Entry price: $27,235
Price as tested: $49,800
This week, we’re driving Chrysler’s seventh generation 2019 Pacifica, now in its third year of an all-new layout. Pacifica is the company’s most impressive and luxurious minivan and is now celebrating its 35th anniversary. Especially important is that for 2020, the entry price will be $6,260 more ($33,495), making the leftovers on the lot right now an excellent buy.
However, in a move clearly to appease Pacifica consumers who don’t want to spend a near $34,000 entry price, Chrysler is bringing back the former Voyager minivan nameplate as a Pacifica alternative that will be available for less than $29,000, including delivery. The 2020 Chrysler Voyager will be similar in build to the lower cost Dodge Grand Caravan, which also returns for the 2020 model year.
Currently available in nine trims starting with the entry L ($27,325) up to the top line 35th Anniversary Limited ($45,390); our 2019 Pacifica was the well appointed Limited, with an entry of $44,445. All Pacifica trims are front drive only as a 4x4 version is not available.
Considering there are no 4x4 Chrysler-built minivans available and consumer buying attitudes toward minivans have cooled, it’s to the point whereas if you’re not driving an SUV these days, you are now an “in the minority” consumer. Considering the aging baby boomers and their traditional multi-child families (and sans a nameplate maneuver with the upcoming Chrysler Voyager), few manufacturers are making anything new when it comes to minivans. I expect this trend to continue as the younger generations are waiting longer to get married, if at all, and corresponding families are smaller.
As for history, Pacifica is a direct descendant of the famous Chrysler family Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager minivans that debuted in September 1983 as 1984 models. The original minivans successfully filled a void for those who needed the room of a station wagon but just didn’t want to buy one. (Kind of like where the minivan is today, thus the many three-row SUVs).
Thanks to impeccable timing from then Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, the stars were aligned for success. As baby boomer marriages evolved into growing families, there, in the many Chrysler dealerships across the U.S. and Canada, sat the new Dodge and Plymouth minivans just waiting to be gobbled up.
And gobbled up they were.
Chrysler sold some 200,000 1984 minivans those first 16 months thanks to excellent advertising coupled with the excitement of a brand new, novel, multi-passenger vehicle. Utilizing the front-drive mechanicals from the 1981 Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aires “K-Car,” Chrysler engineers stretched K-Car’s wheelbase from 99.6 inches to 112 inches and added the novel seven-passenger minivan body all while delivering small size maneuverability and good fuel mileage.
These minivans sales resulted in Chrysler Corporation returning to sustained profitability and for nearly a decade enjoyed little or no minivan competition. Through its seven generations, the Dodge and Chrysler minivans grew to wheelbases of over 120 inches while retaining the “minivan” nomenclature based on history more so than actual mass/weight proportions.
Now, back to the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica.
The new motif features a completely revamped exterior and a new interior with lots of storage and cargo abilities. For motivation, a nine-speed automatic transmission couples with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This combo delivers impressive 28-highway and 19-city EPA fuel mileage numbers, both very good for a two-ton plus vehicle that delivers decent acceleration.
Chrysler Pacifica also became the first minivan to offer a hybrid, which delivers EPA numbers of up to 84 mpg on full charge and a driving range of 566 miles total and 33 miles on total electric. Three models are available starting at $39,995 and all utilize the same 3.6 liter V6 and nine-speed automatic in unison with two Atkinson cycle electric motors and a large battery pack.
Notable on the Pacifica Limited are numerous luxury and safety features, including SiriusXM with one year free, 8.4-inch infotainment display, 506-watt 13-speaker Alpine stereo, Android and Apple capability, heated and ventilated seats, power doors and liftgate, keyless push button start, heated steering wheel, interior noise control and many more standard features. Your Chrysler dealer will gladly explain all models, including three special 35th Anniversary trims, upgraded interior seat choices and those noteworthy second and third row stow and go seats.
All Pacifica models, from entry LS to the top line Limited feature the best of standard safety features like Parkview backup camera, rear park assist with stop, all airbags, hill-start assist, blind-spot and cross-path detection, remote start, electronic stability and traction control, and four-wheel ABS discs. Our Limited came with a tri-plane sunroof, Stow and Vac integrated vacuum, and 18-inch Continental tires on special alloy wheels that are standard on the upper trims.
Our Limited starts at $44,445 and then adds an optional $695 Customer Preferred Package highlighted by a 20-speaker Harmon Kardon sound group and a 760-watt amplifier. Other options include an advanced safety technical upgrade ($995); emergency kit group by Mopar ($175); and a Uconnect two screen display “Home Theater” with a wireless streaming group ($1,995). With $1,495 destination, the final retail comes in at $49,800.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 121.6 inches, 4,330 lb. curb weight, 19-gallon fuel tank, 39.7 ft. turn circle, 3,600 lb. tow capacity and a cargo capacity that grows from 32.3 cu. ft. with seats up to a colossal 140.5 cu. ft. with seats folded down.
Check with your dealer as special year-end Pacifica discounts are already in effect. Additionally, if you find a leftover L or LS you’ll probably save close to $10,000 over a 2020 Pacifica. I also expect the Voyager will replace the Grand Caravan in 2021 with the Pacifica staying put as Chrysler’s ultimate people mover.
So be it leftover or new Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan or upcoming Chrysler Voyager, you’re choosing from the originator of the minivan.
And that’s all good.
Likes: Outstanding design, cargo room, interior with stow seats and vacuum, minivan legacy.
Dislikes: Some extra cost safety features should be standard on entry models, not much else.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
Entry price: $27,235