Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 Pacifica emerges as the ultimate minivan

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – How did the Chrysler Pacifica emerge from the middle of the pack to suddenly become the minivan of choice of auto reviewers from coast to coast?

I think I have the answer: The automaker that invented the minivan segment took everything it learned over more than 30 years and packed the best of all of it into the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.

You name it, the Pacifica has it, and it can be had in hybrid form as well.

My tester was the 2017 Limited version, priced at $42,495 to start and wearing $48,280 on the bottom line of the super-loaded version that I drove.

Yes, that's pricey. But this is the ultimate minivan.  Where to begin to cover all that it has?

Well, for starters, it’s undoubtedly a minivan.  Chrysler did not go out of the galaxy and try to style an over-the-top, Star Wars-like family hauler that can accommodate up to eight.  The Pacifica is simply a nicely styled, sleek minivan that looks good parked in any driveway.

My ride had the responsive 3.6-liter, V-6 engine with variable-valve timing and an advertised 287 horsepower.  Linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission, this power plant does an admirable job on freeways (70 miles per hour cruises are bank vault-quiet), city streets and twisty mountain roads (uphill and down).

Fuel mileage is a strong 28 miles per gallon on the highway and an OK 18 mpg in the city.  Those are pretty fair numbers in the minivan segment.

Interior space is cavernous. Yes, it can swallow an 8-by-4-foot sheet of plywood.

Chrysler touts 37 “minivan firsts” on this Pacifica, and while I was not keeping count, I was blown away by the blizzard of consumer-pleasing features.

There’s the Stow ’n Vac integrated vacuum system, the tri-pane panoramic sunroof, the hands-free sliding doors and liftgate (let your feet do the work), the Stow ’n Go seating that enables you to fold the rear seats for more cargo room, the seatback video screens, the wireless headphones, the heated front/second-row seats and on and on and on …

Safety and driving-enhancement systems include a 360-degree Surround View camera, a parallel/perpendicular parking-assist system, hill-start assist, adaptive cruise control and much, much more.

Essentially, the Pacifica is a Hail Mary pass in a vehicle segment that some wrote off as dying just a few years back.  If any vehicle can restore the minivan segment to its once-lofty heights, the Pacifica is it.  It's that formidable.

The Pacifica gets A grades across the board.  If it’s within your budget and frequent road trips with plentiful passengers are your passion, this is your minivan.

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