Motortrend’s March Mayhem Semifinal: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica VS. 2019 Subaru Ascent

The March Mayhem semifinal brings the most exciting matchup of the entire car comparison’s series from There is the minivan from the three-row crossover, Subaru Ascent, where functionality and image play massive roles. The seating goes from seven to eight passengers, there is available all-wheel drive, hybrid powertrains, ability to tow, giving you the space to take anything with you. Minivans, like the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica, are often seen as mom-mobiles but it offers comfortability and stability.  

Here’s the thing, if your lifestyle revolves around towing heavy loads and going deeper into the woods, get the crossover. Consider the minivan if you don’t do either of those, like if you live by the Chrysler in Doral. Whether it’s trailer weight and ground clearance or acceleration and cargo capacity, there’s more than meets the eye with these vehicles.  

With the performance, for example, the Ascent pulls greater average lateral around a skidpad. However, on a winding road, the Pacifica feels more confident and planted than the Subaru and more critically, in an emergency lane changes, the Pacifica is far more stable and controlled. Despite weighing less, the Ascent requires more stability control and brake intervention to counteract oversteer and mitigate roll, and both cars offer active diver aids and safety systems, and Subaru makes them standard on all models.

It’s time to measure. As for the second-row head-, shoulder-, and legroom has an inch or two of space, and the step-in height is the same. Pacifica’s sliding doors make a child’s seat or child significantly more comfortable thanks to the larger door opening or that Pacifica’s child seat anchors are more comfortable to access.

The Pacifica’s second-row seats are just as comfortable despite being designed to fold into the floor, and ordering the removable second-row center seat doesn’t hinder your ability to stow the second-row seats. The Ascent’s second-row seats slide forward, back and recline while Pacifica’s only recline. However, kid’s sports gear won’t be a hassle as you won’t have to go as high to get into Pacifica’s trunk.

Any child who reaches the door handle can let themselves in and out of the Pacifica. It’s quite simple and doesn’t require much assistance. The parents can also open the sliding doors and rear hatch with buttons inside and out, or with a kicking motion.  

Then there are things like ride quality. The Ascent has more roll in corners and generally a floaty disposition compared to the Pacifica’s buttoned-down, purposeful, and equally comfortable demeanor. There is less of a toss around with the Pacifica.

When it comes down to it, the minivan’s advantage is in its clarity of purpose. What both vehicles can bring to you as an individual and your lifestyle is up to what you want in your package. Although the Subaru Ascent can be family-friendly, the Pacifica is designed with families in mind.   

It’s not only the big things, like the second-row seats and doors or the optional vacuum cleaner. Or the rear-seat entertainment system (Subaru will sell you a pair of iPads connected to in-vehicle Wi-Fi, which the Chrysler also has) and it’s not just Pacifica’s many storage compartments, cubbies, and bins, or intelligent features. It’s all of those things together, and Chrysler’s reassurance that this minivan was researched, designed, tested, and focus-grouped with families from the very beginning.  

The Subaru Ascent is a three-row crossover that works for families with kids in the booster-seat to the teenage range. The Chrysler Pacifica has the extra bandwidth to benefit families from cradle to college. Which makes it a more suitable family vehicle.

You can search our inventory of Chrysler Pacifica at Miami Lakes Automall. Make sure to stop by for a test drive and see if this model and make is the car for you.

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