“2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L-Plus”
Chrysler reinvents the miniivan with Ninth Generation
Following the creation of a brand new automotive segment more than 30 years ago by introducing the very first minivan, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has reinvented the minivan with the all-new ninth generation Chrysler Pacifica for 2017. The Pacifica emerges as an all-new platform to replace the outgoing premium Chrysler Town & Country minivan. It will bow initially with 5 levels of trim or distinctively different models in terms of content, which will be followed by a Hybrid version. The trim levels include: a base model LX that starts at $28,595, followed by the Touring which has a beginning price of $30,495; the Touring-L, starting at $34,495.; the Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus with a base sticker of $37,895; and the flagship Limited model which comes with all the bells and whistles and a beginning price tag of $42,495. Add a $995. Destination charge for each model.
To begin with, all models come in a FWD configuration, with the possibility of AWD being added later in production, with the exception of the Pacifica Hybrid, which will only be available in FWD.
Gasoline fueled Pacificas are powered by a front, transversely- mounted 3.6-liter Pentastar, DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine with sequential multiport electronic returnless fuel injection that makes 287 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, while also developing 262 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Energy is delivered to the front wheels through a TorqueFlite Nine-speed automatic transmission with rotary dial e- shift technology.
The Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid have been reengineered to deliver class-leading ride quality and handling characteristics along with reduced noise, vibration and harshness. and are set to revolutionize the minivan market with nearly 40 minivan firsts. To date, FCA US now lays claim to an unprecedented 115 significant minivan innovations.
Visually, the Pacifica delivers a sophisticated, sculptural exterior, with a bold athletic stance and aerodynamic profile that emphasizes an aggressive wheel to body proportion. Its long wheelbase, widened track and low ground clearance contribute to its sleek and futuristic image.
The Pacifica’s frontal view features the Chrysler brand’s contemporary face, with a graceful, flowing upper and lower grille. The slim upper grille flows smoothly into the headlamps, while the Chrysler wing logo floats within the mesh grille texture. The upper and lower grilles both have ribbon-like chrome accents that flow in tandem displaying a geometric balance and a premium appearance. A Mobius chrome strip cradles the available LED fog lamps and intertwine with the fog lamp housing and the lower grille.
The sculpted hood is robust with distinctive character lines leading the eye to the upper grille, and it shingles over for a clean, seamless appearance. The body-side sections are highlighted by an A-line that arcs gracefully from front to rear, tracing downward into the rear fascia and defining the rear quarter section.
The sculptural nature of the Pacifica’s body section with its lower surface character line, combined with the Aline and rear fascia surfacing, add to the Pacifica’s overall fluid-like surface that dances with layers of light from virtually every angle. A visually stretched daylight opening defines the upper canopy that is accented by a chrome surround, which, as it travels aft, thins and thickens as if drawn with a brush. The sliding door track lines are cleverly hidden beneath the rear-quarter side glass, resulting in virtually invisible tracks.
From the rear, the Pacifica’s fluid appearance becomes increasingly evident, with a roof that blends into a sculpted, integrated rear spoiler at the rear-most trailing edge. The rear-swept D-pillars accentuate the faster side and roof profile.
The rear liftgate glass is “tucked” into and offset from the D-pillars, with the liftgate glass integrated seamlessly into the tail lamps for a unified effect. As with the front fascia, the rear fascia projects simplicity and sculpture, with a minimized rear bumper shelf that helps to marry the liftgate and rear fascia. The rear fascia features an integrated black valance panel that includes rear reflex and a bright chrome horizontal detail to visually lighten the rear of the vehicle, enhancing Pacifica’s wide stance. Horizontally oriented tail lamps feature an LED “halo signature” with an even glow for a modern appearance. The tail lamps are integrated into the rear backlight and are extended outward.
Moving to the inside, which is designed with a horizontal theme, emphasizes the spaciousness of the vehicle, while mixing high-tech elements with a sculpted, flair. Outlets appear more formal, highlighted by a simple thinner chrome ring for a precise feel. Bezels feature a similarly weighted accent. Modern color and material trim combinations are highlighted by unique interior accents in the doors and instrument panel. These interior environments were inspired by various locations in the United States. The tone-on-tone control knobs in the center stack feature a spun finish, reminiscent of high-end audio equipment.
The Uconnect touchscreen – available as either a 5-inch or 8.4-inch – is set flush with the instrument panel for a clean, technical look. With a glossy screen surface that allows for higher contrast, the touchscreen feels futuristic and in line with other modern devices, like a tablet.
