Chrysler replaced the Town and Country with an all-new Pacifica in 2017, unrelated to the previous Pacifica, a station wagon last produced in 2008.
Re-engineered from the ground up on an all-new platform, Chrysler’s newest minivan presents an unprecedented level of functionality, versatility, technology and styling along with class-leading gasoline and hybrid powertrains to the minivan segment.
The new minivan will seat seven or eight, depending on seating configuration chosen for the second row. Ideal for today’s families, Pacifica offers over 100 safety and security features, Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system, and lots of comfort and convenience technologies.
Six trims are available, priced from $26,995 to $43,695: L, LX, Touring, Touring L, Touring L Plus, and Limited. The L model is new for 2018, making Pacifica available to more customers.
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For 2018, all Pacifica models have a standard SafetyTec Group, which includes ParkSense Rear Park Assist with Stop, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection; and upgraded Uconnect 4 systems.
Uconnect 4 audio with an 8.4-inch touch screen now has HD radio, and Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4-inch touch screen features available 4G Wi-Fi; Uconnect Theater offers wireless streaming from Android mobile devices; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all models; and a 20-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system is available as an option on Limited.
The Uconnect 4 7-inch touch-screen radio is standard on L, LX, Touring and Touring L models. Touring Plus gets new wheels and body-color mirrors, and Touring L gets a Chrome Stow’n Place roof rack.
The standard powertrain consists of an award-winning Pentastar 287-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine connected to a segment-exclusive TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic transmission, with front-wheel drive. There is no manual mode or steering wheel shift paddles.
For this review I drove a Pacifica Limited ($43,695) in elegant Dark Cordovan Pearl, with chrome lower-body molding, window surround, door handles, side mirrors, grille “wave,” grille “Chrysler Wing” badge, lower grille and fog light trim, rear bumper trim and Stow’n Pack roof rails.
Eight exterior colors are available for the Limited, including Molten Silver, Jazz Blue Pearl, and Velvet Red Pearl. The heated/power/folding exterior mirrors with turn signals and driver memory had courtesy/puddle lamps, and the door handles had LED lights to greet driver and passengers.
A hands-free power liftgate (with flood light) and hands-free power sliding side doors were especially helpful for busy days with lots of loading and unloading of multiple boxes and bags. My Pacifica also had active grille shutters for appropriate cooling of the engine, and a capless fuel filler for easier fueling.
My Pacifica rode on 20-inch silver-painted (with gray pockets) five split-Y spoke aluminum wheels (replaced the standard 18-inch polished aluminum five Y-spoke wheels) included with the eight-passenger seating option, which featured a lightweight, removable seat in the center of the second row.
The middle seatback folded down to provide an armrest, cupholders and storage bin for the second row. Adding the eighth seat removed the standard sunroof and added locking lug nuts, which required a unique tool for removal.
The interior was Black/Diesel with Cordovan piping and stitching on the perforated Nappa leather seats (the L model has cloth seats). The dash, center console, upper door panels, and door armrests were trimmed in Black leather with Dark Chrome on the instrument panel, door handle, and center stack/console, and gloss black around the controls. The pillars, headliner and remainder of the interior, with exception of black floor mats, were Diesel (gray).
There were multiple storage areas throughout the cabin – a floor tray with a power outlet and USB port between the front footwells, a shallow shelf on the front of the center console, a pull-out tray under the center stack with coin holders, a recessed ledge above a Blu-Ray player (two more USB ports and an auxiliary port – Pacifica has no less than 11 power sources, including eight USB ports), dual door pockets, bag hooks on front seatbacks with a pocket for the wireless headphones and remote for the entertainment system, cupholders and small cubbies on the third-row armrests, and more.
Lots of interior lighting including footwell lights, illuminated map pockets, overhead ambient lighting, and rear ambient lighting created a welcoming atmosphere.
Pacifica has up to 140.5 cubic feet of storage space with the second- and third-row seats folded; 87.5 cubic feet of storage with the third row folded; and 32.3 cubic feet with all seats in use.
Large items such as sheets of plywood are easy to stow, thanks to the cavernous shape of the cargo area, and rubber pieces on the floor keep the edges elevated so fingers can be eased under for lifting.
