2024 Chrysler Pacifica

  • February 13, 2024

Remember when practically every car company was selling minivans? Today, that’s all Chrysler still sells.

It’s also a nearly $62k minivan – in top-of-the-line Pinnacle trim – which makes it the most expensive minivan ever.

The good news – if you’re in the market for a Pacifica – is that you don’t have to spend anywhere near that sum to get into a Pacifica.

The bad news – for Chrysler – is that it’s hard to imagine maintaining a brand that has only one model left to sell.

What It Is

The Pacifica is a 7-8 passenger minivan (depending on the configuration) that’s available with – or without a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and with (or without) AWD – unless you want the hybrid, which is front-wheel-drive only.

Prices start at $38,425 for the base Touring trim, which comes with a third row bench, a standard 3.6 liter V6 and front wheel-drive.

From there, there are three additional non-hybrid trims, including Touring L ($42,085 to start) Limited ($49,355) and the Pinnacle ($55,015 to start).

There are also five plug-in hybrid trims, starting with the base Select ($52,495) and going up from there to the Pinnacle plug-in, which stickers for $61,225. This one comes standard with quilted Nappa leather upholstery and a suede headliner, a 19 speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, lumbar pillows for the second row captains’ chairs and individual LCD display rearseat entertainment system.

What’s New For 2024

The ’24 Pacifica carries over unchanged.

What’s Good

Still comes standard with a V6 (rivals such as the Toyota Sienna no longer offer one).

The only minivan available in plug-in hybrid configuration.

Slightly higher maximum tow rating (3,600 lbs.) than other minivans.

What’s Not So Good

Expensive, relative to rivals like the Kia Carnival (which stickers for just $33,600 to start).

If you want the hybrid, you lose the Stow n’ Go second row – as well as the ability to tow anything.

If Chrysler closes shop, the Pacifica will be orphaned.

Under The Hood

The Pacifica comes standard with a 3.6 liter V6 that makes 287 horsepower. It’s paired up with a nine speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive.

All-wheel-drive is available optionally.

Rival vans such as the Kia Carnival and Honda Odyssey also come standard with V6 engines (3.5 liters and 290/280 horsepower, respectively).

This is fascinating – as Mr. Spock might put it – because minivans are the last big-engined (relatively speaking) family vehicles still on the market. The majority of crossovers in this price range come standard with turbocharged fours now – as is also true of family sedans such as the just-updated Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, neither of which are even available with the V6 engines they both used to offer.

Minivans are going that way, too.

Toyota’s Sienna, for example, is no longer available with the V6 it used to come standard with. It has been replaced with a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a 2.5 liter four cylinder engine paired up with a battery/electric motor that shares responsibility for propelling the vehicle and powering accessories when the engine’s off.

Interestingly, the hybrid Sienna’s mileage – 36 MPG in both city and highway driving – isn’t spectacularly higher than the V6 Pacifica’s 19 city, 28 highway, which works out to just shy of 24 MPG on average. Yes, that’s still a 12 MPG difference. But it comes at the cost of power (the hybrid Sienna’s combo drivetrain only produces a total of 245 horsepower) and the potential cost, down the road, of having to replace the hybrid battery when it gets tired.

If you’d like higher mileage, the Pacifica hybrid offers it.

And it offers something else the hybrid Sienna doesn’t.

That being the capability to plug this Chrysler hybrid in – and drive for about 32 miles on battery power alone. That opens up the possibility of burning no gas at all if your trip there and back is less than about 32 miles – and you start your trip with a fully charged battery.

On the downside, the plug-in hybrid Pacifica only averages 30 MPG – 6 MPG less than the hybrid Sienna – and its starting price ($52,495) renders absurd any discussion of “saving money.”

Another nit as regards the plug-inversion of the Pacifica is that it is not available with all-wheel-drive, a feature many minivan buyers want.

The hybrid Sienna offers AWD with all the available trims.

On the other hand, both the Honda Odyssey and Kia Carnival are front-drive only and neither is available with a hybrid drivetrain, plug-in or otherwise.

You can also pull a trailer weighing up to 3,600 lbs. with a Pacifica, which is 100 lbs. more than the other minivans on the market are rated to pull. It’s a small but not insignificant difference in that it gives you a greater margin when towing say a 3,000 lb. load.

Unless you go with the hybrid – in which case Chrysler does not recommend towing anything at all. Probably because you’re already pulling the additional weight of the hybrid set-up, which includes a pair of electric motors in addition to the 16.0 KWh battery.

The hybrid weighs a chunky 5,010 lbs. vs. 4,521 lbs. for the non-hybrid. Also, the hybrid drivetrain offers less power (260 hp). More weight plus less power to pull it is why Chrysler does not advise pulling anything with this version of the Pacifica.

