It would seem that Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) is working on giving customers more options when it comes to purchasing their vehicles. The latest rumored option is the Chrysler Pacifica is getting an All-Wheel-Drive transmission (AWD). At the moment, the only other 4×4 minivan in the United States is the Toyota Sienna.
Chrysler offered AWD in previous generations of its vans, and they are working on bringing it back. The motivation for bringing back the AWD is driven by the demand for the option in Canada, where minivans have strong sales. If Canada gets its way, it could help Chrysler gain sales again in colder regions of the United States back.
Chrysler had an AWD option before 2004, but it was lost when the Stow ‘n Go feature was introduced. Having a driveshaft in the rear wheels would probably eliminate the ability to drop the seats into the floor, but buyers in colder weather may decide they can live without it for better grip in the winter. However, the only downside to those that don’t live in colder climates is adding AWD to the Pacifica will make them lose the signature Stow n’ Go seating in the new models.
WHAT IS AN ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE?:
An all-wheel-drive system sends a fluctuating load of torque to each axle, which the driver doesn’t usually control. An all-wheel-drive system uses a center differential to distribute the drive’s torque between the two shafts. All-wheel-drive systems are great for road usage because they can actively send power to the wheel (or wheels) that need it most.
Not all all-wheel-drive systems have secure torque split between the front and rear axles, but when it comes to driving in corners, those don’t have the same issues as four-wheel-drive systems since they depend on a differential rather than a transfer case. Even the most fundamental AWD system does all the thinking and adjusting for you. Drive over any surface and through extreme weather conditions without selecting 4WD mode or worrying about turning it off afterward.
Chrysler has yet to confirm the AWD on the Pacifica, so this is still on the rumor mill, but production is rumored to take place in the second quarter of 2020 at Chrysler’s plant in Windsor Ontario. Mike Szymkiewicz, head of product planning in FCA Canada, believes that selling Pacificas with AWD engines can help the company. “If you look at some of the competitive vehicles, maybe not the traditional minivan, but even some of the bigger duty [trucks] you can get front-wheel and all-wheel-drive. The all-wheel-drive take rate generally is quite high in all those offerings; I do think it would be an opportunity for us.”
Pacifica sales have held relatively balanced in the U.S. The 2018 year sales were a respectable 118,322, which is flat compared to 2017 sales of 151,927 Grand Caravans, an increase of 21 percent. According to autoblog.com, sales through February of 2019 were down by 24 and 27 percent, but FCA says its portion of the overall U.S. minivan market has nevertheless risen to 57.7 percent.
For the latest version of the Pacifica, FCA spent $744 million to retool Windsor Assembly and almost $2 billion to develop the minivan’s new flexible architecture itself. It serves as a platform for the latest three-row Chrysler crossover and a Grand Caravan replacement as well. The plant also builds the Pacifica versions of the Grand Caravan and plug-in hybrid across three shifts.
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.
Photo Credit: topspeed.com