In daylight, the interior is all about beauty and sculpture, with the instrument panel’s defined, fluid surface at the center of it all. On upper trim levels, a stitched instrument panel adds an even higher touch of adornment. At night, the interior evokes a different emotion with a more high-tech look, with white lighting on buttons and the cluster display glowing with “Chrysler blue.” Other control elements also use blue lighting, versus the traditionally used amber, for a more cohesive and technical look.
The spacious interior delivers best-in-class front-row and third-row legroom, and an available tri-pane panoramic sunroof that adds to the feeling of openness, with a dual-pane panoramic sunroof over the front- and second-row seats and fixed glass pane over the third row. The HVAC controls are consolidated in the headliner, running cleanly along the rails. In the rear, the HVAC controls are on the passenger side headline – a thoughtful consideration.
Chrysler’s innovative Stow ‘n Go floor bins offer storage when the second-row seats are not stowed, and the enhanced Stow ‘n Go system features redesigned seats for added comfort and side support. The Stow ‘n Go process has been improved so that the seats fold smoothly forward into the tubs, while the addition of the all-new Stow ‘n Go Assist feature helps to further simplify the process. With the press of a button on the B-pillar, the front seat moves forward to allow the second-row seat to be stowed. Pressing the button again moves the front seat back to its starting position. In addition, the Easy Tilt second-row seats allow for easy access to the third row, even with an empty child seat installed in the second row. Seating delivers even more functionality with the addition of the available eight passenger seating. The lightweight, removable eighth-passenger seat fits in between the existing second-row seats and functions as a large second-row armrest with cupholders when not in use.
For quick cleanup, the Stow ‘n Vac integrated vacuum, powered by RIDGID, is the highest-powered in-vehicle vacuum in the market, and is located in the C-pillar trim area for easy access to all corners of the vehicle with a 14 foot hose and beyond with an available 14 foot extension hose.
For added convenience, the Hands-free liftgate and side doors open and close by passing a foot beneath.
The Uconnect Theater option Includes: 115-volt auxiliary power outlet, Active Noise Control System, 13 amplified speakers, three-channel wireless headphones, Blu-ray/DVD player/USB port, 506-watt amplifier, three-channel video remote control, high definition multimedia interface, 10-in. seatback video screens, third-row USB charge port and video USB port.
Safety and security abound in the new Pacifica, with helpful features such as: 360-degree Surround view camera with Bird’s eye perspective, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning Plus, LaneSense Departure Warning and an all-new KeySense programmable key fob.
My 2017 Chrysler Pacifica came in Touring L-Plus trim, featuring the rear entertainment system, tri panel sunroof and 18-inch wheels and tires. It was sprayed outside in a Velvet Red Pearl Coat and finished inside in Black and Alloy (Gray) tones. The base price was set at $37,895. While the final count and amount came to $43,445 after factoring in the Customer Preferred Package, with Hands-free sliding side doors and lifgate, the Advanced Safety Group with a complete suite of safety and convenience features , Keysense, Ucinnect 8.4 NAV system and Destination charge.
SUMMARY: The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L-Plus minivan delivers a luxury sedan-like ride, with comfortable and supportive seating, along with responsive damping. Acceleration is more than adequate with a broad torque range. The Pacifica delivers twice the torsional rigidity of the outgoing Town & Country for heightened stability. The transmission shifted smoothly, but on occasion, seemed superfluous and tended to hold some gears longer than necessary, and paddle shifters would have been a big plus.
There are so many creature comfort features included as standard fare in the new Pacifica that it is truly a marvel in family transportation, delivering what may well be the ultimate in functionality and versatility.
This latest iteration Pacifica is definitely not a “Soccer Mom” van of old, but a fully equipped adventure pod for the entire family and all their gear. EPA mileage estimates are 18-mpg city / 28-mpg highway. The Pacifica has a wealth of content and features to offer at affordable prices.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is built at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus
Base Price: $37,895.
Price as Tested: $43,445.
Engine Type and Size: 3.6-liter Pentastar, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with sequential multiport electronic returnless fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 287 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 262 @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: TorqueFlite Nine-speed automatic with rotary dial e-
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut, coil over gas- charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar with hydroformed steel perimeter cradle
Rear – Independent twist-blade with coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers with integrated rebound springs (gas engine models)
Brakes: Power assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with
ABS, ESC, Traction Control and Brake Assist.
Tires: Michelin Premier A/S 235/60 R18 mounted on silver painted 5-“Y”- spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 121.6 inches
Length Overall: 203.6 inches
Width: 79.6 inches
Height: 69.9 inches
Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs.
Turning Circle: 39.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 19.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.30
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.