2018 Chrysler Pacifica
A minivan that you can plug into the wall? That would have been unfathomable just a few years ago. Since Chrysler rebranded the popular Town & Country line of minivans in 2017, however, that has changed. The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica represents the latest edition of the minivan’s current generation that is bringing a much-needed update to what we consider the traditional minivan to be. This time, the company is giving customers a variety of options to go along with a solid, safe platform that provides plenty of passenger and cargo space.
The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica is a luxury minivan starting with a base price of $26,995. Divided into three primary trims, most of the major differences and upgrades are safety and convenience features dispersed throughout the interior and exterior of the vehicle. It all starts with the gasoline-only transmission option, capable of 287 horsepower or the hybrid plugin version with 260 horsepower. With a fuel economy of 17/29 or 32/33 MPG (gas/hybrid), the minivan also manages to maximize each fuel tank for families feeling the crunch of gas prices.
Chrysler has also gone the extra mile with the 2018 version by offering a lot of updates to the standard and optional features available with the Pacifica. The infotainment system is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so additional functionality is gained from connecting your smartphone to the vehicle. Onboard Wifi and a 4G LTE data connection will also keep the minivan connected to the outside world regardless of where you are driving.
29 MPG Highway
As a minivan, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica offers many features geared towards families and small children that typical sedans and SUVs often lack. Since the presence of kids adds unique challenges in terms of safety and convenience, the Pacifica includes many of these features in their lower trims so all customers have options without paying the premium price tag of the higher trims.
Safety-wise, the Chrysler wins high marks for its combination of intelligent design, the standard assortment of front and side driver/passenger airbags, and an active safety package that is available on all of the trims. The SafetyTec package includes a number of common safety systems such as blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors with automatic braking for emergency situations. Customers can also tac on additional safety features such as an adaptive cruise control to manage the distance between cars and automatic lane-keeping assist for alerts when the vehicle begins to drift.
Convenience features include a mixture of common and child-oriented options. The interior of the vehicle includes optional features such as heated seats in the second-row, dual 10 inch LCD panels for second-row passengers, and even a built-in vacuum cleaner on the Limited model. The included infotainment system relies on Chrysler’s Uconnect platform that provides several common apps and car information with updated compatibility with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a 4G LTE connection to keep smart devices and the minivan itself connected to the internet while driving.
If you think about the classic minivan look of the 80’s and 90’s, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica can be said to bring that look into the 21st century. Minivan design has become diverse and rather complicated since larger SUVs often blend the two categories with large cabins and third-row seating. The Pacifica is a true minivan with the signature boxy look, sliding rear doors, and unbeatable view around the windows.
The exterior of the Pacifica is tall and bulky. The Chrysler designers added just enough curvature to the latest generation to keep the airflow surprisingly efficient for a vehicle of this size. The hood and front blend well into the swept front window. The roofline gently slopes back in a slight teardrop shape without sacrificing too much headroom and cargo height on the inside. You won’t mistake the Pacifica for a sleek sports car, but its overall exterior profile does make it somewhat aerodynamic.
On the inside, the Pacifica embodies the old Minivan tradition of maximizing space for passengers and cargo alike. The three-row seats feature Chrysler’s unique stowaway design that folds the rear rows down into a flat space. When everything is out of the way, the total cargo volume shoots up to an unrivaled 140.5 cubic feet of space.
The design of the folding seats also makes them somewhat narrower with less padding, but they remain comfortable for long periods of driving like road trips. Leg and headroom are plentiful in the front, middle, and rear rows of the vehicle. To access the rear row, both middle captain chairs lean forward to offer plenty of room for entrance and exit. A large assortment of USB ports and power outlets can be found throughout the cabin for smart devices and other electronics.
This minivan is no sports-oriented vehicle, but it doesn’t slouch in the acceleration department either. Using a relatively light chassis, the Pacifica manages to find a balance between underpowered engines and fuel-thirsty transmissions. Chrysler makes things simple by offering the same basic engine option throughout all the trims with the possibility of adding an electric battery and motor for the hybrid plugin. Both options provide plenty of power and efficiency, so the final choice should come down to the importance of ultimate fuel efficiency versus horsepower and cost.
The base option is a 3.6L V6 that uses regular unleaded gas. Offering 287 horsepower with 262 pound-feet of torque, this engine has respectable performance in a space that is typically dominated by underpowered four-cylinder transmissions that can barely get the minivan up to highway speeds. Depending on the trim weight of the vehicle, the engine will get around 18/28-29 MPG city/highway with a fuel tank capacity of around 19 gallons.
Unique to Chrysler, the hybrid plugin version represents the first time a major, popular minivan line has gone “green” so to speak. The hybrid won’t single-handedly save the environment, but the addition of a 16-kWh battery and two electric motors will increase fuel efficiency to around 32/33 MPG. The electric setup alone has a range of around 33 miles before the 3.6L V6 engine even kicks in.
Drivetrain-wise, Chrysler only offers a forward wheel drive option to keep the fuel efficiency as high as possible. Lacking an all-wheel-drive option can make driving difficult for a larger minivan, but Chrysler’s intelligent traction control can help keep the vehicle stable during challenging situations.