On The Road

Minivans have always been easier to drive than same-sized crossovers, which ride higher and (usually) have poorer outward visibility. Minivans like the Pacifica have excellent visibility on account of the large sheets of glass on all side and because their rear glass isn’t abruptly sloped, as it is in many crossovers.

This makes them easier to park accurately – and less likely you’ll hit something (or someone) you didn’t see because you couldn’t see it (or them).

But it is a minivan – and some people don’t want to be seen driving one. So they drive something else, even if it’s less practical.

Even if they can’t see as well while driving it.

Speaking of being seen. There is something to be said for not being seen. More finely, for being less noticeable – when you have a vehicle with an almost-300 horsepower V6 that is much quicker than it looks. It can get to 60 in just over 7 seconds, which may not sound all that quick relative to vehicles that can get to 60 in 5 seconds or less. The difference being the ones that can get to 50 in 5 seconds or less look like it – while the Pacifica doesn’t.

Put another way, you can make more use of the Pacifica’s power without it being as noticed. And if you are noticed, there is more plausible deniability when you’re driving a minivan than there is when you’re driving practically anything else.

The Pacifica also has all of the other attributes that – once upon a time – made minivans the family vehicles of choice: You don’t have to climb in to get in. You don’t need running boards to stand on to get in – or get down. The dual power sliding doors make it easy for everyone to get in – and out – without anyone needing to get out first, in order to let someone else get back in. The low step-in height and dual sliding doors also makes loading (and unloading) things a lot easier, too.

More about that follows below.

But minivans have changed in that they are now focused more on empty nesters who want a roomy, comfortable vehicle to road trip in. This is reflected in the pushing $40k cost (to start) prices of minivans such as the Pacifica and its main rivals as well as the luxury vehicle amenities these vans now offer, such as the Pacifica’s available quilted Nappa leather seats.

These are not meant for Cheetoh-eating, juice-box-spilling kids.

The ride reflects this new ethos, too. The Pacifica’s is just that. Pacific. Calm, quiet. Luxurious. Minivans were once basic family haulers (reflected in the price) that had basic (read: primitive) suspensions that were adequate for the task of carrying a bunch of kids around. But the experience wasn’t exactly posh – let alone luxurious.

It is, now.

Even more so, arguably, because of the standard V6 – which has gone from being something ho-hum ordinary five or so years ago to something almost exotic, as V12 were when V8s were once pretty commonplace.

At The Curb

It’s still a minivan, but the Pacifica tries hard to not look like minivans used to. It’s sleek rather than boxy without compromising the functionality that makes a minivan what it is.

At just over 203 inches long, the Pacifica has about the same footprint as a full-sized sedan but is vastly more practical – because it can carry up to eight people in three rows of seats and because even with all three of its rows occupied, it still can carry about twice as much cargo behind its third row, where there is 32.3 cubic feet of space available vs. the typical 15-16 cubic feet of cargo capacity in a full-sized sedan’s trunk.

The space available is also configurable to accommodate passengers or more cargo. By folding the second row into the floor you have 140.5 cubic feet of flat and open space to work with, which is space enough to carry things that most crossovers can’t – assuming you could manage to load them. This is much more difficult with crossovers because they’re higher off the ground. The Pacifica’s only about 5 inches off the ground, which makes it feasible to roll such things as a small motorcycle into the back.

Just try not to scuff the quilted Nappa leather.

The fact that even the base Touring trim comes standard with rain-sensing windshield wipers, three-zone climate control, a 10.1 inch LCD touchscreen, heated seats, a six speaker stereo with voice control, adaptive cruise control and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel conveys much about the transition of minivans from utilitarian family-haulers into the luxury road-trippers they have become.

Speaking of which. .  .

A Road Tripper package is available that includes towing upgrades plus a unique wheel/tire package and gray paint with orange accents. Touring L and Limited trims come standard with an in-vehicle vacuum, heated second tow captain’s chairs and a premium Alpine sound system. You can also select the available UConnect Theater package, which adds the dual-LCD screen monitors for the passengers.

Pinnacle versions of this Chrysler van can be compared with luxury sedans from Mercedes, BMW and the rest. In addition to the quilted Nappa leather seats, these ultimate minivans come standard with 19-or-20 speaker Harman Kardon ultra-premium audio systems and hands-free sliding doors plus most of the features that are optional on lower trims included as standard.

Of course, that all comes with a Mercedes and BMW-esque price tag.

It’s quite something to contemplate a minivan with an asking price just shy of $62k.

The Rest

The ’24 Pacifica hasn’t changed much since 2017, which was the model year when the current version came out. That’s seven years ago, which is a long time for any model to remain on the market without a major makeover. If there is a ’25 Pacifica, expect major changes, including the likely replacement of the currently standard V6 with a standard hybrid-electric set-up fo some kind, probably with a small four cylinder engine in lieu of the current V6.

The Bottom Line

This may not only be your last chance to get a Pacifica with a V6. It may be your last chance to get a Chrysler.

. . .

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