The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica in Colorado Springs, CO is Chrysler’s replacement for their famous, well-loved, and now recently deceased Town & Country minivan. This Pacifica is in no way a copy of it, nor is it meant to be a continuation of the model line. Rather, it’s a brand new modern minivan that Chrysler intends to be a complete replacement, and a fresh start in the segment. For those who are worried or grumbling about the discontinuation of the Town & Country, seeing what the Pacifica has to offer in comparison will make you forget all about it. Considering it’s brand new and has already won the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association’s (GAAMA) Best Family Car and Best Value award, I’d say this vehicle is perfectly capable of succeeding on the market.
So, let’s take a closer look at what it takes to win these titles from GAAMA’s contest, along with a few of the Pacifica’s best qualities.
The Family Car Challenge
At Lake Lanier Islands, the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association held its fourth annual Family Car Challenge. This Family Car Challenge brings together over 40 journalists, who represent national publications and websites, as well as bloggers and broadcast automotive journalists. Together, they test drove 24 up-and-coming vehicles and rated them.
GAAMA President Christopher Lawrence said that it was the most competitive Family Car Challenge yet, after it took their journalists almost 200 rides in the vehicles to get a true understanding of each one. They needed to properly understand its value, energy efficiency, technology, and comfort in order to truly evaluate each one. The competition doesn’t deal with just cars and vans either, and even has a Best Family Pickup Truck category — which the 2016 Ram 1500 won.
Vehicles like the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica proved to be especially exciting for the journalists because it’s brand new to the market. So they were able to get the jump on reviewing it, and provide readers with their initial impressions.
Best Family Car and Best Value
The reason it’s called the Family Car Challenge is because the vehicle is heavily tested against how well it would do in hypothetical, common family scenarios, such as bringing the kids to school, or taking the family on a long road trip. Therefore, the fact that the Pacifica was able to win Best Family Car when pitted against 24 other vehicles ranging from sedans and crossovers to trucks is extremely impressive, a true testament to its family-friendly quality.
It also won Best Value, however, and is one of the cars that was able to win two categories. Again, this was out of 24 other mixed vehicles, which means as far as getting the most bang for your buck, this is the car to grab if you have a family. It’s got plenty of standard and available features, and the starting MSRP is $28,595, ranging all the way up to $42,495 for the Limited trim — which is loaded with all the entertainment, safety, and storage options you can think of, and even some that you can’t.
With the Pacifica making some waves in this competition along with its rapidly gaining popularity, let’s take a look at a few of its best qualities. After all, you are looking at a car that needs to live-up to and improve upon the already prestigious standards set by the Town & Country.
A Couple of its Best Qualities
Naturally, the start to any good family vehicle is an enticing interior, and since the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is labeled the “best road trip minivan” in its class, I’d say it’s pretty enticing.
Stow n’ Go
The most appealing feature is the Pacifica’s Stow n’ Go Seating and Storage System, which allows up to 243 seating configurations, with maximum seating for up to eight. What makes the Stow n’ Go technology so special? Well, first you don’t have to be a semi-pro wrestler in order to win the struggle to remove a bench seat from the back of the van for extra room. Instead, all you need to do is fold the seats flat directly into the floor of the Pacifica, which is not hard at all. There is a demo video on the Pacifica’s website, and I timed it. It only took the person 10 Mississippis to get the second-row captain chair folded into the floor in three simple steps. Step one is pushing a button to move the front seat forward. Step two is open the compartment and effortlessly fold the seat down into it. Step three is close the compartment and push the button to move the seat back.
“But, that’s actually five steps,” says the commenter who always needs to find something wrong with everything in life. The point is, it feels like three steps and is a very effortless process. Overall, it would probably only take a couple of minutes to fold all of the seats down in order to land best-in-class cargo volume.
Are you not Entertained?
I swear, every new section you click on the Pacifica is plastered with a best-in-class rating in something. Unlike other vehicles though, this one can back it up. It’s also labeled the most technologically advanced minivan in its class, and is essentially a pimped out living room on wheels.
It doesn’t just have a touchscreen powered by an infotainment system like Uconnect. Instead, Chrysler took it one step further, and gave it a freaking Uconnect Theater. Theater. This theater features a dual-screen entertainment system with a Blu-ray player and a USB video input that also allows a Bluetooth connection and HDMI. The point is, whatever you want to hook up to the available 10.1-inch seatback-mounted high-def touchscreens, you can. Laptops, phones, gaming consoles, you name it. The kids can play their Angry Birds in the backseat in 10.1-inch high-def glory, while you navigate up front or listen to some tunes with the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen interface.
An All-Around Great Vehicle
This innovative and convenient storage and seating, and what appears to be boundless entertainment, are only a couple of the qualities that make Chrysler’s Pacifica a great family vehicle. It also has over 100 standard and available safety and security features, and a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine under the hood to give it some kick. Even the outside is great looking, offering unique design aspects to the minivan segment.
These great qualities, combined with the fact that the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica won Best Value and Best Family Car out of 24 other contenders in the GAAMA Family Car Challenge, is a good sign that this vehicle is going to have a bright future, and successfully replace the old Town & Country — potentially even surpassing it.