Why The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Is a Minivan That’s Hard to Hate
Between eight luxe trim levels and a zippy hybrid V6, the humble Pacifica is headed to the peak of minivan mountain.
What the hell is a minivan doing over at Maxim? You’re supposed to be looking at supercars roaring with 1,000-plus horsepower or limited edition Porsche 911s that come with matching chronographs. Minivans are supposedly for those of us who gave up on all of that kiss-kiss bang-bang stuff in favor of family man life – or who just gave up in general.
Still, there it is – a minivan. There’s no getting around it, and there’s no way words like “masculine” and “cool” will ever sit down for a beer with “minivan.”
The thing is, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica can be a lot of fun to drive if you set it up right. There’s tightness to its handling and pep to its step that defies that unfortunate minivan label. It’s also stuffed with a feature-rich mix of safety and infotainment technology that keeps passenger tucked away in this people carrier secure and pleasantly occupied.
Go ahead and search terms such as “Pacifica awards.” First of all, you’ll save me having to list all of the links here, and it’ll make clear how immensely popular the minivan is in the automobile media realm. Then, go do a search for “Pacifica sales rank.” Again, you’re being very helpful and saving me a lot of time. Meanwhile, you’ll see the vehicle atop the minivan monetary mountain.
There are eight total trim levels in the Pacifica tree, including the Hybrid Limited and the Hybrid Pinnacle. Starting around $36,000 for its standard passenger van trim level, the van sells for almost $49,000 in its Limited AWD version (the same vehicle I drove for a week). All non-hybrid versions include a V6 power plant capable of 287 horsepower.
Available in front wheel drive in its lower trims, the Limited opts for all-wheel. The result is a vehicle with ample power out of a high-compression V6 and a very balanced AWD worthy of an affordable sport-tuned ride.
I enjoyed more than one instance of pulling up to a light in an unassuming minivan beside some guy proud of his little sports car. Moments later, after dusting the vehicle next to me on green, I assume the other guy’s ego took a hit.
While unassuming, the Pacifica is not a bad looking machine. Those in charge of her aesthetics extended the frame and lowered the lines, sweeping the van back almost into hatchback dimensions. Even in this sleeker form, there’s still ample room for seven passengers. Anyone onboard enjoys an extensive suite of safety and entertainment features.
You could argue the current incarnation of the Chrysler Pacifica is the finest minivan ever built. You should also immediately realize that’d be a very short and uninspiring list.
Still, the fact that there isn’t much historical competition in this vehicle class shouldn’t belittle the designers and engineers of what really is a surprisingly fun car to drive.