2017 Chrysler Pacifica Long-Term Test (2023)

From the April 2018 issue of Car and Driver.

Here’s what happens when the fob to a new minivan gets tossed into the key party that is the Car and Driver fleet: 28 staffers take turns packing in their slobbering pets, gooey-fingered kids, and various friends and neighbors for a flurry of schlepping and errand running. Just the thought of all the spills, spittle, crumbs, and dander is enough to have us reach reflexively for a disinfecting wipe. As we have learned, the minivan is the vehicle type most likely among the long-term fleet to smell like sweaty feet.

With a new name, comprehensive interior and exterior upgrades, and a host of added features, the new-for-2017 Pacifica is a boon for the sliding-door shuttle at a time when it’s up against a tide of swelling crossover demand. This is Chrysler’s sixth generation of the superlative kid hauler, which has never been quicker, better-looking, or more fuel efficient, and we promptly awarded it Best Van on our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list. Impressively, the new van managed to shed some weight in its redesign while getting substantially stiffer and acing NHTSA and IIHS crash tests. Other than the new plug-in-hybrid variant, there’s just one Pacifica powertrain: a 287-hp 3.6-liter V-6 coupled to a nine-speed ZF automatic. Although the V-6 propels the Pacifica to a low-seven-second zero-to-60-mph time and emits a pleasant snarl when being whaled on, there’s occasionally an untoward grittiness that comes through at modest engine speed.

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With its three touchscreens, sensible menu structures, and clear graphics, Chrysler's infotainment game is strong. Also, kid-engaging games. Yay!

We opted for the $38,890 Touring-L Plus trim, one short of the top Limited model and the cheapest way to get the new dual-touchscreen Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system. To that we added $4875 in options: 18-inch wheels, a trailer hitch, navigation, and the $1995 bundle of driver-assist features (it’s $1000 cheaper for 2018) that includes the well-sorted adaptive-cruise-control system that works all the way down to a stop, a 360-degree surround-view camera, and automatic wipers and high-beams. We grumbled as we ticked the box for the $295 inflatable mini spare, as we have a philosophical issue with carmakers charging for a spare on a family hauler, particularly one not wearing run-flat tires. Our slight modesty meant going without the Limited trim’s niceties, such as a panoramic sunroof, a power-folding third row, kick-under-to-open sliding doors, and the built-in vacuum (which—aargh—eliminates the spare-tire option). But really the only feature we missed was the high-intensity-discharge headlamps, as there were numerous complaints among the staff regarding inadequate illumination on rural roads. In IIHS’s testing, these halogen units scored “poor,” the lowest of its four ratings.

Since the 2005 model year, the Stow ’n Go fold-into-the-floor second-row bucket seats have been the Chrysler minivan’s exclusive and headlining feature. In this latest evolution, the seats are far more comfortable than before, and they kneel forward to grant access to the third row in a manner that allows a child seat to remain secured in place. Plus, there’s a button on the B-pillar that powers each front seat out of the way for even easier stowing and going. When the underfloor bins aren’t holding the seats, they provide large additional stash spaces. All that said, these flexible buckets are still notably flatter and firmer than the nonstowable second-row seats in competing vans, and they don’t have any fore-and-aft or side-to-side adjustability.

“It’s capable of sedating otherwise restless children for hours on end. It’s in this arena, and in cargo- and passenger-space utility, that the Pacifica shines most.”
—Josh Jacquot, Reviews Editor

The pack-everything space, configurable seven-passenger seating, hushed and luxurious interior, straight highway tracking, and commanding view ahead—its downward visibility is more than 10 percent better than the Honda Odyssey's by our measurements—make the Pacifica an excellent accumulator of miles. And sure enough, we road-tripped south to Georgia and Florida, west to Wisconsin and Iowa, and even farther west to Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho. At its best, our Velvet Red Pearl van covered as many as 500 miles per tank and averaged as high as 29 mpg, even when pushing 80 mph. On our 200-mile highway test loop, which we run at a steady 75 mph, the Chrysler achieved 31 mpg, beating the Toyota and Honda minivans and even topping the 25 MPGe of its plug-in-hybrid sibling.

