Words: Robert Nichols
Photography: Robert Nichols
Published: April 11, 2017
After spending some time with the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, two things became very clear to me. First, the majority of the team that designed this minivan must have children and second, the minivan remains the only logical choice for a family with children.
Despite what marketing departments and social stigmas may say, an SUV/CUV really is not all that practical. Think about it; they can be awkward to load, even more difficult to place a baby seat in, only 4 passengers will comfortably and they use more than their fair share of fuel. Obviously not every family has the same automotive requirements but unless your home resides on a street with a sign that reads “Impassable when wet”, you have no actual need for an SUV/CUV.
There is a reason that for well over a decade, the much maligned minivan was found in nearly every driveway: they are immensely practical, and the passage of time has only improved things. Chrysler/Dodge built the first minivans and they still reign supreme in the market because of the little touches that decades of refinement have yielded.
This Chrysler Pacifica is loaded with all kind of intelligent options. For example, anyone who has traveled with a toddler will attest to the fact that animal crackers and Cheerios will end up everywhere and many get trampled on and ground into the carpet before a parent has a chance to clean up. Chrysler has solved this by including a built in vacuum cleaner complete with multiple nozzles and an extra hose.
While we are looking inside, it must be said that the interior quality is top notch with comfortable leather seating for all and a handsome dash design that keeps everything within easy reach of the driver. The front seats feature heating and cooling, there are many convenient places to store things, and the snap together rubber floor mats will protect the carpets.
But look closer and you will find some thoughtful touches. Open either of the front doors and there is a trough designed to hold your umbrellas and prevent the water from escaping. The spaces below the floor which the seats fold into have removable storage bins in them. There is an emergency flashlight in the back as well as an electric tire pump.
One thing a minivan has to do well is work as a van. The Pacifica’s rear seats fold away into the floor and leave a flat and level space. This may be the norm these days but what is uncommon is the ease with which this occurs. The third row seats fold electrically, individually or together. The second row captain’s chairs fold into floor cavities with a gentle pull of a strap in one fluid motion. No worries about aggravating the hernia here. With all seats out of sight there is 3,976 L of cargo space behind the front seats, and a total passenger/cargo volume of 5,587 L – that’s enough for anything needed for vacations or renovations.
Keeping the kids quiet on longer trips are dual 10” touch screens mounted to the back of the front row seats that include travel games, HDMI inputs, a Blu-ray player, remote controls and headphones. After all, no adult should be subjected to “The song that never ends”. I think there is a paragraph in the Geneva Convention discussing such abuses. For mom and dad there is the optional crisp and clear 760 watt audio system with 20 Harman Kardon speakers, Sirius XM and Bluetooth connectivity; more than enough power to drown out even the most epic of tantrums.
The Pacifica delivers a very smooth ride. The suspension was a bit soft for my personal taste but I could not argue with the level of comfort and the lack of general soreness after a drive to London. We arrived feeling as fresh as when we had left. The transmission shifts are hardly noticed, the throttle response is slow which in this vehicle is exactly what you want. The only oddity I noted happened only on one specific street when the imperfect road surface caused the van to feel like it was a teeter totter, probably caused by the combination of a long wheelbase and softer suspension.
Power is provided by a 3.6L Pentastar V6 paired to a 9-speed transmission. This engine proved to be adequate and surprisingly frugal with a week’s end average consumption of 10.7 L/100km. On one level stretch of the 401 I saw a sustained 8.0 L/100 km – that’s sedan territory.
While many cannot bring themselves to overlook the stigma minivans have unfairly been branded with, those who are bold enough not to cave into peer pressure will reap the rewards. The available technology in our tester made maneuvering in tight spots a snap and will alleviate the worries of a parent who is distracted by ill-behaved offspring. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica proves that a minivan can be luxurious, stylish and the most practical vehicle a family can own.
型号 Model: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
顏色 Paint Type: Velvet Red Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $52,995
試車售價 Price as Tested: $62,770
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,086
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,176 / 2,022 / 1,777
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,964
引擎 Engine: 3.6-litre Pentastar VVT V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 287 hp @ 6,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 9-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 12.9 / 8.4 / 10.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.7