastar is already a good engine, gets 28 mpg highway, and runs on fuel that costs $2.19 a gallon near me.

      Diesel would not save money on fuel for most, would cost more up front and in maintenance, and would not lead to higher towing capacity.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Lets assume it would get 28 mpg (actual) for diesel (a reasonable assumption) and 20 mpg (actual) for gas (as reported by http://www.fuelly.com/car/chrysler/pacifica). Diesel in phoenix costs $3.00/gal. Gas is $2.90/gal. The diesel engine is a $4,000 option. Purchase price is 36k and 40k respectively. Assume a the diesel costs on average $30 more per service in dealer maintenance at every 5 months and 5000 miles. It would take 10.5 years and 126,000 miles for the diesel option to pay for itself. If Chrysler dropped the premium for the diesel engine to $3k, it would pay for itself after 8 years and after 5.3 years for a $2k premium.

        Whats the appeal?
        Highway and combined MPG much higher than the pentastar (I agree that the pentastar is a great engine but it is less great when loaded with a large family and all their stuff).
        Greatly increased MPG when loaded with 4 kids and all their stuff.
        Greatly increased performance when loaded with 4 kids and all their stuff.
        For some: better driving feel thanks to increased torque.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Those assumptions are extremely favorable to the diesel, and still you are talking a decade long payback. For most, it would be longer (if ever).

          -Gas here is $2.19, diesel is $2.79. That kind of spread has been typical throughout the Midwest for several years now.

          -If we are using Fuelly as our source, let’s compare the Grand Cherokee with both the Pentastar (20 mpg, same as the Pacifica), and diesel (25 mpg, not 28). At those prices and fuel economy numbers, cost is a wash.

          -4 kids and their stuff isn’t like pulling a trailer. We are talking 1000 lb, tops. Not enough for the gas engine to feel any serious strain or performance to be severely affected. Remember the Ram 1500 with Pentastar is rated to tow close to 7,000 lb. The engine is fine under a modest load in a van.

          -The better driving feel I can’t argue with if you feel that way. A gas 2.0T would probably give a similar feel without the downsides of diesel. I prefer the V6 myself.

        • 0 avatar
          Mike N.

          As a (former owner) of a diesel SUV, don’t forget the added maintenance costs due to all the emissions control stuff necessary for a diesel to meet US standards, all of which may fail and none of which are cheap.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          I was wondering why those numbers looked off, they have the old CUV Pacifica.

          If you look at the van’s only, they are running mid 20s overall.

          On our trip from WI to TX to AR and back we averaged 28, but that was mostly highway miles. One tank in the AR flats we got just over 32.

          I don’t see diesel having much advantage here. You couldn’t tow any more with it either with the limitations of the FWD architecture.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      well it would be 200ish extra lbs right on the nose of the vehicle, and it would be a questionable fit.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      I don’t think so. The 9HP48 can handle about 350 lb ft.
      The Wrangler uses the 8HP75 I believe, something usually paired to HEMI engines.

  • avatar
    Mnemic

    They made it look like the 1995-2000 van, and it looks way better than it did before IMO

  • avatar
    902Chris

    I like everything about it!…. Except that it’s going to be a rolling money pit after it’s 3rd birthday, and the depreciation will suck worse than an investment with Bernie Madoff. If FCA can fix those two issues I’m on board.

  • avatar
    TimK

    Time flies — the Pacifica mechanics and styling are already dated. They could have done something innovate, interesting like making the PHEV an AWD with motors in the rear wheels. Instead they’re going to ride this one into the ground like the Caravan and T&C.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      It’s mechanics and features are pretty much on par with the segment, and the Pacifica is near the top for minivan sales (although I’m sure it gets a lot of fleet sales). Hate to break it to you but no one is innovating with minivans right now. Toyota has basically given up (the Sienna is what, 10 years old now?) and Kia is an also ran leaving just Honda and FCA, and the Odyssey is only a year newer than the Pacifica (and that is a significant refresh of the old one, not some vehicle brand spanking new from the ground up).

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        All new Sienna due out next year, and for better or worse it is going to be a big departure from the current one.

        • 0 avatar
          Mnemic

          Yeah but the sienna and even the pacifica prove that people don’t buy expensive mini vans en masse. They buy dirt cheap caravans and I think that’s where you’ll see this van end up (in Voyager guise). They’ll be calling it the Dodge Grand Caravan in Canada and with a simple grille swap it’ll look more like a doge than it currently does a chrysler.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Isn’t the Pacifica still port injected?

            There are plenty of people who would rather own a PI engine over a DI engine for long term ownership.

          • 0 avatar
            newenthusiast

            @Principal Dan:

            Wikipedia states that the Pentastar currently available in the Pacifica has the option of becoming DI based on its design, but has not been implemented.

            I am not an engineer, so I have zero idea how it can be designed to have direct injection but still use port injection.

