Car News

Chrysler Puts a New Name and Face on its Minivan, Meet the Pacifica

Chrysler today introduced its next-generation minivan to the media at Detroit's North American International Auto Show, reviving the Pacifica nameplate and adding a hybrid option.

As the name suggests, the latest minivan from the segment's inventor is built on a new platform boasting an independent rear suspension, a weight reduction of more than 113 kg (250 pounds), and active noise cancellation Chrysler says contributes to the quietest interior in the segment.

The latest generation of Chrysler's 3.6L "Pentastar" V6 lives behind the Chrysler 200-inspired grille, generating 287 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, making Pacifica the most powerful minivan going. It also boasts the most gear ratios, adopting the nine-speed automatic already used in the 200 sedan and Cherokee SUV, among others.

The same engine is used in a new plug-in hybrid powertrain that uses a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery that stores enough juice to provide up to 48 km of electric-only range and an equivalent fuel consumption rating of 2.9Le/100 km in city driving. That battery lives in the floor, where the folding second-row seats would go; power gets to the road via an electrically-variable transmission with two built-in motors, both of which can drive the front wheels.

All of the above are among a claimed 37 "segment innovations" Chrysler says make the Pacifica the most advanced minivan ever. Available kit includes handsfree power liftgate and sliding doors, redesigned second-row 'Stow 'N Go' seating, a built-in vacuum (which Honda did first, in its Odyssey), triple-pane sunroof, and a Harmon-Kardon stereo. Among available high-features is a rear seat entertainment setup that includes an "are-we-there-yet" app that--just as it sounds--answers the question asked by seatbelt-bound children everywhere, since the beginning of time.

Other standard and available safety stuff includes parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and hold, forward collision warning with active braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, rear park assist with stop, back-up camera, electronic stability controlm and electric park brake.

An all-new body structure using high-strength steel boosts structural rigidity, and Chrysler says the Pacifica is the only minivan with LATCH child seat anchors in five seating positions.

Gas-powered Pacifica models roll into dealerships this spring in four trims, while a pair of PHEV variants are set to arrive in the second half of the year.