The time has come: We’ve had our 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited long-term test vehicle for a year now, and it’s time to hand it back. But before we surrender our Pacifica — and its impressive practicality — back to Chrysler, we’re going to sum up our thoughts after spending a year behind the wheel.
The minivan we selected wasn’t cheap. In order to test out all the features, we chose a well-equipped version of the Pacifica Limited, which is the highest trim level in the model line. Although the base price of the Limited is around $43,000, our van — with options and shipping — came in just over $48,000. Big money, but in line with the top-end versions of rival vans like the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna.
During our year with the Pacifica, we really put it through its paces — school runs, airport pick-ups, road trips, transporting huge furniture and basically every other task you’d expect us to carry out when thoroughly testing a minivan. The result is that we have a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.
The biggest benefit of the Pacifica is simple: It’s just incredibly practical. Storage is one reason; we wrote, early on, that "there are plenty of storage options, including console bins, dash bins, pockets in the seats for headphones and remotes and door pockets," while also pointing out that the useful Stow ‘n Go seat bins can be used for storage when the seats are in place.
And it goes beyond in-cabin storage: This thing can haul. Our Tommy Flanagan took the Pacifica to a furniture store, and loaded up a 70-inch entertainment center in the back. "Surprisingly," Tommy noted, "it fit with a little room to spare." He added: "Honestly, it’s the most practical minivan we’ve had yet." We also like the low load floor (compared to a higher-riding SUV, for instance), which makes it easy to load items into the cargo area. And then there are the buttons to drop the third-row seats without even reaching inside and pulling a single lever.
And then, of course, there’s transporting actual people — the reason most people buy minivans. Our executive editor, Brian Moody, said that he transported family to the airport in the Pacifica, and even had to place some adults in the third row — and yet they never complained about the space. Meanwhile, our managing editor, Tara Trompeter, praised the second-row captain’s chairs for providing "a large space in between for easy access even with car seats installed." So the Pacifica has a lot of in-cabin storage; it has storage for larger items; and it can carry people. What more could you want?
You could want equipment — and the Pacifica has it. Before going through a list of the Pacifica’s high-end features, Tara noted that "it’s every bit as luxurious as some of the actual luxury vehicles we test-drive around here," further praising its "plush, two-toned leather with beautiful contrasting stitching" and the "ginormous 3-panel sunroof," among other things.
Meanwhile, our James Riswick went through the difference in equipment between the Touring L and the Limited — and while he noted that "the Pacifica’s excellence wasn’t dulled by going with one trim level down," his listing of equipment (ventilated seats, power-folding third row, rear vacuum cleaner, xenon headlights, navigation system, etc.) sure makes us want the Limited.
Another feature we like: the Pacifica’s styling. Tara wrote that the Pacifica "isn’t boxy" and praised its "curves and sleek lines," further noting that it’s the first minivan she feels like she’d ever consider — both because it’s practical and because it’s stylish.
A Few Drawbacks
When you spend a year with any vehicle, you’ll discover a few drawbacks — and the Pacifica is no exception. One is the Uconnect system. While this was formerly the best system in the business, the introduction of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have made it feel clunky and a bit complicated by comparison; Brian notes that he isn’t sold on Uconnect, and he prefers Apple CarPlay.
We’re also surprised to see the gearshift lever directly next to the Pacifica’s volume knob. Both items are the same size and they’re both located in relatively the same place within the driver’s reach — and we don’t find it inconceivable that someone could go to adjust the Pacifica’s stereo volume and end up moving the gear lever. We also noticed that the Pacifica’s 9-speed automatic has a slight tendency to hunt for gears, even on slight acceleration, though we’re primarily impressed with its responsiveness and smoothness.
Our conclusion: The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is a truly excellent minivan. It’s handsome; it’s practical; it’s great for carrying people, and — if you get the Limited version — it’s shockingly well equipped. We highly recommend it to any family and any shopper interested in one of the top vans on the market today. Find a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica for sale
Check out our 2017 Chrysler Pacifica New Car Review