2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited new car reviews

In a surprising move, Chrysler has done away with the Town and Country and replaced it with the all-new Pacifica in gas and hybrid versions.

You might remember that the Pacifica nameplate was used by Chrysler from 2004 to 2008, on a mid sized, crossover SUV. Apparently, in an effort to shun the minivan connotation, the Pacifica nameplate has been dragged out of a drawer and placed on this all new, lower and better handling minivan.

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Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
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We have always been fans of minivans. They are imminently practical as both people haulers and race support vehicles. Thus we were not surprised with how quickly we fell in love with the new Pacifica.

With seating for up to eight people, and large side and rear doors, the Pacifica easily hauls anything from sheets of plywood to a large family and all their luggage.

With sumptuous leather seating surfaces, a moon roof that extends for most of the length of the van and great connectivity, the Pacifica does its job with style and comfort.

Other niceties include Stow 'N Go seating—which makes a completely flat floor surface—and a built-in vacuum to clean up after the kids or a trip to Lowes.

Under the hood, a 3.6-liter V6 engine—or optional plug in hybrid configuration—puts out a stout 287 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Pacifica is rated to tow 3600 pounds, which means a small racecar on an open trailer is within the Pacifica’s towing abilities.

Out on the road we praised the Pacifica’s comfort and quiet, even on rough Midwestern roads. Power was more than adequate. While the handling was adequate, we would have loved a sport mode option.

Our only other nit was the lane activation system, which seemed a bit more intrusive and cumbersome than other new vehicles we have driven.

The new Pacifica starts at $28,995 and the top of the line Limited version we tested had a sticker price of $42,895.

Fuel mileage is rated at an impressive 19 MPG city and 28 MPG out on the highway. This gives the Pacifica a 532-mile range.

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Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
9/25/17 10:40 a.m.

First, watch yourself on that "3,600 pound towing capacity" that Chrysler loves to claim.  It realistically appears to be nothing more than a marketing lie, to one-up all the other vans with 'only' 3,500 pound towing capacities.  Per Chrysler, this is what is included with the "Trailer Tow Group":

The Class II receiver hitch available on the Chrysler Pacifica models is a weight-carrying hitch rated up to 3,500 pounds of Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight of 300 pounds.

Edit: The source for this info is wrong on the tongue weight...The current online owners manual does in fact state the expected 360 pounds.

 

Also, if you can sacrifice the towing capacity and stow-and-go 2nd row, the Hybrid has noticeably more comfortable and well bolstered 2nd row seats, gets appreciably better fuel economy (potentially using almost no gasoline for many people), ditches the ZF 9-speed that has generally been problematic for FCA and Honda, adds a 100k (150k in some states) mile drivetrain (including engine, motors, transmission, and batteries) warranty, and would ultimately cost thousands less (after tax incentives) than a comparably equipped gas powered model.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
9/25/17 10:02 p.m.

I don't care if Chrysler lies 100 lbs in either direction. I'm not going to weigh my load before towing anyway and i wouldn't be able to feel 100 lbs difference either way. 

 

Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
9/25/17 10:19 p.m.

In reply to Vigo :

Yeah, but then there's that whole tongue weight thing.  So now your advertised 3600 pounds, which is actually 3500 pounds, is realistically only 3000 pounds or less.  But hey, for people who are going to ignore such manufacturer recommendations (liabilities) anyways, what's 500 or more pounds between 'friends'?

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
9/26/17 8:10 a.m.

500 lbs is 2 fat guys in the back row of a Pacifica. So let's say you put 300 lbs tongue weight on the hitch of a Pacifica. Now you add the 500 lbs of fat guys in the rear seat. Is the rear suspension overloaded? We probably don't know because we don't know what's in the cargo area or the rest of the seats etc. There isn't enough resolution or specificity in tow ratings to account for the huge number of variables. That's why tow ratings are basically watered down to the abilities/liabilities of the weakest link in the system, which isn't a vehicle component but the stupidest imaginable yahoo driver who could walk back into the dealer and manage to cost FCA tons of money on warranty claims because he filled the back of his pacifica with bags of concrete AND put 300 lbs tongue weight on the hitch. And carried 7 passengers and towed a 3500 lb trailer. Through an off-road park, etc etc. CYA policy designed for worst-case scenarios, not reasonably intelligent people doing reasonable things.  

Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
9/26/17 12:16 p.m.

The issue is that a 300 pound tongue weight limit on a 3600 pound tow rating would indicate that a vehicle component (namely the unibody at the hitch interface) very well might be the weakest link in the system.  Shockingly (not really) though, it would also appear that there is some bad data out there on the internet as well.  In actually looking at the current online owners manual, it contradicts the previous information I had found, and does state 360 pound max tongue weight.  So if overlooking the extra 100 pound sack of dishonesty in their "best-in-class" claim, the potential safety concern does appear to be invalidated.

Advan046
Advan046 UltraDork
9/26/17 1:27 p.m.