On the open road, the Pacifica got regular accolades for its rear-seat entertainment; its eight built-in games (including word and math games, the license-plate game, checkers, and solitaire) proved universally mesmerizing to our children, which is saying something in an era where new humans are issued their own sophisticated electronic devices closer and closer to a successful exit from the birth canal. And the Pacifica’s dual 10.1-inch screens—each given its own designated USB and HDMI ports—are superior to the single-screen setups found in the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. In all, there are six USB ports in the Pacifica, twice that of what the top Odyssey offers. Of course, we had some beefs, too: Why does it require a four-step process to get the DVD audio to play over the vehicle’s speakers? And the 3G Wi-Fi was insufficient to accommodate streaming video (Chrysler has added 4G for 2018).

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Until we got an electronic nudge from it one morning, we didn’t realize that the Uconnect infotainment system was capable of over-the-air updates. Twenty minutes later, the download was complete, although we can’t say we noticed any substantial changes. We wish the lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility—a gripe we had with the otherwise excellent system—could be as easily remedied on 2017 models like ours.

On our mountainous, out-west haul, we logged our biggest complaint: the nine-speed auto’s reluctance to downshift, combined with its lack of manual control. Ascending steep grades became a perpetual death spiral of gear hunting. The transmission’s initial reluctance to downshift meant that as we kept adding throttle, the first downshift we’d get was often a two-gear kickdown, at which point the Pacifica would start rapidly gaining speed (after all, it doesn’t lack for power). Backing off to prevent exceeding the intended velocity initiates the process all over again. Overall, this ubiquitous transmission shifted more smoothly here than in other applications, but as 40,000 miles approached, it would bobble the occasional low-speed downshift when coasting to a stop.

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We think the Pacifica is easily the best-looking minivan on the market. We also think that paying extra ($295) for a spare tire on a family vehicle is bunk.

Although the Odyssey steers with more precision, and we’d prefer a bit more body control out of the Pacifica, the Chrysler minivan shocked most drivers with its penchant for corners. The 18-inch Michelin Premier A/S tires far outperform their 17- and 20-inch alternatives, helping our Pacifica cling to the skidpad at 0.87 g and stop from 70 mph in 164 feet, figures on par with those of our long-term E46-generation 2001 BMW M3, which was nearly 1000 pounds lighter. How’s that for a reminder of the major gains in tire performance in recent years? Not surprisingly, with about two-thirds of their tread worn away at the end of our test, the magic Michelins did even better, pulling 0.89 g. And although the van’s stability control can’t be completely switched off, we tip our hat to whoever spent time dialing in unobtrusive max-lat runs. This puts the Pacifica at the upper echelon of cornering performance for anything with three rows, just off the 0.91 g posted by the $126,295 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 4MATIC on summer tires.

The Pacifica’s oil changes are dictated by the trip computer, and they seemed to align almost exactly with the 10,000-mile maximum recommended interval. Those four stops, which each included a tire rotation and the usual inspections, plus a cabin air filter at 20K and 40K miles, and an engine air filter at 30K miles, ranged from $86 to $168, for a total service cost of $572. Not bad. But stay vigilant, people: Our dealer neglected to replace the engine air filter and also missed a tire rotation until we pointed out both.

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(Video) One year later: The Chrysler Pacifica was everything we needed

Our only unscheduled stop was to fix a creaking noise that manifested when accelerating from rest; it was remedied by lubricating the front door hinges and seals. One small annoyance our dealer couldn’t solve: Sometimes after a remote start, the Pacifica’s HVAC system would default to its coldest setting rather than the previously set temperature; it turns out that blasting icy air is rather counterproductive to warming the cabin.

As our test was drawing to a close and we were getting ready to celebrate the Pacifica’s nearly trouble-free record, we noticed paint bubbling on both outside edges of the hood. Although the repair would be covered under the five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty, rust appearing in just 12 months is certainly disconcerting. As was the lack of surprise at this by a local body shop.

