Which Pacifica does AMG CARS INC recommend?
If you’re looking to get a reasonable amount of equipment without draining your wallet, we recommend the Pacifica Touring L. This midgrade trim level comes with a multitude of appealing features, such as heated front seats, leather upholstery and retractable sunshades. It’s also eligible for optional upgrades such as the Premium Audio package and the Advanced SafetyTec package, which includes all sorts of safety equipment such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and an automated parking system.
The Chrysler Pacifica is an excellent example of the modern breed of minivan. As you’d probably expect, the Pacifica has plenty of space for you and your family. It comes standard with seating for seven passengers (an optional second-row bench increases seating to eight) and has enough room in back for some luggage, too. The Pacifica also has a full complement of safety features and a classy design both inside and out.
The Chrysler is a bit behind class leaders when it comes to cargo space, but that’s mostly by the numbers. Real-world storage is still very useful. One of the things that make the Pacifica so versatile is its patented Stow ‘n Go seats. The second and third row can fold quickly into the floor of the Pacifica, freeing up all sorts of cargo space in the back. And when you aren’t stowing the seats, there’s significant underseat storage. We like the Pacifica’s capable acceleration and handling, and when you get the optional towing package, it can tow up to 3,600 pounds.
Despite its virtues, the Pacifica does have competition. The freshly redesigned Honda Odyssey is an excellent vehicle with lots of seating tricks of its own. The Kia Sedona, meanwhile, is a more reasonably priced alternative for budget-conscious buyers. But no matter the competitor, the Pacifica is still an attractive minivan.
Chrysler Pacifica models
The Chrysler Pacifica comes in six main trim levels: L, LX, Touring Plus, Touring L, Touring L Plus and Limited. The naming can be a little confusing but, as expected, the more expensive the trim level, the more standard features you get. There’s also a Pacific Hybrid, which is reviewed separately.
Every Pacifica gets the same engine: a 3.6-liter V6 (287 horsepower, 262 pound-feet of torque) that sends power to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Seven-passenger seating is standard across the board, and eight-passenger seating is optional on all but the L model.
The base L trim level comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, keyless entry (for the driver door only) and ignition, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone climate control, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a 60/40-split folding third-row seat, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port and an auxiliary jack. Tri-zone climate control is available at an additional cost.
The Pacifica LX is equipped with alloy wheels, automatic headlights, body-colored exterior trim, a driver information display, an automatic engine stop-start system, an eight-way power driver seat (with four-way lumbar), tri-zone climate control and folding/collapsible second-row Stow ‘n Go seats.
Stepping up to the Touring Plus adds foglights, LED taillights, chrome exterior trim, full keyless entry, remote engine start, power-sliding rear doors, a power liftgate, automatic climate control, satellite radio and a charge-only USB port located in the front row. The 18-inch wheels can be ordered separately.
The next level up is the Touring L. Its standard features include an eight-way power passenger seat with power lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and second- and third-row retractable sunshades.
There are several packages available for the Touring L. The Premium Audio package adds a 13-speaker audio system and an 8.4-inch touchscreen with HD radio and two USB ports. The Advanced SafetyTec package (available on the Touring Plus and up) bundles automatic high-beam control, front parking sensors, a sound-reducing windshield, automatic wipers, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, an automated parking system, a top-down parking camera and a larger driver information display.
The upgraded driver info display and sound-reducing windshield are included with the Touring L Plus, along with a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, a third-row USB port, ambient lighting, the 8.4-inch touchscreen, navigation and the Alpine audio system.
All Touring models can be further equipped with 18-inch wheels.
The top-dog Limited comes with 18-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, LED foglights, auto-dimming exterior and rearview mirrors, power-folding mirrors, driver-seat memory settings, two sunroofs (panoramic for the first two rows and an additional fixed sunroof above the third row), ventilated front seats, premium leather upholstery, the hands-free liftgate and hands-free sliding doors, an in-vehicle vacuum cleaner, a second-row USB port and a power-folding third-row seat.
As loaded as it is, even the Limited can be bolstered with additional features. Available options include the Advanced SafetyTec package, a 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, an upgraded rear entertainment system with dual 10-inch seatback touchscreens, an HDMI input and a household-style power outlet. Twenty-inch wheels are sold as a stand-alone option.
By minivan standards, the Pacifica performs well. It handles better than average, with effective brakes and strong acceleration. It would get a better overall performance score if it weren’t for the frustrating nine-speed transmission and vague steering.
Off the line, the Pacifica feels a little sluggish and unresponsive, but with a heavy foot, it accelerates well. The 3.6-liter V6 is rated at 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 mph takes 7.7 seconds, which is pretty quick for the segment.
In regular driving, the brakes are easy to modulate with a short pedal travel and responsiveness, without being overly sensitive. In a simulated-panic stop from 60 mph, the Pacifica took just 119 feet, a short distance for a minivan.
The steering is well-weighted and effortlessly controllable with a good on-center feel, but it communicates very little about what the wheels are doing. However, in low road-grip situations, its steering feel helps bolster driver confidence.
Considering the Pacifica’s size (around 4,600 pounds), handling is decent. Body roll is limited, and it makes it around corners well, even if the steering doesn’t feel all that precise. Midcorner bumps are dispatched with few issues.
The ZF nine-speed transmission is tough to live with. It hunts for the right gear on uphill grades and in traffic. Downshifts take a noticeably long time, too. Cruise control sticks to a set speed and uses the brakes to regulate speed.
There’s a lot of comfort to be had in the Pacifica, but the seating position in the second and the third row can be a bit tight. The overly firm seat bolsters hurt the comfort score a bit, too. The ride, however, is smooth and calm.
All three rows have firm padding, so you might not find the seats to be quite as comfortable as those on other minivans. The second- and third-row seats recline but don’t slide forward or back for comfort. The second-row seats are just large enough for adults, while the third row is most suitable for kids.
The ride is comfortable, settled and seldom interrupted by small or large road imperfections. The optional 20-inch wheels make the ride a bit more sensitive to potholes and cracks in the road, but it’s not unbearable.
Noise & vibration
The V6 engine is relatively quiet, with minimal road noise and a low-pitch rumble under full throttle that isn’t unpleasant. There is a small amount of wind noise created by the sideview mirrors at highway speeds, though we detected some rattles on occasion.
Climate can be easily controlled through knobs and buttons on the dash or through the touchscreen. The A/C is effective in keeping the entire cabin cool on hot days. Three-zone climate control is standard on all but the base L.
Whether you’re making the daily commute or spending a long weekend on the highway, the inside of the Pacifica is a pleasant place to be. If you’re judging it strictly by the numbers, the Pacifica is marginally smaller than rivals, but it feels just as spacious as class leaders.
Ease of use
The controls inside the Pacifica are very intuitive to use. The buttons are large and within arm’s reach of the driver. The touchscreen controls are laid out well with frequently used commands available from the main home screen.
Getting in/getting out
The front-row seats are a bit high, but a low floor and high ceiling help out. The sliding rear passenger doors provide a generous opening to get in and out or load child seats, and there’s a large gap between the second-row seats to access the third row.
Finding a comfortable driving position is a cinch thanks to the highly adjustable front seats and a tilt-and-telescoping wheel. The steering wheel is on the large side and feels solid and hefty.
From the front seats, the Pacifica feels relatively large, with ample headroom and hiproom available. Legroom in the second and third rows, however, is just average. Competitors, including the Honda Odyssey and the Kia Sedona, beat it by a few inches.
The massive windows, big mirrors and clear lines of sight mean virtually zero blind spots. Blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera come standard, while a 360-degree surround-view camera is optional.
At first glance, the Pacifica presents an upscale vibe with nice soft-touch surfaces for your elbows. But upon closer inspection, things are less than perfect with crooked stitching on the steering wheel and door panels.
The Pacifica might not be the biggest vehicle in the class, but it only falls behind the leaders such as the Honda Odyssey by a few cubic feet. Stow ‘n Go seating is an excellent feature, and when the seats aren’t stowed, there’s ample storage underneath the floor.
The center console storage can accommodate large water bottles and a few snacks. You’ll find a lot of small pockets everywhere in the cabin. Cupholders, cubbies and magazine slots are all present. Got a million little things? They’ll all fit here.
The Pacifica is near the bottom of the class for cargo capacity with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row and 140 cubic feet with the rear rows folded. But the Stow ‘n Go seats provide serious versatility that makes up for the smaller overall volume.
Child safety seat accommodation
The rear sliding doors provide great access for loading car seats. Both the second and third rows offer two sets of LATCH anchors. And with the optional eight-passenger configuration, the second row has a top tether anchor in the center seat.
The maximum towing capacity for the Pacifica is 3,600 pounds, which is a marginal 100-pound advantage over the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna minivans.
Chrysler’s Uconnect is one of the easiest systems to use, with simple controls and an intuitive device interface. The 2018 and 2019 models are preferable to the 2017 model due to the upgraded hardware, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Audio & navigation
Uconnect is one of the best systems in the class. The controls are simple to understand with a convenient menu on the lower portion of the screen for main commands. Navigation info can be displayed on the center screen or within the gauge cluster for easy viewing.
Plug in, boot up and index music quickly via multiple USB ports (depending on trim). No problems connecting our devices via Bluetooth either. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and you can stream video from an Android device to the rear screens with the Uconnect Theater system.
Multiple driver aids are standard, while adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and a 360-degree camera are optional. The adaptive cruise control is overly sensitive at times, leaving a sizable following distance and braking hard for minor slowdowns in front of you.
The Pacifica comes standard with voice controls for audio, phone calls and voice text reply. The available 8.4-inch system adds Siri Eyes Free, which takes commands to play music, set reminders and access navigation.