I think there is a Pacifica in my family's future. It seems to hit all the marks. I won't be towing anything major just a bike hitch. I did a quick test drive and found it a nice improvement over my Kia Sedona. We will have to relearn how to store our stuff in the different configuration of a van. Interesting how you get so fixed in a habit of where you store things in various cubbies. 

The only issue is I wanted the Hybrid but darn Michigan government actually negates the tax benefits with special hybrid fees. That plus the cost quoted for the garage mounted charging station. Ugh! 

Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
9/26/17 2:08 p.m.
Advan046 said:

That plus the cost quoted for the garage mounted charging station. 

You don't have a 120V outlet in your garage?

Advan046
Advan046 UltraDork
10/13/17 11:00 p.m.
Driven5 said:
Advan046 said:

That plus the cost quoted for the garage mounted charging station. 

You don't have a 120V outlet in your garage?

Just the layout of the property and thus where I might park it actually makes it more viable to have an exterior pedestal installed and if doing that might as well go 220. Maybe that is going to far into the perfect wants versus sticking with the minimum needed setup.

I haven't fully dropped it off the list. Just had my initial interest dampened down. 

 

markwemple
markwemple UltraDork
10/14/17 9:54 a.m.

We looked at them, but honestly, I have NO faith in their build quality. Never met a Chrysler minivan in the ~35 years of their production, that had reasonable build quality.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
10/14/17 6:57 p.m.

I'm trying to think what my parents had to do to their last Caravan in the 250k before they traded it on Cash 4 Clunkers.. 

I'm thinking a belt tensioner, a belt... uhhh never an alternator, never a starter. Maybe a water pump? Oh i had to do a radiator.  

I rebuilt the trans (myself) with seals+clutches at ~205k because it was starting to get 'morning sickness'. Spent about $500 in parts and fluid etc and it was still working fine at 250k.  A lot of transmissions start acting funny due to rubber aging. Heck, my dad's original mitsubishi auto trans in his Diamante has been 'failing' for about 90k of the last 275k but i've been too lazy to fix it. But i mean what's the point replacing any of the original parts on a 275k-mile Mitsubishi. It was junk to begin with! wink When i'm putting the THIRD timing belt on it i'm drawing the line! Too maintenance intensive!

 

Jaynen
Jaynen SuperDork
10/14/17 8:40 p.m.

My odyssey seems to have issues with my 3300 trailer even with an aftermarket trans cooler. It doesn't feel unsafe or have any issues with controlling the trailer. It does bounce a little when the trailer goes over bumps but not bad. Unless I am doing it wrong. I always leave it in Drive but turn off the OD button so it says D3 on the dash so i would be real skeptical of any minivan towing ratings

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
10/14/17 9:08 p.m.
markwemple said:

We looked at them, but honestly, I have NO faith in their build quality. Never met a Chrysler minivan in the ~35 years of their production, that had reasonable build quality.

Serious question, what have you encountered?  We had a Voyager when I was in high school that seemed to be fine when rust got it too bad for PA inspection at 16 years and somewhere north of 250k with no major service.

Now that I'm on my own with a few kids and dogs, we have two 05 town and countries. With over 300k between them, they're both still young and seem fine other than routine maintenance.   The interior is even holding up to dog hauling and kid duty.  Rust is starting to eat the one that's lived in CT all it's life, but it's 13 years old at this point. 

Grizz
Grizz UberDork
10/14/17 9:59 p.m.

My mom has owned nothing but used Chrysler minivans in the last 15 years. I can't think of any actual issues with them beyond rust and stuff that will need replaced on everything.

Advan046
Advan046 UltraDork
10/15/17 8:57 p.m.

Chrysler is not all that bad. They suffer from the made in the USA stigma more than GM and Ford. Just as Toyota/Geo products came off the same assembly line but got vastly different reviews and ratings so have Chrysler products of the past gotten a poor rating more on name than actual performance. Plus unlike KIA which marched from low end consumer to middle and upper class customer base, Chrysler has been stuck with low to middle class customer base. My time in the warranty center as the power train engineer specialist taught me that enough Chrysler dealers and customers didn't care about destroying the name of Chrysler with shoddy maintenance. As in factory laser etched (maybe stamped) oil filter on a two year old engine that the dealer charged two years of maintenance on. And I saw about a dozen of those over two years from many different dealers. That was from an analysis of a small random sample of the warranty returns. 

 

The Pacifica is built in Canada and a decent culture of quality plant. Decent for a North American plant. The fit and finish won't be designed to be Lexus level but I don't want a Lexus level minivan cost either. They last, like any car, proportional to the care put into them. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/16/17 9:49 a.m.
WonkoTheSane said:
markwemple said:

We looked at them, but honestly, I have NO faith in their build quality. Never met a Chrysler minivan in the ~35 years of their production, that had reasonable build quality.

Serious question, what have you encountered?

Since 1992, I've never not owned a Mopar minivan, and while they are not flawless - what car is? - I have never had a problem with build quality at all.

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