Still, the Pacifica left us with a good taste, if not a good smell. But its excellence isn’t reflected in its residual value. According to ALG, a two-year-old example showing 30,000 miles is worth but 48 percent of the original sticker price, whereas an equivalent Odyssey retains 68 percent. That works out to a nearly $10,000 spread, which makes the Pacifica an especially good value in the used market. But you’ll probably want to find one that wasn’t shared among more than two dozen people.

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For all their practicality, Stow 'n Go seats were not always very comfortable as, you know, seats. But Chrysler has made the new versions much cushier.

Rants & Raves

“I’d rather drive this than pretty much any three-row crossover.” —Joseph Capparella

“My passenger kept trying to turn the shift knob rather than the volume knob, which is located just beside it.” —Erik Johnson

“There are clever, useful touches everywhere, from the gloss and grain on the interior surfaces to the crisp gauge cluster and the huge pop-out bin in the center stack.” —Rich Ceppos

“It’s essentially a rolling living room and much better equipped than my own living room, which has no TV and only two power outlets.” —Annie White

“A rock-star road-tripper.” —Rusty Blackwell

“There’s no sign that this van is poorly constructed. Just the opposite, in fact.” —Josh Jacquot

“Retrieving a water heater was no problem with Stow ’n Go seats: I folded one side of the second and third rows and in it went. And I still had seats for my wife and two kids.” —Rusty Blackwell

“Can’t pair a phone, see the Wi-Fi password, or enter a destination in the navigation system while the vehicle is moving. This is madness!” —Luke Sellenraad

“The touchscreen is quick to respond, clearly organized, and most important, placed within easy reach of the driver. My only real complaint over the three-day weekend was the subpar headlights. They don’t generate enough light for rural Michigan at night.” —Joseph Capparella

“The radio comes on with every restart, even though it was muted before. And the floor covering/carpet-esque material is to dust, lint, and hair what an electromagnet is to iron.” —Rich Ceppos

WHAT WE LIKE: Even after 11 months and more than 30,000 miles, we’re finding new reasons to exercise the Pacifica’s ability for rapid-fire configuration changes. A spontaneous furniture purchase at a big-box store? Carrying a bicycle in back and unexpectedly have to give a couple of friends a ride? Need to haul a face cord of firewood plus three kids? All of these scenarios presented themselves recently, and the Pacifica ably handled each of them, as we simply folded some combination of the third-row split bench or the second-row Stow ’n Go buckets into the floor, a trick no other automaker’s minivan can perform. Our Pacifica also continues to generate high marks for how comfortable, quiet, and reliable it has been. Indeed, we’ve had zero major issues in our 34,000 miles to date and have barely encountered anything minor, either. The Pacifica’s Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system, with its twin 10.1-inch touchscreens, gets regular accolades for its ability to sedate otherwise restless children for hours on end, no doubt a key reason why this van has accumulated miles so rapidly.

“It’s in this arena, and in cargo/passenger space utility, that the Pacifica shines most. The kids watched movies and played games, and they were thrilled to do so. A fantastic solution to the Midwest’s never-ending, straight, flat expressways,” said reviews editor Josh Jacquot. The games built into the two rear-entertainment screens also pacified a passel of inebriated adults on the way back from a Detroit Red Wings game, although given the level of noise emanating from the rear of the cabin, the designated driver wasn’t convinced this in any way reduced driver distraction.

