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Auto Show:  2016 Detroit Auto Show

2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Detroit Auto Show

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2016

What Is It?

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica replaces the brand's aging Town & Country, kicking off the sixth generation of the Chrysler minivan -- a lineage that began in the early 1980s. It offers new styling, new features and new powertrains in order to square off against highly popular minivan rivals, such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

On the outside, the Pacifica offers a completely new look compared to the outgoing Town & Country, touting a stylish front- and rear-end treatment that may be a selling point to some shoppers who are trying to decide between an SUV and a minivan. The interior is completely overhauled too, boasting several major changes compared to the current model -- including a more stylish design and improved materials.

Under the hood, the Pacifica offers two engine choices. Standard models use the brand's Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, which makes 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and mandatory front-wheel drive. More interesting is a newly available Pacifica Hybrid with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which offers 248 hp, 230 lb-ft of torque and a driving range of around 30 miles on electric power alone before the gasoline-powered V6 engine kicks in. It's the first hybrid minivan, likely an alluring prospect for shoppers interested in getting a few more miles per gallon out of their family hauler.

As for equipment, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica offers a lot of it, including Chrysler's 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, as well as the brand's Uconnect Theater with two 10-in touchscreen displays and a wide range of safety features, such as adaptive cruise control, an automated parking system, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and a 360-degree surround-view camera. The van also retains its famous Stow 'n Go Seating, which can fold flat into the floor for added cargo capacity.

How Much?

Although Chrysler has not yet announced pricing, we suspect the van will start close to the current model's base price of around $31,000 with shipping. Plug-in hybrid models will, of course, carry a hefty premium; we suspect those will be closer to $40,000 or more.

When Can You Get It?

Spring 2016 for the Pacifica and summer 2016 for the Pacifica Hybrid

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

If you've ever found minivans to be a bit uncool, the Pacifica might be the model for you. Not only does it offer a lot of technology and a powerful engine, but it also boasts impressive new styling inside and out. Even if this van is uncool by association with other minivans, it still offers a lot of major benefits, such as an available plug-in hybrid drivetrain, lots of safety features and a more modern design than rivals.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Honda Odyssey -- As the Chrysler Town & Country (and stablemate Dodge Grand Caravan) began losing ground to foreign rivals in the 2000s, the Honda Odyssey became the gold-standard minivan. It still holds that title, and it's worth a look for any shopper interested in a reliable, well-equipped new van.

2016 Kia Sedona -- The recently redesigned Kia Sedona is among our favorite new vans, touting a new look and a lot of modern features. If you can't wait for the Pacifica, it's certainly worth a look.

2016 Toyota Sienna -- The Sienna offers bold styling, along with a roomy interior and notorious dependability. As a bonus, the Sienna also offers all-wheel drive, but it doesn't have the Pacifica's plug-in hybrid variant -- or its modern design.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader