If anything can convince Americans that minivans have a future, it has to be the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. And that’s no small task for even the company that popularized the term.
While the Chrysler Town & Country had a loyal following, Chrysler thought it was necessary to start from scratch. Unlike another founding member of the people mover class, the Renault Espace, the Pacifica is unashamedly a minivan and hasn’t taken a turn down the crossover route.
Power sliding doors, a floor that’s flat when all of the seats are folded away, a place for every cup or gadget – this is what minivans are about and Chrysler gets it. The Pacifica is practicality first.
Still, it’s hard not to be attracted to the exterior in some way. The detailing is impressive inside and out. It may be too chromed and swoopy for some people, but at least there was effort made here. And it doesn’t look like any minivan on sale today, even if it does remind me a little of the Espace.
Yet you have to respect the Pacifica for exploring new heights of luxury convenience features. The sliding doors open with the wave of your foot. The second-row seats collapse and hide away with one motion. And then there’s the hybrid that has a 30 mile electric-only range, which will be exactly what most parents will need shuttling to and from the elementary school.
It’s not like the rest of the segment is sitting still, though. The Kia Sedona went on sale last year and there’s a new Honda Odyssey due this year. But Chrysler is staking its claim on the minivan market with the Pacifica. They know it’s their bread-and-butter vehicle and realized they needed a new recipe.
Photos: Zac Estrada / Carscoops