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WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The carpet covering the Pacifica’s floor seems to attract dirt, lint, and hair with an almost magnetic pull, making it nearly impossible to vacuum it to a satisfactory level of cleanliness. A visit to mountainous western states revealed a failing of the nine-speed automatic: its lack of manual shift control. When the driver attempts to maintain consistent speed up steep grades, the transmission waits for so much throttle before granting a downshift that once it finally does select a lower gear, it often jumps down two ratios instead of one. At that point, the van gains speed so rapidly (this is not a lack-of-power problem) that the driver must lift to avoid blowing right through the desired speed, which causes the transmission to upshift twice, right back to where it started, repeating the spiral of gear hunting. Descending mountains isn’t much better, as low range (the Pacifica’s only forward selection other than drive—and its sole solution for requesting a lower gear) keeps the engine near redline and doesn’t offer the more precise manual control that every other minivan possesses (including the Pacifica’s Dodge-badged predecessor, the Grand Caravan, which is still being sold). Also on this western road trip, the 80-mph speed limits combined with 30-mph wind gusts had us wishing for more body control as our loaded-down Pacifica uncomfortably moved around on its suspension and was prone to being upset by frost heaves and other pavement imperfections.

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(Video) Our long-term 2017 Chrysler Pacifica crosses the 20,000-mile mark

WHAT WENT WRONG: The only noteworthy development is a creaking noise that accompanies light braking and also initial acceleration from a dead stop, and it is something we’re going to have looked at during our next service visit. Other than that, a slow leak that developed in the left-rear tire—no doubt due to a sharp object that we ran over—was plugged for $20 at our local tire shop. We also pitted for the Pacifica’s 30,000-mile service, which cost $151 for an oil change, a tire rotation, and an engine air filter. But the Pacifica is speeding toward the end of our 40,000-mile test with perfect reliability and extremely few issues, a circumstance that seems to be getting rarer and rarer in today’s gizmo-packed vehicles.

WHERE WE WENT: Jacquot wins the longest-trip award, with a 3700-mile doozy across Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho, where the Pacifica was stuffed full: two adults, two kids, two bikes on the back, and two weeks’ worth of luggage. Our in-demand van also revisited Wisconsin, this time to support a photo shoot at Road America, and the Pacifica endured many more weekend jaunts “Up North,” which is Michigan-speak for pretty much anywhere at a higher latitude than Detroit. Other than that, our Pacifica keeps on keeping on doing the things that it does best: the daily grind of running errands involving large objects and/or large groups of people.

Months in Fleet: 11 months Current Mileage: 34,446 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 22 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.0 gal Fuel Range: 420 miles
Service: $404 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $20

WHAT WE LIKE: While the latest Chrysler Pacifica minivan is practical, functional, and fuel efficient—and even resists stereotypes by being dynamically sound and aesthetically pleasing—the topic of most interest among potential buyers seems to be reliability. Swiftly reaching the halfway point of our 40,000-mile test, our Pacifica is perpetually active, in demand for trips near and far, and skillful at hauling cargo both sentient and otherwise. It’s also adept at switching between those transporting extremes with its fold-into-the-floor seats. Thus far, it’s been completely reliable, too, pausing only for routine service at 10,000 and 20,000 miles. The only issues, which we’ve already mentioned in previous updates, have been inconsequential: A plastic clip broke the first time we removed the panel that conceals the spare tire, and sometimes during a remote start the climate-control temperature setting annoyingly defaults to its coldest setting, which certainly works against attempts to prewarm the cabin.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: Although the adaptive cruise control works as well as any, and it’s easy to switch back to standard cruise control when desired, the Pacifica often surges forward with far too much power when a gap in traffic opens, then quickly ramps the power back down when it realizes it wasn’t needed to reach the set speed. We’ve also had reports of front-seat passengers mistakenly grabbing for the rotary shift knob when intending to adjust the radio volume, and we don’t like that the navigation system won’t display both the remaining distance and arrival time concurrently. Or that the Wi-Fi password can’t be viewed while the vehicle is moving.

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WHAT WENT WRONG: Nada. We stopped for that 20,000-mile regular service just ahead of an adventurous staffer’s departure for two weeks of close-proximity family bonding on a trip to Wyoming and Idaho. This service included the replacement of the cabin air filter in addition to an oil-and-filter change, a tire rotation, and various inspections, which is why it cost more ($167) than our first stop ($86).

