2021 Chrysler Pacifica
More than 35 years ago, Chrysler invented what we know today as the minivan, and at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show the company premiered the latest version of its minivan offering, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica. Minivans may not be incredibly popular among car shoppers — who typically prefer the styling and capability of the crossover — but the Pacifica offers better people- and cargo-carrying capability than practically any crossover, and for 2021 Chrysler adds the utility of all-wheel drive.
The results of its first refresh since its introduction in 2017, the Pacifica gets a new face designed to give the minivan more of a sport-utility feel. The primary grille is much larger than the previous version, while the lower grille mimics the style of the upper. Headlights are all new and incorporate a new LED running light style. LED headlights are standard on all versions of the 2021 Pacifica. LED taillights are also standard and run the width of the Pacifica.
Intent on offering capabilities similar to those of popular crossovers, and in response to customer demands, the 2021 Pacifica will be offered with all-wheel drive for the first time. The advanced all-wheel system features a rear-drive module and a three-piece driveshaft with a power transfer unit that splits the torque from the nine-speed automatic transmission. The seamless system requires no driver interaction, and it can transfer up to 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels. When the all-wheel-drive system isn’t needed, the rear drive is completely disconnected for improved fuel efficiency.
Stow n’ Go
Chrysler designed the AWD system so it doesn’t interfere with one of the Pacifica’s top features: Stow n’ Go seats. Both rear seat rows can still be folded into the floor for easy conversion to a large, flat cargo space. The AWD system is only available on the standard Pacifica; the Pacifica Hybrid will not get all-wheel drive — at least for now.
AWD Available Now
In a surprising move, Chrysler will offer the current 2020 Pacifica with the new all-wheel drive system. The Pacifica AWD Launch Edition will be in showrooms this summer, prior to the arrival of the new 2021 model.
The 2021 Pacifica will also introduce the latest version of FCA’s infotainment system called Uconnect. Uconnect 5 will be standard on the new Pacifica, with its centerpiece being an all-new 10.1-inch touchscreen intelligently integrated into the dashboard. Five times faster than the previous version, Uconnect 5 is built on the Android Auto operating system and offers a long list of innovations.
The new Uconnect 5 system can be customized for up to six user profiles and not only includes music preferences but also preloads temperature settings, seating position and mirror placement. With card-based screens, each user can also create a custom home screen that highlights preferred features. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included, and phones can now be connected wirelessly — one of the first in the industry to offer this capability. The system can also manage two Bluetooth phone connections simultaneously.
With Uconnect 5 the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica features Alexa integration, allowing customers to interact with the vehicle as they would with Alexa at home. This means the car can be unlocked or started from home with Alexa commands, while in the car the tens of thousands of Alexa skills are available, including adding to shopping lists or listening to predefined song lists.
The new Pacifica also has up to 12 USB ports — a mixture of both Type A and Type C, the latter able to charge devices up to four times faster. Also available is the new FamCam, which gives the driver a high-definition view of rear-seat passengers, including a zoom capability. The FamCam also provides a view of a rear-facing child seat.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica’s Uconnect Theater with its dual 10.1 seatback touchscreens adds to its nine games with additional offerings that include chess, backgammon and Concentration.
Chrysler loads the updated Pacifica with the latest high-tech safety features, all of which are standard across the entire lineup. These include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, adaptive cruise control with full stop, and lane-departure warning.
The 2021 Pacifica also gets an infusion of luxury with an all-new trim, aptly named Pinnacle. Standing out from the rest of the lineup, the Pacifica Pinnacle features a Satin Carbon grille with Platinum Chrome trim all around. But the interior of the Pinnacle really sets it apart.
With an elegant Caramel and Piano Black color theme, the interior of the 2021 Pacifica Pinnacle features Nappa leather seats with quilted side bolsters and perforated seat inserts found in all three rows. Seats also get piping and stitching in a contrasting Light Tungsten. The second-row captain’s chairs also get a unique feature: matching lumbar pillows embossed with the Chrysler logo. A full-length black suede headliner and high-end Berber floormats complete the upscale look.
Plenty of Storage
The Pinnacle gets equipped with the Ultra center console, which nicely integrates with the center console and acts as armrest for the two front seats. Dual-level storage as well as a large pass-through beneath the console provide an impressive amount of covered storage space.
Pacifica continues to be available with the 287-horsepower Pentastar V6 engine, or with the innovative plug-in hybrid system delivering more than 30 miles of electric-only driving.
The updated 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is expected to arrive at showrooms in fall 2020. Pricing will be released closer to the on-sale date.