2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Review
This is what it takes to be the best in the segmentNo Comments
The Pacifica is one of those vehicles from which you expect very little in terms of driving enjoyment. Minivan detractors would be wrong because it's actually surprisingly good for its size and purpose.
Ride Quality: The Pacifica's ride is very comfortable and refined without feeling completely numb and disconnected. It absorbs bumps and gaps incredibly well.
Acceleration: Despite the throttle lag, the V6's acceleration is strong and smooth hitting 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. It's a tad slower than the V6 versions of the Odyssey and the Sienna, but it's still feels quick. The 9-speed automatic shifts well, too.
Braking: Braking in the Pacifica is among the best in the segment, delivering very good numbers and progressive and firm pedal feel.
Steering: Steering in the Pacific is shockingly good for a minivan. Good effort and crisp turn-in feel rewarding in a segment that typicall lacks them.
Handling: The handling is really good in the Pacifica. Sure, you expect some body roll for something this big, but the Pacifica takes on turns very well with just a bit of understeer.
This is one of the Pacifica's strongest suits, and it does quite a bit really well. Our tester came with the Customer Preferred Package, which includes rear seat entertainment and upgraded sound. It's an excellent package that makes the most of the minivan experience.
Infotainment System: The 8.4-inch Uconnect system is vibrant, easy to use, and quick to respond. It's one of the best infotainment systems in the industry. The rear seat infotainment 10.1-inch touchscreens come with a Blu-ray DVD player, remote and headphones, and you can stream video to them, as well.
Controls: The infotainment control buttons are mostly on screen, but they are easy to understand and use. The large audio knobs and climate controls are also very easy to operate while driving.
We will never call a minivan sexy, but the Pacifica is about as close as it gets. It runs counter to the edgy new Honda Odyssey by providing smooth lines and curves in a fluid design.
Front: The same styling that didn't work for the Chrysler 200 sedan does wonders on the Pacifica probably due to its increased size and height. It's fluid and elegant. The lower fascia treatment is especially with conservative chrome.
Rear: The rear end is just ok to us. It's not especially dramatic, and the taillights don't seem to be as fetching as the nicely shaped headlights.
Profile: For a minivan, this angle looks great. The D-pillar is angled nicely, and the slightly sloped greenhouse adds sleekness.
Cabin: The interior is stunning with rich brown Nappa leather, and a handsome dash layout. Materials are excellent, and they both look and feel great.
This is where a minivan has to excel in order to be one of the best. It almost doesn't matter how good the rest of the vehicle is if comfort isn't superb. This is where the Pacifica nails it.
Front Seats: Some of the best front seats we've come across. Great support and cushioning with the addition of inner armrests. The heating and ventilation are also excellent.
Rear Seats: The 2nd-row captain's chairs are nearly as good as the front row. Your kids will never want to leave.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Pacifica is hushed and solid, even at highway speeds.
Visibility: Great visibility and driving position. The 360-camera helps negotiate the Pacifica's size, as well.
Climate: We love the 3-zone climate system that works incredibly well for all occupants.
The Pacifica isn't just family-friendly in terms of comfort and space, it's also supremely safe with excellent crash test ratings from both entities.
IIHS Rating: It hasn't been tested for 2018, but the same 2017 model nails the Top Safety Pick+ rating in crash tests.
NHTSA Rating: The Pacifica earns the top 5-star rating.
Standard Tech: Our tester came with a good set that includes ParkView rear backup camera, Blind Spot Monitoring & Rear Cross Path Detection, ParkSense Rear Park Assist with Stop
Optional Tech: The Advanced SafetyTec Group gives a lot for a grand: ParkSense Front Park Assist & Rear Park Assist w/ Stop, 360-Degree Surround View Camera System, Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go, full Speed Forward-Collision Warning Plus, Lane Departure Warning Plus, Rain Sensitive Windshield Wipers, Automatic High Beam Headlamp Control, and Advance Brake Assist. KeySense is brilliant for younger drivers because it limits speed, audio volume, and phone volume.
Minivans boast great storage, but the Pacifica does especially well thanks to the 2nd and 3rd row Stow 'n' Go seats that fold into the floor. The third row power seats are super-convenient, too.
Storage Space: There are plenty of storage spaces throughout, including a sliding door armrest and a deep floor tray between the two front seats.
Cargo Room: The 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row is great since the hold is deep and wide, and the 140.5 cubic feet with the seats folded is capacious. It's bigger than the new Odyssey but a tad smaller than the gargantuan Sienna.
With the thrusty V6, we were surpised the Pacifica did as well as it did with fuel efficiency. Minvans aren't exactly great at the pump, and our model wasn't the plug-in hybrid Pacific, but it still did pretty well.
Observed: 24.3 mpg
Distance Driven: 138 miles
Driving Factors: We pushed the Pacifica somewhat aggressively and combined our driving on local roads and freeway miles.
The monstrous 20-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system was excellent, and it was able to fill the huge cabin with rich, clear sound with healthy bass. It's worth the upgrade since you'll likely spend quite a bit of time in the Pacifica and will need to crank it up over the screaming kids.
Final Thoughts There's not much to criticize about the best minivan in the segment. This is no small feat, considering that the new Odyssey is much improved over its predecessor. The Pacific isn't just comfortable and full of features, its V6 engine is wonderful. We just wish the throttle response was better, but the engine is strong, and the transmission is well-paired. The Stow 'n Go seats are a marvel to use, and other minivans should follow suit. It's a family hauler of the best kind, and everything it offers should overshadow your initial embarrassment in buying a minivan in the first place.