2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Going Camping to Get Acquainted
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editors on August 18, 2016
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica wasn't in our fleet long before I put in my request for the keys. I needed something big, with lots of seating and storage space and our other minivan, the Kia Sedona, was on it's way out.
I was going backpacking with three friends and I needed to haul four days worth of gear. This meant four big backpacks ranging from 45 to 80 liters each. Add to the mix a few boxes with food for base camp, tents and hiking poles, and it was a heaping helping of cargo.
The Pacifica hardly noticed.
Even with all our stuff in the back, there was plenty of room for more. And, if we needed it, there was additional under-seat storage available, too. Oh, and don't forget about the roof racks. This thing has nearly endless small-item storage as well.
It was about 250 miles to the campground in Sequoia National Park, then another 250 back through the center of California. Temperatures ranged between 90 and 110 degrees on both legs of the trip, but we were all comfortable and cool the entire way.
One problem I did have, was with the Pacifica's nine-speed transmission. It hunted and searched for gears going uphill, and took quite a long time to downshift when I went to pass. I've had some time to drive the Pacifica since this first trip and I still get the impression that the nine-speed is to blame for poor throttle response and weird behavior when climbing a hill.
Mileage suffered a bit, thanks to the many hills, elevation gains and high-temps (constantly blasting A/C), so over 500 miles the Pacifica returned an average of 22.7 mpg (just above the EPA estimated 22 mpg combined), but there's plenty of time left to get it over the 28 mpg highway mark.
Aside from those two small gripes, the Pacifica performed extremely well. Every passenger had positive reviews about the seats, the visibility and the on-road comfort. This minivan has big potential.
Travis Langness, Automotive Editor @ 1,757 miles