Reviews

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Driving Impressions


Chrysler Pacifica’s structure is all new, and distinctly more robust than that of the outgoing Town & Country; the suspension has been refined; and the engineering team expended a lot of effort on making this the most civilized minivan going. However, civilized does not necessarily mean fun to drive.

The Pacifica is responsive, with adequate power from its updated Pentastar V6 engine, and the 9-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator. But all of these traits have limits, limits you’d expect of a large front-drive vehicle whose dynamic development priority was comfort. Understeer is easily achieved in any cornering activity that resembles haste, passing performance on two-lane highways takes a little longer than one might like, the electric power steering could be a little more informative, and the transmission hunts up and down a little too much in hilly driving.

But all those traits could also be ascribed to any number of SUVs, and the Pacifica excels in dynamics important to the all-around family mission: excellent ride quality without going too squishy and quiet interior at any speed on any surface. This is a pleasant place for a family to be as the miles slide by, especially when the Pacifica is equipped with the rear seat entertainment system.

We can’t comment on the behavior of the hybrid version, since our first drive was confined to the standard gasoline edition. The hybrid comes along later. But we anticipate that its behavior will be similar, with the addition of pure electric propulsion and exceptional fuel economy.

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