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Driving Notes

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

December 5, 2016, by Mike Antich - Also by this author

Photo by Mike Antich.
Photo by Mike Antich.

First impressions count and my first impression of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica makes me give it two thumbs up. The Pacifica replaces the very capable, prior generation Town & Country, with which I am very familiar since it is one of my personal vehicles.

An early driving impression is that the Pacifica is more responsive than its predecessor model and has lower levels of body roll due to a stiffer body structure. On the road, the Pacifica is quiet, with minimal wind and road noise when compared to the very quiet Town & Country. A key reason for this improvement is that active noise cancellation is standard on all Pacifica models, which helps give it, what Chrysler describes as a “vault-like” interior environment.

No one buys a minivan for its 0-60 mph capability, but the Pacifica minivan offers plenty of power for freeway onramps and highway lane changes. The 2017 Pacifica is powered the Pentastar 3.6L V-6 gasoline engine, which produces 287 hp and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to the new TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic transmission. Shifting gears in the Pacifica is as simple as a turn of a knob using the rotary knob shifter on the dash.

Another driving impression occurred when refueling the Pacifica, which has an EPA rating of 18/28 mpg city/highway, a 1- and 3-mpg improvement, respectively, over the 2016 Chrysler Town & Country. The increased fuel efficiency is due to the nine-speed transmission, engine stop-start technology, aerodynamic exterior design, and the use of lightweight materials, which reduced curb weight by 200 pounds.

Photo by Mike Antich.
Photo by Mike Antich.

A key reason for buying a minivan is for interior space and the Chrysler Pacifica has plenty of interior volume. It is available with eight-passenger seating (I test-drove the 7-passenger version), and it has the ability to fit an 8 x 4-foot sheet of plywood with the seats folded flat, which was one of the design requirements for the 2017 Pacifica. To assist facilitating this, the Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system, a hallmark of Chrysler minivans for more than 10 years, was redesigned. By pressing a button on the B-pillar, the front seat moves forward to allow the second-row seat to be stowed into the floor tub. Once stowed, pressing the button again moves the front seat back to its starting position.

Available for the first time, the Pacifica features the Surround View camera, which uses four cameras positioned around the vehicle to provide 360-degree views, including a bird’s eye perspective of the vehicle and surroundings.

Other safety features are ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Hold, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, and LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus. The Pacifica offers plenty of technology, such as an available Uconnect 8.4 system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, navigation, integrated voice command, and Uconnect Access.

There is also hands-free sliding doors and liftgate, operated by making a kicking motion under the sliding door or bumper. A nice convenience feature is the available Stow ‘n Vac integrated vacuum stored in a rear sidewall compartment.

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