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Chrysler Pacifica Limited
It Could Change Your Mind
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD – The folks who brought America its first minivan have invested millions of dollars in recreating the idea for the modern era. And it shows.
Forget all that you believe about such a vehicle. This one is smooth, refined, spacious, and sports a built in vacuum cleaner, in case the Cookie Monster rides along.
Riding on a new platform, the Pacifica replaces the Town & Country van with five trim levels to meet one’s budget. Outfitted in a classy looking Dark Cordovan Pearl, the tested Limited was at the top of the trim options.
Yet Fiat Chrysler is not done with the design. There is a hybrid model also, and the Detroit News broke the story that an all-electric Pacifica van concept will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January.
Now on to the present day.
Propelling the test Pacifica was a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque with a much improved nine speed automatic transmission. Earlier versions of this tranny were constantly searching for gears and indecisive at best. Chrysler went to work on it, and the new version was much smoother with quick downshifts to get around slow moving tractors and buffalos.
EPA economy ratings came to 18 city, 28 highway for a combined 22 mpg. For the week, I registered 22 and the economy figures were in line with the competition.
Occupants will enjoy the exceptionally quiet interior thanks to an “Active Noise Control” system. The power eight-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats were comfortable from the first sitting.
Small item storage was plentiful including a large bin at the bottom of the center stack. Here and there were numerous power sources, and USB ports. And here is one thing that really caught my eye about the Pacifica. Chrysler figured out that a cheery interior was the way to go, as opposed to finishing everything in black.
Four gold stars to Chrysler for carrying over the “Stow and Go” folding second row seats. They quickly and easily fold down into the floor. Lower the power third row 60/40 seats and you end up with a whopping 140.5 cubic feet of storage. Just remember the household budget if you head off to the big box hardware store on a Saturday morning.
For loading there was a hands free lift gate, sliding doors that basically open and close themselves, plus two sunroofs, (summer will come again), xenon headlights, navi, etc. Then we looked at the option list.
A $2,795 Customer Preferred Package brought a long list of equipment including twin second row 10 inch touchscreens, 3 channel video remote controls, wireless headphones, and a top notch Harman Kardon 20 speaker audio system.
An additional $1,995 added front and rear parking assist, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, 360 degree surround view camera system, collision warning, lane departure warning and rain sensitive wipers among other items.
All this totaled up to a suggested retail of $48,280.
The ride was smooth, the infotainment system an easy learning experience, virtually all controls come readily to hand, and fit and finish justified the asking price.
Now catch this! Apparently consumers are discovering how “it’s so nice to have a van around the house.” Pacifica sales rose 13 percent in November over October and it was the Chrysler brand’s top seller.
287 hp @ 6,400 rpm Torque 262 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm Fuel Requirement Unleaded regular, 87 octane
Nine-speed FWD, electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission with torque converter clutch. Clutch-to-clutch architecture, with integral electro/hydraulic control module.
Electric rack and pinion
Turning Diameter (curb-to-curb) 39.7 ft. Steering Turns (lock-to-lock) 3.13
Overall Length 203.8”
Overall Width 79.6”
Overall Width with Mirrors 90.4”
Overall Height 69.9”
Liftover Height 24.3”