How the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica made minivans great again

The Chrysler Pacifica offers an unnbeatable blend of practicality, refinement, and comfort and is one of The Car Connection's 2017 Best Car to Buy nominees. 

PRNewsFoto/FCA US LLC/File
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Just when it felt like Chrysler had given up on the minivan—the car that automotive historians will remind you helped save the company about three decades ago—out of nowhere comes the Chrysler Pacifica.

It revives a forgotten nameplate once attached to a bloated crossover-like vehicle, but that's about all it has in common with its predecessor. Instead, the Pacifica is decidedly forward-looking.

If anything is going to bring back the minivan segment, it's going to be the Pacifica. It replaces the Chrysler Town & Country and soon the company's Dodge division will phase out its Grand Caravan, leaving just one impressive people carrier in this lineup.

Unlike Chrysler vans of yore, there's no base model on offer here. Even the entry-level Pacifica comes loaded with a high-tech 9-speed automatic gearbox and a 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine. Yeah, we've disliked that gearbox before, but (finally) Chrysler has gotten its tuning just right in the Pacifica. 

Even the Pacifica LX comes nicely-equipped at a hair under $30,000. Front and second row passengers sit in comfortable captain's chairs, while the third row is a conventional bench. Always a master of minivan packaging, Chrysler continues to lead the pack. The second and third rows both tumble away with ease into the van's floor, revealing a flat load space big enough to haul full-size plywood. But unlike the last generation of minivan to leave Chrysler's design studios, this one looks and feels upmarket all around.

A wide range of models are on offer, culminating in the Limited that nearly gives a Range Rover a run for its money inside. Well, not quite—but with screens that include games for second row passengers, an especially strong vacuum, hands-free power sliding doors and tailgate, and luxurious Nappa leather, it's a refined place for whittling away the miles. Even kiddos will appreciate HDMI and USB ports scattered throughout the cabin for device charging and movie watching. 

Chrysler invented the minivan in 1983, and this year, it changes decades of history with its latest offering, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. Will its unbeatable blend of practicality, refinement, and comfort help it come out on top for our 2017 Best Car to Buy award? We'll know very soon. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to How the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica made minivans great again
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today