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

  • avatar
    slavuta

    horrible center console #55

  • avatar
    dal20402

    So is it confirmed that this is a conventional AWD system with a propshaft connecting the rear wheels to the rest of the powertrain? If so, I’m very curious how they packaged both the propshaft and the exhaust in the space between the Stow ‘N’ Go wells. Seems like this would be a good application for an AWD system like the one in Volvo hybrids, where electric motors power the rear wheels and the gas powertrain powers the fronts.

    Separately, I’m curious if the hybrid will get the new Pinnacle trim. Virtually every Pacifica sold around here is a hybrid and this is a wealthy market, so I’d think it would be easy profit at least in some places.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Update: I’m seeing a couple articles on other sites that strongly imply that this is, indeed, a conventional AWD system with a propshaft. Can’t wait to see how in the heck they packaged it.

      Still can’t figure out whether Pinnacle + Hybrid will be available together. If so, that might be our next family car.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Press release: media.fcanorthamerica.com/newsrelease.do?id=21521&mid=1

      It mentions a driveshaft that can direct all power to the rear wheels, or disconnect to save on gas. I’m guessing 1) the stow-n-go compartment gets bisected
      2) FCA couldn’t re-engineer the hybrid’s midships battery pack to accommodate the driveshaft, so no hybrid AWD this go-around.

      This contrasts with upcoming Sienna rumors stating it’s going to be hybrid only, sharing its powertrain with the upcoming Highlander Hybrid, a 2.5L 4 cyl with electric motors at the rear wheels for AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Thanks for that press release link. The first Pinnacle shown in the accompanying “beauty shots” is a Hybrid, so that answers that.

        Really curious how that beefed-up Toyota 2.5L hybrid powertrain will perform. Hard for me to believe that it will replcate the performance of either the plain V6 gas powertrain or the V6 hybrid powertrain in the old Highlander Hybrid, but I’ll keep an open mind until performance numbers are out.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          The gist of those Sienna rumors is correct. No more V6, 2.5 + hybrid only.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yeah, I hated to see that happen and fear that Toyota will in the not too distant future also downsize that magnificent 5.7L Tundra V8 with the 4.6L V8 out of the Lexus LS460.

            That would make me sad.

            But the automotive universe is changing.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If the Tundra gets a new engine, it will be a variant of the turbo V6 in the current LS 500, not another member of the same quite aged family of V8s as the current engine.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            dal20402, sure, that’s possible but Ford and GM both still offer their “same quite aged V8s” in addition to the 2.7T, 3.6T and tiny diesels.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    That front end is ugly. Does the rear look as bad?

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Not sure about that front end, though I get why they didn’t want to keep the one meant to visually link with the long-dead 200.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    At the risk of sounding like somebody who says, “that looks just like [insert model here, which could be seen of you squint hard]” types, I’m going to say I see hints of a fat Encore/Encore GX from the front 3/4 profile.

    The current Encore doesn’t look terrible, and is reasonably proportioned, so it’s not necessarily a knock on the Pacifica.

    Also, does the Voyager carry on with the older body style in a bid to differentiate itself?

    • 0 avatar
      C5 is Alive

      Good comparison. The head-on shot for the video in the FCA press release linked above by Richard Chen is definitely intended to imply “crossover,” not minivan.

  • avatar

    I never thought that minivans are so popular among B&B. 30 comments? You are kidding me!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      One-third of those comments arguing over diesel and another third debating the technical aspects of the AWD system. Seems on brand.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      I would have gotten a van this last time around, but couldn’t find one that was the right age/mileage range that also fit my budget. I looked at a Pacifica, but knew the hybrid was coming, and figured in few years, there would be used ones on the market.

      I didn’t drive any, but have been in a Grand Caravan GT. I liked the way it looked and felt as a passenger, but its looks old inside even when new. The Pentastar engine is probably bulletproof with routine maintenance.

      The Sienna seems like the best long term value play since I see older ones everywhere, and I don’t mind function over form, but based on the one I have been in (Enterprise RAC shuttle) it just feels comically old…and its a 2019. Not cheap, just old. Comfy, competent, but early 00’s feel and look inside, minus the cassette deck.

      Haven’t been in an Odyssey ever, or a recent Sedona, which appears to be much improved.

      Still, a hybrid van is probably the best combo of usable space and efficiency I can think of in what is essentially a full sized length vehicle. Difficult to pass up from a purely practical standpoint.

      For fun, my wife has said she wants to keep the BMW 135 as long as possible as a ‘fun/weekend car’, so I can get my driving thrills elsewhere. With kids in early college classes, art, theater, and robotics team, I generally have to haul 3-4 kids plus bags and stuff about 1-2x a week. A van is the logical fit.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Is the voyager gonna get the facelift and an awd option?

    I like the new face. Looks more masculine like the grand caravan. The wrap around taillights also look good like a 3rd gen prelude lol.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Looks good, but you know what would make it great?

    Slap a lift kit on it and some BFG Mud Terrains.

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