2020 Chrysler Pacifica – Review – Minivans can be COOL!

Introduced in 2016 for the 2017 model year, the Pacifica has sold over 400 thousand of these minivans in the US alone. It was named Best minivan from Motorweek and cars.com. Car and Driver gave it the 10best truck and SUV and the Automobile journalist association of Canada awarded the Pacifica as Canadian utility vehicle of the year. So there’s no doubt the Pacifica has made a big impact on the Van market however in 2020 there are only 6 minivans left on sale. And 3 of them are from FCA.

So let’s take a look at the 2020 model before the brand new refreshed 2021 model gets released, which is Chrysler’s case sometime very soon. They already released all the information and specification of the new van. It does look good with the updated front end, back, and interior bits. But the 2020 model isn’t all that bad, best yet I’m sure you can pick one up with a hefty discount. 

Looks-wise the Pacifica closely resembles the Chrysler 200, yes that 4 door sedan that just didn’t sell too well. But it’s still a nice van overall. The fluid lines stretch along the face and sides. The grille moves neatly to the headlamps. Accent lines start from the bottom of the front bumper up and over the fender and on the strong shoulder line. Parallel to that the beltline stretches across the handles and over the rear wheels. Unlike minivans of the past, the sliding rail is neatly integrated just below the rear glass to make things a bit more seamless. Around back we have big bold taillights and a curvaceous rear window. It’s a fluid design, and it works well as an inoffensive minivan.   

I must admit the 2021’s taillights just looks better, kinda reminds me of a Charger or a Genesis. As for the front I kinda like the 2020 variant more, the fluid lines flow better than the flatter grill that the 2021 model gets. 

But as it is a minivan what matters is the inside, kick the under the rear bumper and the tailgate whirls up revealing 32.3 cu ft, fold the third row into the floor and we get 87.5 if we tumble the 2nd row down we get 140.5. Big enough to haul your Costco, IKEA and Home Depot run all at once.

Kick under the sliding doors and we can easily access the cabin. As said the seats can tumble out of the way, introduced on the Caravan back in 2005 Chrysler is still the only manufacture that can hide away the 2nd-row seats. There are compromises, the 2nd row may not be as plush as some competitors that offer extended cushions or the ability to slide the seats fore and aft but it’s still a really good trade-off if you’re going to utilizing the interior space. 

Unlike most SUVs, the 3rd row is more than enough for adults to sit comfortably even during long trips, and getting it is easy as well as the 2nd-row lifts and folds forward so you don’t have to compromise on the seating capacity. Or make anyone jump in and over the 2nd row. For parents, if there are car seats mounted to the 2nd row the seat can still lift and move forward without the removal of the child seat. On the topic of child seats the 8-seat configuration Pacifica comes with a total of 5 LATCH anchors 2 at the 3rd row and 3 across the 2nd row. 

As for comfort, the Pacifica packs a lot of goodies it all we have available heated and ventilated front seats. Second-row passengers also get heated seats, rolling curtains to block out the sun, two 10” screens mounted behind the front row, and even glass above all three rows. However, the spec that we have here doesn’t include all of those features. This Limited trim is where most buyers would find themselves if they’re not looking to spend all of their money on options alone.

As for the front row or I guess the bridge of the USS Pacifica we have a bright cluster with two simple analog dials for our tach and speed and a programmable display in the centre that can fuel consumption and more. If this cluster seems familiar to you that’s because it was used in the Chrysler 200. In fact, there are other items that are shared as well. In the centre of the dash as standard, we get a 7” display but optionally we can get this larger 8.4” touchscreen backed by FCA’s Uconnect system. It works well, has all the features one would need like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a very good built-in navigation unit. For those who want a bit more sound in their van, there’s an optional 13 speaker 506 watts Alpine sound system.

The only downside to this cabin is the shifter, this large rotary shifter is fine for shifting gears but’s too close to being a big volume button and the last thing you want to do during driving is shift out of gear. That said, for most owners, this shouldn’t be a problem after a while as muscle memory does take over. 

Speaking of the shifter it’s connected to a 9-speed automatic and a 3.6L Pentastar v6. This V6 is used in everything from Jeeps to Chargers and it’s a great engine. It puts out 287 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque which is plenty for this van to hustle to 60mph in 7.3 seconds. It’s no sports car but it has more than enough power to haul your family and toys as the Pacifica can tow up to 3600lbs. 

Those of you who want a bit more economy can opt for the plug-in-hybrid variant which can get about 30 miles of electrical range from its 16kWh lithium battery before starting the V6. If you are looking at the hybrid version the 2nd-row stow n go is omitted due to the space occupied by the van’s battery. 

On the road, the Pacifica is hush and confident. As said it’s no sports car but what it does is haul your family and friends very well. Cabin noise is kept to a minimum even though you’re basically traveling in a cylinder the engineers at FCA have done some remarkable work. Brakes feel strong and steering while numb and pretty vague does what it needs to do. 

Overall in terms of features and looks, the Pacifica is a clear winner. It has all the features that a family would need and space for the family to grow. Priced at from $34,378 Cad to $48,121 Cad for the range-topper it’s certainly an investment however if you don’t require all the bells and whistles you can opt for the base model or in the US they simply call it the Voyager which is basically a Pacifica but stripped of some of its toys and you can get one of those for under 27k USD.