Last month I was able to drive the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica at the Family Car Challenge at Lake Lanier, Georgia, and to say I was impressed is an understatement. In addition to winning Best Value Family Car of 2016, the Chrysler Pacifica also took the top award for Overall Best Family Car for this year as well! A total redesign, this might be Chrysler’s best move ever. The Pacifica will replace the Town & Country as the brand’s mini van of choice offering Stow ‘N Go seating on all rows (on hybrid models second row is not included). With over 200 seating configurations, you can easily maneuver seats to accommodate more passengers or more cargo…or maybe a mix of both.
The Stow ‘N Go Vac is a winner with families making it simple to vacuum all those Cheerios, toss them and throw the filter in your dishwasher. The rear passengers will enjoy the entertainment system – yes, gone are the days of strictly a DVD player! This innovative system is mounted on the seat backs of the driver and front seat passenger. Play games, watch movies, use your apps or connect your tech-savvy phones and tablets to the system.
The front interior has well-lit, large numbers and simplified dashboard configurations as well as an abundance of storage compartments. There are numerous cupholders throughout which is super important when traveling with lots of folks! The large windshield makes for easier navigation and lessens the feeling of enclosure. Cutting-edge technology is everywhere, pairing with your smart phones and making apps easily accessible.
I also need to mention the massive overhaul of the exterior with a sleek, sporty design incorporating the door panels into the window design for a more aggressive, modern look that offers better aerodynamics that taller, boxier vehicles. Let’s talk wheels for a second. This was one of the first things to catch my eye because it wasn’t typical for a family vehicle. The Pacifica Limited offers available 20-inch aluminum polished wheels! And, the headlamps got in on the redesign with a more sculpted look. Talk about value-added amenities!
In the press release below, Chrysler outlines what you can expect from the 2017 Pacifica. If you are in the market for a family vehicle, make sure you take this one for a spin!
- All-new minivan underwent more than 3.4 million miles of testing
- Pacifica has been driven to the moon and back (7 times, to be exact)
- Endured weeks of extreme-weather testing conducted in Arizona, Nevada and Alaska
- Corrosion evaluations simulated a decade in the world’s worst climates for vehicle rust
With an unsurpassed level of attention to detail and quality, the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is poised to deliver segment-leading durability and reliability as it arrives in dealer showrooms this spring.
Thousands of simulated and laboratory tests conducted on Pacifica set the foundation for the regimented reliability, capability and durability testing that continues at FCA US LLC’s proving grounds around the world.
More Than 3.4 Million Miles … and Counting
Reliability is synonymous with quality and it’s something customers expect from their vehicles. Knowing that, the development team literally went the extra mile to ensure the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica does not disappoint.
With more than 3.4 million real-world miles driven, Pacifica has gone to the moon and back – seven times, to be exact. This distance represents one of the highest pre-production mileage totals of any Chrysler brand vehicle ever.
“The main objective of putting Pacifica through more than 3.4 million miles of real-world driving is to identify and prevent any issues from occurring in the first place,” said Scott Garberding, Head of Quality, FCA – Global. “This commitment to quality is just one piece of a comprehensive strategy that focuses on attention to detail, as it represents one of the final steps in a quality process that began with the inception of Pacifica.”
Traversing “The Grand Canyon State”
Extreme-weather testing is a crucial step in vehicle validation and Pacifica was up for the challenge. FCA tested Pacifica day and night, on all kinds of road surfaces, at high and low altitudes and through blizzard conditions, as well as in dry, desert heat.
During numerous 4,000-mile-plus roundtrip drives from Auburn Hills, Mich., to FCA’s Arizona Proving Ground (APG) in Yucca, Ariz., Pacifica was put through the wringer in numerous tests that saw the all-new minivan withstand scorching heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the arid, dusty desert climate.
Knowing that many customers are focused on local driving, the minivan team took Pacifica to the busy downtowns of Las Vegas and Los Angeles for hours of slow, grueling city traffic in heat up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pacifica also ventured to Arizona’s Davis Dam for a grueling durability evaluation that’s usually reserved for payload testing of light and heavy-duty pickup trucks.
The notorious Davis Dam grade sits on Highway 68, a punishing hill climb from the Colorado River at its base to a rocky summit nearly 11 miles up. From start to finish, it’s an almost 3,000-foot elevation gain, providing Pacifica engineers with one of the steepest continuous incline roads in the U.S.
With its award-winning Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine under the hood, Pacifica successfully traversed the Davis Dam route with the air conditioning on full blast while towing a 3,600 lb. trailer behind it.
Exploring “The Last Frontier”
In addition to hot weather testing in Yucca, each FCA vehicle goes through extensive cold weather evaluations at the Company’s 740-acre winter test track in Houghton, Mich., located in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
Pacifica received special attention when it came to cold weather evaluations as the minivan was brought to Fort Greely, Alaska, for three weeks of testing in frigid climates that reached temperatures of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit and below.
In Alaska, the minivan’s quality was put to the test on snow and ice to evaluate a number of critical systems, including traction control, anti-lock brakes, air-induction system, electronic stability control (ESC), driver-assist systems, cold-weather durability and engine cold start.
“The trip allowed our Pacifica engineers an opportunity to refine the minivan for customers as several ESC calibration adjustments were made to improve system smoothness and reduce noise, vibration and harshness,” said Garberding. “ESC enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability under all conditions. The technology provides driver benefits in critical driving situations, such as turns, and is valuable when driving on mixed surface conditions, including snow, ice or gravel.”
Owners can be confident their minivans will outlast almost anything nature throws at them. Through months of accelerated testing, Pacifica withstood a rigorous corrosion evaluation, the equivalent of which is enduring a decade in the worst corrosion climate in the world – an environment that produces significant snow, humidity and salt mist coming off the ocean.
Pacifica also endured corrosion tests on dozens of durability drives and with direct salt applications. To ensure thorough coverage, Pacifica was locked in chambers where salt was sprayed all over the vehicle body and engineers ran the minivan again and again through a salt splash trough. The trough exposed Pacifica’s undercarriage to high concentrations of salt, which are normally present on roadways, typically from de-icing salts.
Quality does not stop with the driver experience, especially in a vehicle like Pacifica, which can seat up to eight people. With the all-new, one-of-a-kind Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system featuring two high-definition 10-inch touchscreens, Pacifica transforms the passenger experience.
While thorough driver-focused testing was conducted during more than 3.4 million miles driven, additional tests were conducted by passengers seated in the second and third rows. Everything from the built-in apps and games on the Uconnect Theater to the seat comfort and ride quality were thoroughly exercised. Technicians worked through an extensive checklist to validate the functionality and reliability of the Uconnect system, as well as how compatible it is with a wide variety of mobile phones, music players and other media devices.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is available in five models and the Pacifica Hybrid in two models. The Chrysler Pacifica is now available in dealer showrooms, with the Pacifica Hybrid arriving in the second half of 2016.
Press release and photos courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with the exception of the first picture which is my own.