2020 Chrysler Pacifica Review & Buying Guide | A marvelous minivan

Our pick is the Pacifica Hybrid, but every version is a superior minivan choice

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By John Beltz Snyder, Autoblog

The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica is one of our favorite minivans, and the plug-in hybrid version, the Pacifica Hybrid, is even better. Roomy, comfortable and — dare we say — stylish, it’s good enough to at least garner consideration from folks who would otherwise not be caught dead driving a minivan. It also offers a ton of standard and optional features to make life better for the driver up front all the way back to the kids seated in the comfy third row. While the well-mannered and techy Honda Odyssey is also worth cross shopping, we think the Pacifica is practical and enjoyable enough that we’d even choose it over a lot of three-row crossovers.

What's new for 2020?

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For the 2020 model year, Chrysler drops the L and LX trims, replacing them with a budget minivan that bears its own nameplate — the Chrysler Voyager — and starts at $28,480. That means the cheapest Pacifica you can get is the Limited trim, starting at $35,240.

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There are also a few extra features added here and there to the various trim levels, but nothing major apart from the flashy Red S Appearance Package available on the Limited versions of both the Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid. This gets red and black Nappa leather upholstery, grey contrast stitching and piping, some red S emblems inside and out black 20-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on the Hybrid), Harman Kardon sound system and an advanced safety package.

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There are more significant changes in store of the Pacifica later this year when the 2021 model arrives, including some design tweaks and the addition of available all-wheel drive.

What's the Pacifica interior and in-car technology like?

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The Pacifica interior is a lovely place to spend time. Up front, there’s plenty of room to stretch out, and lots of places to stash items within easy reach. We’re big fans of the huge cupholders, which are capacious enough to house two 32-ounce Nalgene water bottles side by side. The materials are nice, with good attention to detail. We were quite fond of the perforated leather seats, smooth leather steering wheel and attractive stitching in our long-term Pacifica Hybrid tester.

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As for tech, there’s plenty, and it’s good. We like the big multimedia touchscreen in the center stack, and find this iteration of Chrysler’s Uconnect multimedia system to be intuitive and responsive. The Pacifica offers a number of helpful driver aids, including adaptive cruise control and plenty of parking cameras. For second-row occupants, Chrysler offers a rear-seat entertainment system with flip-up touchscreens to watch movies or play games. They’ve got a number of inputs, and each passenger can do their own thing — they don’t have to watch the same movie if they don’t want.

Oh, and the Pacifica took notes from Honda, and offers an in-car vacuum to make cleanup easier after a long, snack-filled road trip with the kids and dogs. Just keep in mind that like many of these whiz-bang features, the vacuum is exclusive to upper trim levels.

How big is the Pacifica?

The 2020 Pacifica is built to haul people and their things on a regular basis. It has seating for seven or eight passengers, depending on whether or not you opt for second-row captain’s chairs. It offers a generous 32.3 cubic feet of space in its deep cargo area behind the third row, which is similar to the Honda Odyssey (32.8 cubic feet) and Kia Sedona (33.9), but a bit less than the segment leading Toyota Sienna (39.1). For perhaps a more illustrative point, the biggest three-row crossover barely manages to surpass 20 cubic feet with the third row raised. In terms of maximum cargo space, the Pacifica's 140.5 cubic feet is 2 to 10 cubic feet less than its minivan competitors, but that's such a vast amount of space, it really doesn't matter.

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That's especially true since the Pacifica makes it so easy to gain access to that maximum space.

The Pacifica's trick Stow ‘N Go seats quickly and easily fold completely flat under the floor. Even better, when you’re using the seats, that under-floor space is available for item storage. Unfortunately, the Pacifica Hybrid doesn’t offer Stow N’ Go for the second row, as that under-floor space is where its battery pack is housed, but the seats themselves are a bit more comfortable since they don't need to be a compact for stowing and going.

What's the Pacifica’s performance and fuel economy?

The Pacifica is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 producing 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That’s sent to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Pacifica is rated at 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. Compared to the competition, that’s similar power and efficiency to the Honda Odyssey, but less power and better fuel economy than the Toyota Sienna.

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The Pacifica Hybrid features a plug-in hybrid powertrain that pairs a version of the same 3.6-liter V6 with a dual-motor electrically variable transmission. It offers 32 miles of electric range, so you’ll likely rarely find yourself gassing up during your daily commuting and errands. The EPA has rated the Pacifica Hybrid at 82 miles-per-gallon equivalent when operating on gas and electric with a fully charged battery. It’s rated at 30 mpg combined on gas only.

What's the Pacifica like to drive?

It’s not the most exciting thing to drive, but few vehicles this size are. What you do get is ample power and on-road comfort. Technology makes the Pacifica even easier to live with. Features like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and a 360-degree camera view take some of the stress out of maneuvering this minivan, whether you’re cruising down the highway or creeping through a parking garage.

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Where things start to get really interesting is with the Pacifica Hybrid. Running under electric power only — which is feasible unless you’re in a big hurry and need to mash the accelerator to the floor — is supremely smooth and quiet. With the electric powertrain’s low-end torque, the Hybrid is quick to get moving from a stop, but it does so without drama. With an especially low center of gravity thanks to the battery pack, the Hybrid also exhibits little body roll around corners. With 32 miles of electric range, it's possible to do some around-town driving solely under electric power. If you do accelerate too hard, the gas motor will kick in, and there’s no mode that will prevent it from doing that.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica First Drive

Our first review of this generation of the Chrysler Pacifica, including a video tour of the vehicle. Our conclusion: “Depending on what you're willing to pay for higher-end trim levels and additional features, the Pacifica is as good a choice as any to lead the pack.”

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid First Drive | The minivan, reinvented

“The Pacifica Hybrid is easily our new top pick for this segment, as it offers something the Honda Odysseys and Toyota Siennas of the world simply can't. And yeah, we're pretty excited about it.”

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Quick Spin | Dad tested, kid approved

One of the fathers on staff puts his large son in the Pacifica Hybrid for a real-world review.

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | Mountain road / fuel economy review

Our West Coast Editor put the plug-in minivan through its paces to see how it fared with some actual elevation changes.

What features are available and what's the price?

The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica starts with the Touring trim at a base price of $35,240, including the $1,495 destination fee. The Pacifica Hybrid stars at $41,490 for the Touring trim level. Keep in mind that there's a cheaper, decontented version of the Pacifica, but it's known as the Chrysler Voyager that starts at $28,480

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Standard equipment in the Pacifica touring includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, front and rear LED lighting, the Stow ‘N Go seating system, eight-way power driver’s seat, power liftgate and power sliding doors, three-zone automatic temperature control, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2020 Chrysler Pacifica:

  • Touring: $35,240
  • Touring L: $38,240
  • Touring L Plus: $41,240
  • Limited: $46,190
  • Red S Edition: $50,185

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:

  • Touring: $41,490
  • Touring L: $43,790
  • Limited: $47,340

What's its safety equipment and crash ratings?

In addition to the standard airbags, seat belts and LATCH system, the Pacifica includes blind-spot detection and rear cross-path alert as standard equipment. Optional are full-speed forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a surround view parking camera.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Pacifica its top overall safety rating of five stars. It earns the full five stars in all of its crash tests, except for the rollover category, for which it earns four stars (typical for a minivan).

In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, the Pacifica earned a “Good” rating in all crash tests except for small overlap front passenger side, for which it earned an “Acceptable” rating. Its optional crash avoidance and mitigation system earned a “Superior” rating.


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Automotive Magazine: 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Review & Buying Guide | A marvelous minivan
2020 Chrysler Pacifica Review & Buying Guide | A marvelous minivan
Our pick is the Pacifica Hybrid, but every version is a superior minivan choice
Automotive Magazine
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