WHERE WE WENT: Back-to-back 1200-mile round-trip treks from Ann Arbor, Michigan, down to Virginia International Raceway for our annual Lightning Lap track blowout (this year’s story coming soon!), where it served tirelessly in thankless but vital logistics and photography duties and then repeated the voyage the following week after we got rained out. Besides the journey to Idaho, the Chrysler also headed over to Wisconsin and regularly crisscrosses the state of Michigan for weekend getaways—we’ll probably never eradicate every last grain of sand that it has collected from area beaches—and its cargo hold has devoured everything from bicycles to water heaters. Since our last update, we’ve also driven and tested the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey, the Pacifica’s fiercest competitor. The Pacifica narrowly took the victory in a recent comparison test, but an Odyssey has since joined the long-term fleet for a long-haul showdown between these two superlative minivans. The Honda’s presence has not appreciably diminished demand for the Chrysler—it is summer-vacation season, after all.

Months in Fleet: 7 months Current Mileage: 20,151 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 22 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.0 gal Fuel Range: 410 miles
Service: $253 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0

WHAT WE LIKE: This latest Chrysler minivan’s overall design and execution. Of course, we appreciate its practical attributes, too: the commanding forward visibility, the various cubby-storage locations, the fold-in-the-floor second-row Stow ’n Go bucket seats, that each of its seven seats can comfortably accommodate adults, and that the large cargo area behind the third row can swallow a dozen carry-on-sized suitcases.

But practicality is practically a given for a minivan, and Chrysler got far more than just that right. There are well-executed details such as the grain and gloss levels on the interior trim that impart a more upscale appearance. And, as we pointed out after our initial test, the Pacifica is dynamically ordained, with astute steering plus cornering and braking metrics that better almost anything with three rows. It also rides well and is comprehensively hushed at speed, both in terms of wind-noise suppression and isolation over coarse road surfaces. In addition to all of the foregoing, we’ve stretched tanks of fuel as far as 500 miles while averaging as high as 29 mpg. Partially enabling the long runs are the rear-seat entertainment system with dual 10.0-inch touchscreens, which have proven to woo the wee ones. Summing up all of this goodness in a sentence in the logbook, associate online editor Joseph Capparella writes: “I’d rather drive this than pretty much any three-row crossover.”

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WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: First off, that the old Dodge Grand Caravan continues to sell at a 40-percent-faster rate than the vastly superior but more expensive Pacifica. In terms of the Pacifica itself, we’ve found the halogen headlights to be lacking during rural night driving. So did the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which gave them a “poor” rating, the lowest possible, in its relatively new illumination testing. The top-spec Pacifica Limited gets HIDs, which we wish were available on lesser trims; those score an “acceptable” rating from IIHS. Those of us who have logged the most miles have reported achy outer thighs after resting them against the relatively firm seat sculpting for more than three or four hours in the saddle. We think the bottom cushion should be more plush, especially on a vehicle that is so suited to long hauls. There is also a slight interstaff divide between Stow ’n Go devotees and those who would prefer nonfoldable middle-row seats that are wider, cushier, and even more comfortable for adults.

When we duck under the open rear liftgate to press the power-close button in the cargo area, the system waits just long enough before responding that it seems likely that it didn’t register, so we press it again. We suppose it’s giving us time to get out of the way, but it would make more sense to locate the button in the more typical location at the base of the liftgate itself.

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A review these days wouldn’t be complete without some infotainment-related gripes, and we have a few, including that a navigation destination can’t be entered through the touchscreen while the van is moving. If any vehicle is likely to have a right-seat passenger managing the navigation system, it’s a minivan. The in-car Wi-Fi is only 3G capable, which erased our visions of streaming video to the second-row screens via Google Chromecast or Roku. All third-row riders above the age of five or so point out that there’s only one USB port back there. We’ve also had complaints about zooming past an intended channel with the ultra-low-effort tuning knob. And the controls for the heated seats and steering wheel are buried in the touchscreen (although they are helpfully accessible on the welcome screen temporarily just after startup). We do appreciate that the steering wheel gets legitimately and satisfyingly hot, though, not just the lawyer-approved lukewarm that’s so prevalent.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Nothing of substance. We did visit the dealer for the first scheduled service at 9900 miles, which consisted of fresh 0W-20 oil and a filter along with a tire rotation, all for $86. We have noticed one odd glitch that we’ll investigate during a later service stop: Sometimes during a remote start, the climate control automatically sets itself to its LO setting and remains there even after the driver has pushed the start button from inside the vehicle. Not so bad for the summer months, but when the intention of using the remote-start feature is to warm the cabin, entering an icy hurricane is not, well, cool.

