2020 Chrysler Pacifica

By April 3, 2020

The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica demonstrates that minivans aren’t extinct. Not yet. In fact, it scores high on the list of remaining examples of the family-hauler breed. In addition to gasoline-engine versions, the Pacifica Hybrid continues as a sterling illustration of fuel-efficient practicality.

For the 2020 model year, the Pacifica sees only a few changes. A new Red S appearance package features a Rodeo Red leather interior, 20-inch wheels, advanced safety features, 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio, rear-seat entertainment, and a tri-pane panoramic sunroof. The Voyager nameplate has been revived, replacing value-priced L and LX trim levels to attract fleet buyers.

Chrysler offers quite an array of trim levels, starting with twin Voyagers and including Touring, Touring L, Touring L Plus, Limited, Red S, and 35th Anniversary Editions. Hybrids come in half a dozen trims.

In regular Pacificas, a 3.6-liter V-6 develops 287 horsepower, mating with a 9-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

Plug-in Hybrid models tie an Atkinson-cycle version of the 3.6-liter V-6 to an electric motor and a 16-kwh battery. Total output equals 260 horsepower. Hybrids can travel about 32 miles on electricity alone, earning an EPA rating of 82 MPGe (equivalent) and 30 mpg in combined driving. Pacifica Hybrids may be charged at an electrical outlet. Federal and local tax credits have been available for hybrid vehicles.

Both engines deliver energetic acceleration, even though the Hybrid weighs more.

Crash-test scores are admirable. The NHTSA gave the 2020 Pacifica a 5-star rating overall, as well as for frontal and side impacts. Rollover prevention (a calculated figure) rated four stars—typical for taller vehicles.

The IIHS has given the Pacifica a Top Safety Pick award for the past three years. The minivan has earned “Good” scores for all tests except the small-overlaps (passenger side), which was judged “Acceptable.” Headlights have not fared well, rated either “Acceptable,” “Marginal,” or “Poor,” depending on type.

Blind-spot monitors, rear parking assist, and rear cross-path detection are standard on Pacificas, but additional safety technology costs extra. Active-safety features are available in an Advanced SafetyTec package that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. For the new value-priced Voyagers, even automatic braking is part of an option group.

Model Lineup

Prices include $995 destination charge.

Aimed at fleet buyers, the Voyager L ($28,480) comes with 17-inch steel wheels, seven-passenger seating, cloth upholstery, and a 7.0-inch infotainment screen. The Voyager LX ($31,290) adds alloy wheels, a power driver’s seat and tri-zone climate control.

The Touring edition ($35,240) includes power-sliding rear doors, remote start, an eight-way power driver’s seat, cloth upholstery, 7.0-inch touchscreen, 17-inch alloy wheels, and the Stow ‘N Go seating system. Infotainment includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The Touring L ($38,240) upgrades to perforated leather upholstery, heated steering wheel and front seats, memory driver’s seat, and second-row window shades. The Touring L Plus ($41,240) adds an 8.4-inch touchscreen, navigation, power passenger seat, heated second-row seats, and 13-speaker Alpine audio.

Two 35th Anniversary editions (Touring L, $40,230; Touring L Plus, $42,935) are available, equipped with an all-black interior, DVD player, and eight-passenger seating.

The Pacifica Limited ($46,190) features nappa leather upholstery, an integrated vacuum cleaner, navigation, power-folding third row, and 18-inch wheels. A 35th Anniversary Limited ($47,285) also is offered.

A Pacifica with the Red S package ($50,135) includes red leather upholstery, black exterior trim, brushed-silver instrument panel, 20-inch wheels, and 20-speaker audio.

The Hybrid Touring ($41,490), Touring L ($43,790), Touring L 35th Anniversary ($45,780),
Hybrid Limited ($47,340), Limited 35th Anniversary ($48,335), and Hybrid Red-S ($50,435) employ the gasoline/electric powertrain and are equipped similar to gas-engine equivalents.

Exterior

Far from dull or dowdy, Chrysler’s Pacifica is about as stylish as a minivan could be. Abandoning the typical boxy minivan profile, it consists of large swoopy lines and dramatic curves.

Thoughtful details, such as a sliding door track tucked beneath rear windows, make the Pacifica a standout in its category. The use of bright metal trim or blacked-out accents helps to obscure the minivan’s sizable height and width.

Interior

Comfortable seats and fine-quality materials highlight the Pacifica’s impressive cabin, creating a near-luxury sense. The cavernous interior ensures plenty of practicality, too. Fit and finish are good.

Soft-touch plastics, high-grade leather, and well-considered color schemes give the Pacifica’s interior best-in-class status. The deep red leather in the new Red S appearance package is appealing.

Seating as many as eight passengers, with bench seats installed, the Pacifica can hold more people and cargo than most vehicles—including rival minivans. Captain’s chairs can substitute for the second row, cutting capacity to seven people.

Softly-cushioned, supportive front seats excel for long trips. Fold-away second-row seats boost increasing convenience but impact comfort. Third-row seats are similar, but the under-floor storage area limits vertical leg space. USB ports are bountiful.

With all rear seats stowed beneath the floor, cargo capacity can reach 140.5 cubic feet. With both benches in position and seatbacks upright, cargo space amounts to 32.3 cubic feet.

Ample in-cabin storage includes cubbies and deep console bins. Pacifica Hybrids lack the Stow ‘N Go seating system; their battery pack is tucked into the space where the fold-away seats would otherwise be stowed.

Driving Impressions

Impressively energetic powertrains ensure confidence-inspiring, but smooth, acceleration. The Pacifica’s transmission shifts swiftly, making gear changes barely noticeable.

Ride quality is excellent. The Pacifica is smooth and responsive—courtesy of a compliant suspension. Each Pacifica yields a comfortable experience during long highway treks.

Handling is taut and responsive, considering the Pacifica’s size. Electric power steering is just weighty enough to deflect small bumps and potholes, while transmitting good road feel to the driver.

In Low range, the Pacifica can dash skillfully through challenging pavement segments. Despite lack of all-wheel drive, it remains composed and responsive along twisty roads. (An AWD option is coming for 2021.)

Road and powertrain noise are more noticeable in the Pacifica Hybrid, due to reduced sound-deadening. Otherwise, it performs nearly as eagerly as a lighter gas-engine model.

Reasonably fuel-efficient in gas-engine form, the Plug-in Hybrid version yields a seriously frugal 82 MPGe (equivalent) with a fully-charged battery. Able to travel 32 miles on electricity alone, it’s EPA-rated at 30 mpg in combined driving, using regular-grade gasoline. The regular Pacifica is EPA-rated at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined.

Final Word

Sleek design helps the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica stand out among minivans, but its worth is cemented by capabilities and passenger/cargo space. Delivering everything a family is likely to want in a large vehicle, it blends comfort with confident performance. Vital safety features are available, though most come in option packages rather than as standard equipment. The best Pacifica value is the Touring edition, with the addition of the optional Advanced SafetyTec package.

 

—by James M. Flammang, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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