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- Highs Desirable Stow 'n Go seats, plug-in hybrid available, tons of interior storage.
- Lows Stow 'n Go seats not available with plug-in hybrid, all-wheel drive not offered.
- Verdict The best minivan you can buy—and better than most SUVs, too.
Here at Car and Driver, we are huge fans of minivans: they are great at hauling people and stuff, get good fuel economy, and in most cases are better than crossovers and SUVs in accomplishing their missions. At the top of the minivan heap is the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica, which excelled in much of our testing and is competitive with its rivals in other tests. We like the Pacifica so much, in fact, that we have named it to our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list multiple times. We also subjected both a 2018 Pacifica hybrid and a regular gas-powered 2017 Pacifica to 40,000-mile tests where they both were staff favorites. With standard second- and third-row stowable seats, one of our favorite infotainment systems, and an optional hybrid powertrain, the Pacifica is the best minivan you can buy.
What's New for 2020?
Following on the heels of the blacked-out look of the S Appearance for 2019 is the new Red S Appearance package, which is offered on the Limited trim versions of the gas-powered and hybrid models. The package features a special interior, 20-inch wheels (19s on the hybrid), Advanced SafetyTec driver-assistance technologies, a 20-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system with a Uconnect theater setup, eight-passenger seating, and tow package (the hybrid also gets a tri-pane panoramic sunroof). All-wheel drive will be offered on a limited number of 2020 models but will be more widely available on the re-skinned 2021 Pacifica.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We'd opt for the midrange Touring L trim, which features power-operated sliding side doors and liftgate, a heated steering wheel, and rain-detecting variable wipers. We'd then add the Advanced SafetyTec package, which includes adaptive cruise, a 360-degree exterior-camera system, parallel and perpendicular park assist, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning. We'd also suggest the Premium Audio package, which adds a 13-speaker 506-watt Alpine sound system and a second- and third-row USB charge port. It features a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen that makes operating the infotainment system easier while on the go.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
It's not the quickest minivan we've tested, but the Pacifica is far from sluggish (it reaches 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, about mid-pack) and feels plenty peppy around town. In non-hybrid guise, it packs a 287-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Pacifica hybrid makes less total horsepower (only 260 ponies) between its 3.6-liter V-6 and two electric motors backed up by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery but feels similarly sprightly in the real world. In our testing, however, it trailed the gas-powered model to 60 mph by 0.5 second.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
In addition to being space efficient, a minivan should also be fuel efficient. The Pacifica Limited we tested delivered an impressive 31 mpg on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy loop, which is tops for minivans. According to the EPA, the Pacifica hybrid can travel up to 33 miles on electric power and is rated at 84 MPGe combined. Around town, we were easily able to match the EPA's 33-mile estimate. On the highway, the Pacifica hybrid managed 23.4 miles of electric-only driving before the gasoline engine kicked on.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Airy, spacious, and packed with cubbies, cupholders, slide-out bins, and connectivity, the Pacifica is big on the features that minivan buyers love. Fit, finish, and materials are several steps above the Dodge Grand Caravan, but a few downmarket plastic pieces lurk inside the cabin.
The Pacifica's standard Stow 'n Go seats offer less padding than those in its rivals because they need to fold up compactly enough to fit inside the floor bins. As reparation for relinquishing the Stow 'n Go second row in hybrid models (the battery pack takes up all of the underfloor seat storage space), Chrysler engineers added extra cushioning to the standard captain's chairs.
When it comes to hauling cargo, the Pacifica doesn’t disappoint. We managed to fit 53 of our carry-on suitcases inside with all the seats stowed. A built-in vacuum cleaner is standard on Limited models, but it occupies space that can otherwise be devoted to an optional mini-spare tire; buyers of lesser trims will have to make do with their own Shop-Vac.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system remains one of our favorites, with knobs and buttons for audio controls rather than finicky touch-sensitive controls. In addition to the Uconnect system's intuitive software and general excellence in usability, it's highly responsive to inputs. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a faster processor, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Acing its crashworthiness testing would be enough, but the Pacifica adds to its safety standing by offering every conceivable driver-assistance feature available today. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitor
- Standard rear automated emergency braking
- Standard rear parking sensors
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Chrysler offers a warranty package that is par for the class. The Kia Sedona does offer lengthier terms, but the Pacifica allows for longer use of the roadside-assistance plan. The Pacifica hybrid model has a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on hybrid components.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Hybrid components are covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance