Minivans get a bad rap. Especially these days, as a growing number of drivers choose SUVs as their family vehicle. However, the truth remains that minivans still offer the most room and are the best choice for hauling kids, pets, and all that sports equipment. Among today’s minivans, the all new 2021 Chrysler Pacifica stands out.

The Pacifica has been completely redesigned for the 2021 model year – both inside and out. The results are impressive. Anyone who has always appreciated minivans will certainly be pleased with the new Pacifica. And the redesign might even convert a few skeptics too. If you were one of those people previously turned your nose up at minivans, it’s time to reconsider. Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica.

Exterior Styling

The Chrysler Pacifica’s exterior has been radically redesigned, and it proves to be a big improvement. The 2021 Pacifica resembles the sleek appearance of today’s Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Some reviewers have described the Pacifica’s new look as being more like an SUV than the previous models, which were a bit boxy. The grille, exterior lighting elements, rear liftgate, and wheel designs have all been redesigned by the engineers at Chrysler. The end result is a much more stylish and smoother looking minivan. Make no mistake, the Pacifica still does look like a minivan. But it’s a sleeker, dare we say, cooler version. The Pacifica scores high marks for the exterior redesign.

Engine and Performance

The knock on the Pacifica has always been that its engine lacked the power and reliability of those found in the competing Odyssey and Sienna vans. With the 2021 model, Chrysler seems to have finally taken steps to address this criticism. While it’s still not the fastest minivan around, reviewers at CarAndDriver proclaim that the 2021 Pacifica “is far from sluggish and feels plenty peppy around town.” That’s pretty high praise when you consider the past criticisms of the engine.

The new Pacifica can hit 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. That places it firmly in the top half of minivans in terms of engine performance. The Pacifica is capable of producing 287-horsepower from its standard 3.6-liter V6 engine, paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Pacifica hybrid model offers a little less horsepower though, 260 hp to be exact. It uses a 3.6-liter V6 and two electric motors backed up by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. While not technically the most powerful minivan on the road, the 2021 Pacifica nevertheless makes big strides in terms of its performance under the hood.

Trimlines and Prices

The new Chrysler Pacifica comes in four different trimlines. The pricing starts at a respectable $35,000 and gradually move all the way up to $50,000. The trimlines include the Touring edition, which is the entry level minivan and costs $35,000. That’s followed by the Touring L model at $40,000. The Limited edition is next at $45,000. T top-level Pinnacle model that will set you back $50,000. This pricing scheme make the Pacifica competitive in the minivan space. Most reviewers seem to agree that the mid-range Touring L provides the right mix of features and value for money. Front-wheel drive comes standard on all trimlines, but all-wheel drive is available as an optional upgrade, as is a hybrid engine.

Interior

“Comfort” and “cargo” are the key words when it comes to the 2021 Pacifica. The interior of this minivan is super spacious. It’s loaded with cubbies, cupholders, storage bins, and connectivity galore. The designers at Chrysler certainly understand the features that minivan owners want the most.

If there has been one complaint with the interior, it’s that it contains many plastic pieces throughout the cabin. However, the top end Limited and Pinnacle trims comes outfitted with a taller center console that blends seamlessly with the dashboard. The Pinnacle model also comes with quilted-leather upholstery and matching lumbar pillows for the second-row captain’s chairs.

Standard “Stow ‘n Go” seats offer less padding than those in its rivals because they need to fold-up and fit inside the floor bins. However, that sacrifice is worth it when you consider the hauling ability of the Pacifica. Testers have managed to fit as many as 55 carry-on suitcases inside, with all the seats stowed. A built-in vacuum cleaner is available as an option, but it occupies the space that can (and should) be used to carry a spare tire.

Technology

The technology in the Chrysler Pacifica revolves around the Uconnect 5 infotainment system. It’s displayed via a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that’s framed by climate-control vents on the van’s dashboard. Uconnect 5 is new for FCA vehicles and offers a reconfigurable home screen and Amazon Alexa integration. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, which can be connected wirelessly. There’s a WiFi hotspot as well. You’ll fine up to 12 USB ports throughout the Pacifica (including some that are the new USB-C type) that offer quicker charging for smart devices.

Safety

As for standard safety features, the 2021 Pacifica is loaded. This minivan offers nearly every conceivable driver-assistance feature available today, including automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, rear cross-path detection, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, auto high-beams, and lane-departure warning.  They are all standard.

Warranty

The warranty coverage provided by Chrysler isn’t amazing, but it’s not bad either. The warranty package is standard for the Pacifica’s minivan class. The Kia Sedona offers lengthier terms, but the Pacifica allows for longer use of the roadside-assistance plan. So, it’s a trade-off of sorts. The Pacifica hybrid model has a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty on all hybrid component though, which is decent. The regular version comes with a limited warranty of three years or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty for five years or 60,000 miles. It’s a fairly standard, if a bit underwhelming, guarantee. On the downside, Chrysler does not offer any complimentary scheduled maintenance.

Fuel Economy

If there is one truly compelling reason to choose a minivan over an SUV, it’s that minivans tend to be more fuel efficient. Case in point is the new Pacifica. It delivers an impressive 31 miles per gallon when driven on a highway, which is best-in-class among minivans. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Pacifica gas/electric hybrid can travel up to 33 miles on electric power only and is rated at 84 miles per gallon fuel and electricity combined. On the highway, the Pacifica hybrid manages 23.4 miles of electric-only driving before the gasoline engine kicks in. It’s all around impressive when it comes to fuel consumption.

The Good

  • Great new exterior styling.
  • Lots of space for people and cargo.
  • Best-in-class fuel economy.

The Not-So-Good

  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance.
  • Still contains some extra plastic knobs inside.
  • Engine performance has improved, but still lags behind some competitors.

The Last Word

Chrysler has got most things right with the redesigned Pacifica. The 2021 model can be considered a top minivan by most measures. The styling, interior space, connectivity, standard safety features, and price are among the best for minivans. You can’t argue with best-in-class fuel consumption. For families that rely on the tried and true minivan, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica should be a top contender. It is a dependable people mover that has a lot to offer any parent.

Source: Chrysler.com

Devon is a veteran of the online publishing world, having written about everything from cars to movies, sports to parenting. Although he drives a minivan (#DadLife), he's especially fond of classic muscle cars.