2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Jun 15, 2017
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Report by Doug Stokes
Pictures by Harvey Schwartz
Frankly it’s not really the first thing that you’d expect to hear about in a driving impression of a high end, full size, eight-passenger minivan. But on the first drive and first application of a relatively good amount of gas pedal produces acceleration that’s far more sports car than soccer bus. Suffice it to say, this beautiful Chrysler Pacifica has the “beans” to really move out smartly and superior mid-range power that builds confidence by the mile.
While we’re at it (and this van is far from all motor) let’s talk about how seamless this engine and transmission combination is. Frankly I had to look under the hood and stare at the spec sheet to find out that this one has a very sophisticated 24-valve “Pentastar” V-6 with variable valve timing that makes 287 horsepower backed up by 262 lb. ft. of torque*.
Match that kind of power with a near perfect 9-speed automatic transmission and you have the official case book definition of “seamless”. But wait, keep reading, there’s much more than a great power combination here.
There’s something else about the Pacifica that most don’t always associate with vans and that’s the fact that this one, full size and fully functional as a van, is (and here’s a word that you don’t hear every day describing a van with three rows of seats) sleek. There’s a true sense of grace, this one seeming to present itself as something a bit more than simply an 8-person people hauler. The styling is subtle but quite pleasing.
By the way, this one has Chrysler’s very useful “flat floor” stow-away seats in the second and third row that will be great for all manner of lugging and/or schlepping stuff. I chose not to in this case. If I owned one of these (my shipping address is attached) the first thing that I would do was call the peeps at WeatherTech and see if they could make me a big old full van mat that would slip in to protect the insides when I was making use of this one’s cubic hauling capacity.
(On further review, if the stuff that I wanted to transport was the least bit dirty, smelly, greasy, or made up of large irregularly-shaped or heavy objects; I would do what we all do when faced with that sort of task … ask my neighbor to borrow her pickup truck for the afternoon.) This interior is just way too nice to beat up (period). That’s “Touring”, not “Trucking.”
And, just in case you have a long object (and LA Car will go on record here as NOT recommending this) there are large (push-button open and close) sliding doors on BOTH sides of this one, just right for a short hop to the thrift store (or the river, which ever come first) with that moth-eaten Persian your maiden aunt left you back in ’04 or ’05.
Handling in this one was calm, cool, collected and first rate (I almost said “for a van”). This Pacifica, while no Formula One car, was quite competent and a very stable and able machine under any of the “normal” driving conditions that I (normally) get involved in. I actually do “rattle the steering wheel” (sharply) and do a little hard-braking on a conveniently-located patch of fenced-off private asphalt near where I live in the San Gabriel Valley. The husky all-wheel disc brakes (see below) on the Pacifica were well up to anything (and, I'm sure much more) that I threw at it during my week’s worth of daily driving. "Stability control" systems are now standard on all new cars, but that does not mean that they all "work" (react really) in exactly the same way. The Chrysler system, while on guard, seemed fairly benign and (more importantly) progressive in action.
This Pacifica Touring L bottomed-lined at $36,880, right, that’s a pretty fair old chunk of change, and, as one might expect that number fetches a nicely-outfitted machine. Proving that point, the optional equipment tally (usually a fairly stout number) came in at a reasonable $2385 (fully $995 of which was that eternal bane of new car ownership the - - damn/dreaded - - “Destination Charge”**). I did not have a chance to test the ... er ...“Rainy Day Braking System” or the “Ready Alert Braking” preferring to rely on my own abilities (and sensibility).
The extras here were the 8-passenger seating ($495) and a premium audio group featuring not a 500 watt, but a full 506 watt amplifier and a baker’s dozen Alpine speakers located throughout the machine. That was only $895 and a bargain (I’d have to get at least a grand to hide that many hi-fi speakers in one van) in my book. There’s also the FCA “Uconnect” system that links just about every e-gadget that you can name to your Pacifica.
And, speaking of names, this one is named for Chrysler’s California advanced design studio which the company sold to Mercedes back in 2006. The design is said to be Cali-influenced, but fully-adaptable to either coast as well as a good deal of the land between.
This machine, like a number of the latest offerings from Chrysler, has a rotary dial located on the dashboard instead of a shift lever for selecting gears. It works OK, but I’m still out on it. It’s convenient and accurate but weird...
The EPA/DOT mileage (18 city/28 hwy) numbers on this one are just about what one should expect from a machine that punches a pretty big hole in the air. Of course that addictive blast of power that the aforementioned strong V-6 / 9-speed automatic transmission combination makes is going to cost a few mpg if used to wretched excess (which, of course, I did).
If I may, one more thing that you won’t often (or ever at all) hear about a van is the engine sound. This one, when pressed, emits a throaty howl that many Pacifica owners will be quite surprised that their beautiful van is making ... My guess is that they’ll not only get used to it, they’ll find reasons (merging into fast moving throughway traffic comes to mind) to ask their Pacifica’s muscular V-6 to make that sound from time to time ... and just because. Other than that this one is a very quiet rider with an active noise-cancellation system knocking out the gnarly stuff well before it gets to one’s shell-like ear.
Is $36,880 a lot of sack lunches? Yes. Is the Chrysler Pacifica worth skipping every other lunch at the club for? Same answer. -DS
*As regular readers of (my) reviews most likely know by now, when the quoted horsepower and torque numbers for an engine are within a few percentage points of each other, I always try to point out that the result is very satisfying. This Pacifica being a prime example of all of that and more.
**How about I just drop by your place and pick the car up?”
For more information about Chrysler products, go to chrysler.com.
Name of vehicle:
2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L
$36,880 (as tested)
EPA fuel economy rating:
18 city/28 highway miles per gallon
EPA vehicle size classification (based on actual passenger space)*:
* Passenger car classes are designated by the EPA based on interior volume index or seating capacity, except the ones classified as special vehicle. A two-seater is classified as a car with no more than two designated seating positions.