2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Monthly Update for April 2017
by Will Kaufman, Associate Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
This month our 2017 Chrysler Pacifica handled the usual commuting, including some school carpool duties, but also two road trips. One was a drive to Palm Springs for a guys' weekend; the other was a family trip to Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks in Utah. These journeys put the van's interior space and general ease of use in the spotlight, which is as it should be: Hauling families and their belongings from A to B is sort of the minivan's "raisin detra," as the French say.
As a special treat Mike Schmidt, Edmunds vehicle testing senior manager, pampered the Pacifica with a hand wash. Make sure to look for his meditation on bathing the car below.
Also in April, Automotive Editor Dan Frio took time to post a more in-depth look at how the Pacifica's semi-autonomous features, such as adaptive cruise control, work in the real world. Spoiler alert: They're not the best, but they're better than nothing.
All in all, our Chrysler won some friends this month, even if we do see room for improvement.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We put almost 1,500 miles on the Pacifica in April. The long highway drives were good for economy, with every fill this month averaging better than 20 mpg — a first since we bought the Pacifica. In fact, for April the Pacifica averaged 23.6 mpg, which is better than the EPA combined estimate of 22 mpg.
This exceptional showing only bumped our lifetime average up by 0.5, to 19 mpg. That's still well short of the EPA estimates.
Average lifetime mpg: 19
EPA mpg rating: 22 combined (18 city/28 highway)
Best fill mpg: 26.2
Best range: 430.6 miles
Current odometer: 14,660 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Maybe the seat is breaking in. I did not notice the long-distance seat discomfort on this road trip that I noticed on my last long drive with this van. That was a seven-hour drive to Yosemite National Park. I drove it 1,100 miles over the past week, with my longest leg at five hours." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing
"My buddies, both over 6 feet tall, had no issues with the amount of space offered." — David Landsness, head of video
"I love the panoramic sunroof for enjoying the sights of these parks. It was great for our last vacation to Yosemite, and it was stellar for the drives through both Bryce and Zion. I can't say that I'd ever recommend a sunroof prior to these road trips." — Mike Schmidt
"Road tripping is always fun in a minivan and the Pacifica is no exception. We enjoyed the Uconnect technology, which made it simple to sync our phones and take turns as the DJ. Sound quality was good, except when certain DJs would start multitasking and switch their focus to emails or texts. Noticeable interference could be heard through the sound system." — David Landsness
"It's funny to see what kids latch onto in cars these days. While picking up two of the grommets from school the other day, the 11-year-old neighbor boy hopped into the second row and proclaimed, 'Whoa, USB in the seat!' referring to the USB ports in the Pacifica's front seatbacks. Amusing. Maybe a little sad?
"Granted, it's a bit much to expect kids to get pumped on minivan design or whatever six-cylinder is under the hood. But, hey, the promise of uninterrupted power to your tablet is a powerful draw for a kid, I suppose." — Dan Frio, automotive editor
"The power Stow 'n Go rear seats made it super easy to store luggage for a quick road trip from L.A. to Palm Springs with friends." — David Landsness
"When minivans excel: Your brother calls and says he's taking his new (used) boat out for a shakedown. Bring a ski and any other water toys and meet him in Long Beach in an hour. Stash the third row, toss it all in in under three minutes, and go.
"Sure, you could do this in a crossover, a Suburban, even a Golf SportWagen. But a minivan is so massive, the liftover height so agreeable, you don't even need to think. You just load. Which frees your mind to think of other things: Hope the water's not too cold. Did I grab sunscreen? When was the last time I did a deepwater start?" — Dan Frio
"I've also experienced the grinding brake sound during adaptive cruise mode that Jonathan Elfalan mentioned earlier. To me, it sounds a bit like a motor: a flappy, flatulent motor. An ABS motor maybe? Maybe the ACC brain is sending a message requesting excessive braking force? The effect behind the wheel feels less dramatic than the sound.
"Oddly, I also noticed the noise simply when lifting off the throttle with ACC enabled but not engaged." — Dan Frio
"It still amazes me how informative it can be to simply wash a car by hand in my driveway every once in a while. I just finished a deep-clean of our Pacifica and somewhere amidst the grime, we grew a little closer.
"I saw things that I just had not paid attention to before: like how that little tab helps hold the rubber front cupholder insert in place and keeps debris from getting past its edges. And how the vacuum extension hose doesn't quite fit in the bin it was designed for, without some finesse. Or just how easy Stow 'n Go makes vacuuming the carpet. Also the anguish of discovering new paint nicks on the quarter panel and edge of the door handle. Still more, how light the hood release lever is to pull, and even though the hood itself latches securely at the center, its edges wiggle.
"It is easy to get caught up in the flurry of life. But I learned a lot today by just slowing down and giving the car a bath." — Mike Schmidt