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Auto Talk: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica S

Minivans still a great choice for growing families

As people continue to be caught up in the SUV craze, for growing families the best choice in my opinion, is still the minivan. You can pack the most stuff inside and still have a comfortable environment and good fuel economy.

There are only a few mini-vans on the market now. Certainly Chrysler’s Pacifica is one of the best. This is the second example of the current generation I have been able to drive and probably most optioned. And, if you can afford $50,000 plus for a model like this, I’m sure you’ll be a happy long-term owner. The Pacifica’s cabin is upscale and remains quiet even at high speeds. The Pacifica not only maintains a cushioned ride over rough pavement, but it drives with surprising agility as well. An extensive list of features and modern technology further adds to its appeal.

On the inside, with its Stow ’n Go seats, you don’t have to remove seats to access the cargo hold like you do with the Toyota Sienna. The third row seat is a little snug but fine for smaller children. For toddlers, the 2019 Pacifica offers four full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on all rear-outboard seats. However, the system is trickier to use than in some rivals. Some lower anchors are set too deep in the seat and are difficult to manoeuvre around, and the tether anchors are hard to find. Seating comfort up front for adults is very good for long-distance travel.

The Pacifica has one of the nicest cabins in its class, with high-quality materials, an elegant dashboard, and ample insulation to keep the cabin quiet, even at highway speeds.

Minivans generally offer a long list of features, but the Pacifica exceeds that expectation. Among its many available offerings are KeySense parental controls, satellite radio, two 10-inch rear-seat touch screens, a 13-speaker Alpine or 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a rear-seat DVD player, a built-in vacuum, a 4G Wi-Fi hot spot, and an upgraded Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch screen and navigation. The Uconnect infotainment system has a responsive touch screen and sensible menu layout making it one of the best systems in its class.

In the back, the Pacifica doesn’t have as much cargo space as other minivans but that doesn’t mean its cargo hold is small. It has 32.3 cubic feet of storage with all the seats up. That’s enough room for about two dozen carry-on sized bags. Folding down the second and third rows reveals more than 140 cubic feet of space.

All Pacifica models feature a 287-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. This V6 has ample power for daily driving and provides decent acceleration. The transmission very smooth shifting.  Fuel consumption is acceptable; 11.8L/100km in the city (26 mpg). On the highway, depending on speed and weight, you could expect up to 8.4 L/100 km. There is a plug-in hybrid Pacifica model available.

There are seven different models of Pacifica to choose from. My top-of-the-line Limited had the “S” appearance package priced at $995 on top of the base price of $53,745.

Yes, that is pricey isn’t it? A few more options later my tester had a final sticker of $64,260, including shipping. Not a price point many families can reach. The basic Pacifica L starts at $32,245 and while it’s not a bare-bones model in the traditional sense, I’d strongly recommend paying a little more and seriously consider the Touring model which starts at $33,995. The Touring is just a little nicer. But if a person can, why not factory order to your own liking and budget. With the variety of model trims and long list of options this might be the best way to get into a Pacifica.

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