Best Minivan: Chrysler Pacifica

The driving is done, the votes are in, and the scores have been tabulated and weighted for maximum consumer relevance. Now, after extensive assessment of every minivan on the market, our jury of more than 20 automotive experts have declared a winner, and that winner is the Chrysler Pacifica.

It’s no short order to convert the impressions of our experts into a scoring system designed to offer shoppers our take on the very best minivans today. We start by examining the contenders from the perspective of an in-market shopper – including full testing and comparison of all currently available minivan models available today.

After input from our team of expert automotive reviewers, the Chrysler Pacifica emerged as the best minivan for Canadian buyers.

Its win starts with high marks for Overall Excellence, or its ability to set a new standard or benchmark and deliver a package that goes above and beyond. With its excellent road manners, award-winning interior, bevy of advanced safety and connectivity features, and available Plug-In Hybrid powertrain, Pacifica earned top praise here.

The Pacifica scored high for value, too. It’s not the cheapest – some are downright pricey – but the upscale drive, features and styling are your rewards for spending the money, and you’ll feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Some luxury-branded crossovers aren’t as posh or roomy as this minivan.

In the Innovation category, the Pacifica fought competition with extensive feature content and design touches that call on decades of experience in minivans. Drivers get advanced safety, comfort and entertainment systems that are sure to satisfy families for years to come. The Pacifica is also the only minivan on the scene available as a plug-in hybrid, which can get many Canadians off of gasoline for their daily commuting. This segment-exclusive (and possibly segment-changing) technology is among the Pacifica’s most innovative.

The Pacifica’s connectivity and safety features also earned top praise in the Technology and Features category. With a connected rear-seat entertainment console, abundant charging provisions, and the latest in smartphone connectivity built in, the Pacifica is a family hauler that makes it easy to stay connected while on the move.

Engineering Excellence and Driver Satisfaction rank heavily in the Minivan category as well – and the Pacifica earned great scores for its blending of confident and comfortable road manners, easy-to-use features and tech, and advanced features that demonstrate extra attention to ease of use, even for the first-time user.

Our Design scoring considers elements of the vehicle’s cabin, body, and functional elements, and how well these work with one another. With its award-winning cabin, distinctively upscale body, and an abundance of clever touches to bolster flexibility, the Pacifica best puts design to work for the enjoyment of your family, and it does so in a clever way.

“Not all the useful features are geared toward road-tripping, clearly,” said contributor and family man Michael Bettencourt. “There are also a few unique features of the ‘surprise and delight’ variety. Easily the most impressive of these is one shared with that much-less-expensive Grand Caravan: the Stow ‘n’ Go seats. These second-row seats can be folded away into a well under the floor when you really want to maximize cargo room.”

This ties into the Pacifica’s strong score for Quality, as well: not only easy on the eyes, but the Pacifica also feels the part of a sturdy, upscale and high-end product. The highly refined drive is relaxing, and there’s a dense and durable feel to most interior components. Extensive use of high-grade materials throughout the cabin combine with a playful use of colour and texture to dial up the appeal.

As Bettencourt explained, “the quality of materials, the design of the large 8.4-inch Uconnect screen and infotainment system, and even the feel of the leather on the seats and heated steering wheel exudes a sense of quality.”

Safety is heavily weighted in the minivan category, and the Pacifica came out on top with no less than 100 standard or available safety features, and the highest crash test scores in the business. Sensor-fusion technology powers the latest hazard-detection systems to back drivers up at all times.

The Pacifica’s proven 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission form a responsive and thrifty powertrain. Drivers get pleasing and efficient performance, and the available Plug-In Hybrid model takes efficiency to a minivan first – with its ability to handle most shorter drives as a completely electric vehicle.

The Pacifica’s secret sauce lies in its ability to make shoppers question why anyone would want an SUV over this practical vehicle. It’s designed well, is safe, efficient, and has a compelling blend of in-demand technologies and features.

Runners up in this category included the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona, and the Dodge Grand Caravan. These are all great minivans, but the Chrysler Pacifica best embodies what our experts think represents the segment the best.