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(Video) HUGE MISTAKE? Wife's new Chrysler Pacifica Limited!

WHERE WE WENT: The longest venture thus far was when a family of five joined the practical-vehicle parade that is I-75 southbound during Michigan’s spring-break week. They logged 2500 miles, which included stops in the Hilton Head, South Carolina, area as well as a jaunt down to Saint Augustine, Florida. There also have been three separate weekend journeys to northern Michigan for activities ranging from downhill skiing to a gentlemen’s woodsy weekend outing. But, no matter the mission, all travelers have returned spouting Pacifica superlatives.

Months in Fleet: 4 months Current Mileage: 10,895 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 22 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.0 gal Fuel Range: 410 miles
Service: $86 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0

After an effort that drifted perilously close to indifference with its previous, fifth-generation minivans, Chrysler revived the Pacifica nameplate and attached it to a sixth-gen model that drips with the confidence of a company that created the segment. This van’s new-from-the-ground-up platform is substantially lighter—aluminum sliding doors and a magnesium-and-aluminum liftgate help it shed a couple hundred pounds—far more aerodynamic, feature rich, and gracefully good-looking. To be the lightest in its class is particularly impressive considering the Pacifica also aces NHTSA and IIHS crash tests, although its smallish door pockets—the Toyota Sienna’s are twice as large—are likely due to side-impact optimization. And the platform’s additional stiffness and first ever independent rear suspension have worked wonders for its dynamic performance. Duly impressed, we named it the Best Van in our 2017 10Best Trucks and SUVs competition and then promptly ordered one for a 40,000-mile long-haul test.

Aside from the Pacifica hybrid, which is the first plug-in-hybrid minivan for the U.S. market—how’s that for coming back swinging?—there are no powertrain choices. All Pacificas are front-wheel drive and powered by the latest 287-hp Pentastar V-6, which is replete with efficiency tweaks such as two-step variable intake-valve lift, cooled exhaust-gas recirculation, and a compression ratio increased to 11.3:1, although the engine hasn’t yet made the switch to direct fuel injection. Starting in January 2017, all Pacificas now have stop-start capability, boosting their EPA ratings by a single city mpg to a best-in-class 19/28 city/highway. Our car was built just before the switchover point and keeps its engine simmering while stopped; it thus is rated at 18/28 mpg.

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With no indication of gear state and no way to manually select gears other than a generic L position on the rotary shift knob—which provides early downshifts and engine braking—Pacifica drivers may not know that it’s a nine-speed automatic doing the shifting. Although when starting off on a cold morning, upshifts are notably long and lazy, overall the nine-speed in this long-term Pacifica shifts much more smoothly than in earlier Pacifica test vehicles—or our long-term Honda Pilot, which shares this transmission—so clearly there was some fruitful last-minute fiddling.

How We Did Spec It

In our dance with the configurator and the Pacifica’s five available trim levels (four of which carry over from the outgoing Town & Country), we leapt past the base $30,090 LX, the $32,090 Touring (adds passive entry and power sliding doors), and the $36,090 Touring-L (leather seating, power liftgate, heated front seats, three-zone automatic climate control) to the $39,390 Touring-L Plus, as it’s the least expensive way to get the new Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment. (Oddly, this is a $1995 option on the more expensive Limited model.) Although lesser trims offer an optional single-screen rear-seat entertainment system, Uconnect Theater features two 10-inch touchscreens that flip up from the back of the front seats. In addition to the usual DVD capability, there’s an HDMI port for each screen and kid-friendly built-in apps and games such as bingo, checkers, the license-plate game, and tic-tac-toe, which can be played against your traveling companion, as well as an “Are We There Yet?” app that keeps rear-seat riders informed of progress toward an entered navigation destination. The Touring-L Plus model also includes the larger, 8.4-inch Uconnect screen up front—a system we generally find easy to use and one of the quickest-responding touchscreens we’ve tested—a larger display screen in the instrument cluster, a power seat for the front passenger, and a heated steering wheel and second-row seats.