Rear passengers had a Uconnect Theater and Sound Package ($2,690), which brought a Blu-Ray/DVD player, two 10.1-inch seatback video screens (fold down for viewing, up for storage) for movies, streaming video, built-in games or games from an external console, or web surfing. There is an app called “Are We There Yet” for tracking the journey; a USB port; three-channel wireless headphones; 115-volt AC outlet for video game consoles and other devices; 220-amp alternator to charge the battery while the engine is running and supply additional power; three-channel touchpad video remote; video USB in the front row center stack, and dual High-Definition Multimedia Interface port for gaming devices and other display controllers.
Infotainment included SiriusXM radio, Guardian Service, Traffic Plus Service, and Travel Link Service; Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4-inch touch-screen display; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability; and voice command with Bluetooth.
Also included was premium 20-speaker 12-channel Harman Kardon Audio Group with a 760-watt amplifier for multidimensional quality and intense surround sound; and additional charging USB ports in the second and third rows.
A Conversation (spy) Mirror above the rearview mirror allows the driver to keep an eye on passengers. Second and third rows had window shades.
Stow’n Go seats have be a unique standard feature of Chrysler and Dodge minivans for years. A third-row seat that folds into the floor is standard for lots of minivans, and my Pacifica’s was power-folding
Second-row “into-the-floor” seats flipped into a compartment by sliding the front seats forward (Stow ‘n Assist, a button on the side of the seatback), lifting up the floor panel, pulling a strap and pushing slightly, then lowering the floor panel. When the seats are upright, the underfloor compartments can be used for hidden storage. They can even serve as coolers with the addition of liners, sold separately.
The stowable seats had thinner cushions and the seats weren’t as adjustable as those of other minivans. The second-row seats could be tilted out of the way for easier access to the third row. The third-row 60/40-split bench was also slightly firm, but all seats were roomy. Headrests on the third row can be dropped remotely to improve visibility out the back (just make sure the seats are empty first!).
First and second rows were heated, front seats were ventilated, and an Occupant Classification System determined the size and weight of the front passenger to determine the force of the airbag or if the airbag was even required.
An Advanced SafetyTec Group ($995) had lots of world-class technology, including a 360-degree Surround View Camera System with a bird’s eye view of the vehicle and surroundings as well as front and rear cross path views; Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go to detect objects in the vehicle’s path, maintain or reduce speed accordingly, keeping a pre-selected distance, braking to a full stop if needed, then resuming speed/distance at the tap of a button or the accelerator when traffic begins to move.
The package also included Advanced Brake Assist, which works with Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking to visually and audibly alert the driver to potential frontal collisions, and brake to a full stop if the driver doesn’t respond appropriately.
Automatic High-Beam headlights detect oncoming headlights or preceding taillights and switch from high- to low-beam as needed; LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist alerts the driver of unintentional drifting and helps correct the vehicle back into the lane if the driver doesn’t respond.
Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist with Stop parks the vehicle with minimal input from the driver, controlling the steering angle while the driver engages the gears and operates the brake and accelerator; ParkSense Front and Rear Park Assist with Stop visually and audibly notifies the driver of objects and their proximity during low-speed parking maneuvers, and applies the brakes during a reverse maneuver to avoid a collision.
Rain Sensitive Windshield Wipers, programmed by the driver, activate the wipers after detecting moisture buildup on the windshield, adjusting speed as needed.
Safety features included Hill Start Assist, LED signature daytime running lights, front seat-mounted side air bags, side-curtain air bags for all rows, turn-off time delay headlamps, sliding door alert warning, ABS with rainy day braking, ready alert braking, and puncture sealant with portable air compressor and tire inflator kit.
My Pacifica was easy to drive, with quick acceleration when needed. It was also roomy and comfortable, and beyond well-equipped, with more standard features than can be listed here. A partial list includes overhead illumination for front cupholders, heated steering wheel, rear bag hooks, garage door/gate opener, and last but not least, the Stow’n Vac integrated vacuum.
With $3,685 in options and $1,095 destination charges, my Pacifica delivered for $47,475.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.