My First Time Driving a Chrysler Pacifica
Although not a fan of minivans, or family cars in general, the Pacifica surprised me. I’ve been writing a lot about it and its features, but being inside one gave me better insight into the vehicle I was writing and talking about. First off, the interior threw me for quite the spin. Minivans sure have changed since I was a kid.
I remember going to school in my mom’s Grand Caravan, and it definitely didn’t have a seatback video screen. One of the Pacifica’s top available features is the Uconnect Theatre Package that comes with seatback video screens to keep kids entertained on long road trips.
One would think it would be uncomfortable for the driver and front passenger, but we didn’t even realize they were in the Pacifica model (Touring Plus) we were driving, until another passenger pointed them out. In other words, they were very discreet for such a technologically advanced component, and in a car no less.
The new transmission really surprised me. When it comes to the new Pacifica, gear shifts are stone age tech. At first I was looking for the stick, and I thought the model was broken, until I noticed a dial on the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel, but south of the entertainment console. It had the usual letters on it, and with a turn to the right, I had put the car in “Drive.”
That was the first time I drove a car that had a dial gearshift, and it took some getting used to, but I can see now that it’s popping up in other vehicles and may soon become the norm. The Pacifica is powered by a 3.6L V6 24V VVT engine. For those not well-versed in auto mechanic lingo, VVT stands for “Variable Valve Timing.” This is a system designed into engines to not only improve its performance but also optimize fuel efficiency. So that’s another thing the Pacifica had going for it – great fuel economy (an EPA of 18/28 MPG city/highway) for a minivan. I’m sure soccer moms will appreciate it too, what with all that after school car pooling.
A couple of other features stood out to me that I feel should be pointed out. First off, everything is automatic in Chrysler’s new Pacifica. Press a button on the sliding door from the interior or the exterior, and it opens/closes by itself. The liftgate opens by clicking a button on the key fob and then closes itself by pressing another. Installed into the windows are retractable sunshades, a nice feature to keep passengers from cooking in the heat. I know the soccer team that was kind enough to work with us appreciated them in between shoots.
Since I have an older car without a touchscreen, using the Pacifica’s touchscreen was completely new to me, and I can see how difficult it may be without a manual to go through. However, an 8.4-inch touchscreen display made it easy to navigate applications, the stereo, etc. It was also nice to be able to plug in my iPod and have my music automatically start playing, versus listening to static while I look for the auxiliary option.
Surprisingly, it was a sunny day in Florida versus the constant rain dominating summer 2016, so I can’t say much about the Pacifica’s exterior features, such as its automatic headlamps, or if the heated exterior mirrors really did make a difference. The automatic A/C inside the car was great though, not having to mess with the dials based on the outside temperature, and the heated seats were a nice touch too.
Aside from some of the muscle cars I also drove during this assignment, which we’ll cover in another segment, I can definitely say I’d recommend the Chrysler Pacifica to someone in the minivan market. One point to note is that I only touched upon some of the many great features the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has to offer in this article.