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We quickly spent all of the $4600 saved by stopping short of the top Limited trim (which includes a panoramic sunroof, hands-free sliding doors and liftgate, a built-in vacuum, and ventilated front seats) in options. The most expensive line item was the $1995 Advanced SafetyTec group, a bundle of driver-assist features that includes adaptive cruise control that operates all the way down to a stop (we also appreciate that it’s easy to switch between regular and adaptive cruise), a 360-degree video feed to ease maneuvering, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, automated emergency braking, automatic activation for wipers and high-beams, and an automated parking feature. We also opted for the $995 Class II trailer hitch to enable maximum cargo and recreational flexibility, $895 for 18-inch wheels and tires, and $695 to add navigation to the Uconnect system. Perhaps most important, we also added $295 for an inflatable mini spare, something that we strongly believe should be standard, particularly on a vehicle that doesn’t wear run-flat tires. We suspect that Pacifica owners who are introduced to this tire strategy while stranded on the side of the road will wholeheartedly concur. Another spare-tire snag is that the available built-in vacuum (Limited only) resides in the same space and therefore can’t co-exist with the spare.

From among the nine exterior colors, we selected the deep red paint—Chrysler calls it Velvet Red Pearl—and went with the light-taupe seats, which, along with black and various copper accents, create a bright and striking multi-tone interior. Wisely, Chrysler pairs the light interior with black carpeting, which should show less grime, although the plastic doorsill trim matches the seats and may be tough to keep clean.

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Numbers Game

We’ve now tested Pacificas on each of its three wheel sizes—17s, 18s, and 20s—and these 18-inch Michelin Premier A/S tires turned in a shockingly strong performance that dominates the other two, stopping in 164 feet from 70 mph (13 feet and 23 feet better than the 20-inch Falkens and the 17-inch Yokohamas, respectively) and hanging on for a very impressive 0.87 g while cornering (better by 0.04 and 0.09 g). Not that long ago, in the early 2000s, this was BMW M3­­–grade chassis performance. Seriously. And this van is on all-season tires, no less. And the stability control was intervening before we hit the actual grip limit. Among today’s fleet, the Pacifica will no longer be nipping at the heels of an M3 on an autocross, but it’s in the upper echelons among three-row vehicles, outperforming everything but a few fringe outliers, such as the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 (0.91 g). Acceleration times, including a 7.3-second zero-to-60-mph scoot, are in line with our previous Pacifica tests and are at the quick end of the minivan segment.

Chrysler remains alone in providing second-row seats that tuck away into the floor (called Stow ’n Go), although this means the seats themselves are flatter and thinner than the best non-stowable alternatives. (If rear comfort for adults is a priority, you’ll want to take a long look at a Honda Odyssey, which also has more third-row legroom.) Even when the seats aren’t folded, however, the underfloor bins provide useful additional storage; one of them easily swallowed a case of bottled water and a sleeping bag to support a weekend of camping, for example. Accessing them does require sliding the front seats very far forward, but that task is made easier by the Pacifica’s new Stow ’n Go Assist feature, which consists of buttons at the base of the B-pillars that power the seats out of the way; a second push returns a front seat to its previous location. Those regularly lugging small children appreciate that the second-row buckets for the first time kneel forward to allow third-row access in a manner that doesn’t alter the angle between backrest and cushion, thus allowing a child seat to remain mounted in place during the process.

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(Video) 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan with half a million miles. Cold start and test run.

Early Impressions

We’re definitely appreciating the Pacifica’s quiet-at-speed demeanor—our interior-noise measurement of 68 decibels at 70 mph puts it at the quiet end of the three-row pack—thanks in part to standard active noise cancellation. And at those highway cruising speeds, we’re seeing impressive fuel economy that is pushing 30 mpg. (Our 21-mpg running average to date will no doubt improve as we take more road trips.) Although we’re perfectly fine with the light snarl in the V-6’s voice when it is pressed, occasionally an unwanted warble shines through at low rpm when driven gently.

We wish the Pacifica’s third-generation Uconnect infotainment had Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, features that were added to the 2017 Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger and Challenger as part of a fourth-gen Uconnect upgrade that will no doubt migrate to the Pacifica in the very near future. Although the rear-seat entertainment has proved very adept at distracting young riders, we’ve noted annoyance with the four-step process involved to play the audio from a DVD over the vehicle’s speakers, as well as the need for a USB device to be plugged into the front port in order to play on the rear screens.

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Our lone minuscule problem thus far happened when we removed the rear access panel to take a peek at the spare tire and one of the plastic locking tabs snapped off. Oil-change intervals are dictated by the onboard computer, and it’s looking as if our first one will be requested a bit before 10,000 miles. The first scheduled-maintenance visit happens at 20,000. Until then, we’ll be behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel, heaping on the miles in pursuit of all things practical.

Welcome, Pacifica. And welcome back, Chrysler.

Months in Fleet: 2 months Current Mileage: 5250 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 21 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.0 gal Fuel Range: 390 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0



2017 Chrysler Pacifica

front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door van

$43,765 (base price: $38,890)

DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
220 in3, 3605 cm3
287 hp @ 6400 rpm
262 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

9-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 121.6 in
Length: 203.8 in
Width: 79.6 in
Height: 70.0 in
Passenger volume: 165 ft3
Cargo volume: 32 ft3
Curb weight: 4515 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 7.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 20.4 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 25.9 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 7.7 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 4.0 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 6.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.6 sec @ 90 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 110 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 164 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.87 g

Zero to 60 mph: 7.2 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 19.3 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 24.4 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 7.4 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 4.0 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 5.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.6 sec @ 91 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 110 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 169 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.89 g

Observed: 22 mpg

Combined/city/highway: 22/18/28 mpg

3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper;
5 years/60,000 miles powertrain;
5 years/unlimited miles corrosion protection;
3 years/60,000 miles roadside assistance

c/d testing explained


How reliable is Chrysler Pacifica long term? ›

Is the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Reliable? The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica has a predicted reliability score of 67 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

How many miles will a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica last? ›

A well-maintained 2017 Chrysler Pacifica may last around 200,000 miles, which is about 100,000 miles less than the top-rated Toyota Sienna. Regular annual maintenance costs are higher than other minivans, according to data from Repair Pal, at $478 per year.

Is the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica a reliable vehicle? ›

How Reliable Is the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica? The 2017 Pacifica has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

What are common problems with 2017 Chrysler Pacifica? ›

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Problems Worth Knowing About
  • Intermittent electrical shorts.
  • Premature battery failure.
  • Transmission shift quality issues.
  • Power sliding door problems.
Jan 26, 2021

Which is better Odyssey or Pacifica? ›

Pricing is comparable, but Pacifica has an edge in horsepower and offers powertrain options not found on Odyssey. The Honda counters with generous safety and technology features.

Does the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica have transmission problems? ›

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has more than 800 owner complaints registered with the NHTSA, and more than half are related to the powertrain. Among these reports, transmission problems are the most common issue. Owners have dealt with rough, late shifts accompanied by loud bangs.


1. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica | Long Term Update
2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica | Long Term Update
3. Brake Light Change on Chrysler Pacifica 2017-2019
(Auto Learn)
4. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica | Long Term Update
5. Introducing Roadshow's long-term 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
(CNET Cars)
6. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Review and Road Test - DETAILED in 4K UHD!
(Alex on Autos)


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