2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Monthly Update for November 2016
by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
Unlike in previous months, our 2017 Chrysler Pacifica spent more time on the open highway than it did on school duty or in commuter traffic. In the month of November, the van was largely hogged by me. And in typical minivan fashion, it spent its days shuttling our crew to and from family gatherings.
I initially snagged the Pacifica for a trip to meet relatives in Yosemite National Park. It was during these 700 miles that I gathered most of my driving impressions. But after the big trip we also took day trips all over Southern California to hang with family, including over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Almost three weeks' worth of adventures spanned the counties of Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Orange, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The Pacifica covered nearly 1,600 miles this month. Many of these were on the highway, so it wasn't a huge surprise that we increased our lifetime fuel economy by 0.5 mpg and recorded our highest range on a single tank, though it beat the previous record by just two miles. Our most efficient tanks for November were 24.4 and 24.3 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 19.0 mpg
EPA mpg rating: 22 mpg combined (18 city/28 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.0 mpg
Best range: 426.6 miles
Current odometer: 8,190 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Drove the Pacifica to Yosemite National Park last weekend. One feature of our Pacifica Limited that added a special element to the trip was its dual sunroof. So much of the scenery down in the valley is vertical, so the ability to look through the roof rather than crane our necks to see out of the side windows made the views that much more memorable." — Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
"After two six-hour stints in the driver seat of our Pacifica, I can confidently say that it is not comfortable. The seat bottom does not angle upward enough to allow my legs a chance to relax. And the resulting position keeps my right foot at such an angle that the top of my ankle cramps up. The awkwardly firm seat padding seals the deal. This is not my favorite road-trip minivan." — Mike Schmidt
"This is not a refined adaptive cruise control system. It's as if it slows down in two stages. Stage one is smooth. It reacts well to the vehicle ahead and initially squeezes the brakes lightly. Stage two is frantic. As the car ahead continues to slow, the Pacifica waits too long and then grabs the brakes heavily to compensate. It uses a similar logic when accelerating back up to speed. It waits a bit too long then surges abruptly." — Mike Schmidt
"I tried the automatic high-beam headlight control for the first time along Highway 41 entering Yosemite. On gradual sweeping turns, it worked OK. It dimmed the lights a bit later than I would have, but it did so before blinding oncoming traffic. But on tighter turns, it failed so frequently that I turned it off. I could see the lights of oncomers illuminate the trees before we entered a turn, but the van had no idea. It would dim the beams way too late, if at all." — Mike Schmidt
"The Advanced SafetyTec package includes lane departure warning and lane departure intervention. Both drive me nuts. If I don't signal when changing lanes, the Pacifica thinks I am wandering in my lane. It will fight my steering input, nudge the wheel back to where it thinks I should be and center me in the lane, if I allow it. Maybe that's forgivable on the rare occasion I fail to signal. But it also tugs the wheel near poorly painted lane markers or if I swerve gently to avoid an obstacle in the road ahead. It can be desensitized but not deactivated. I appreciate what it's trying to do. It just isn't good at it." — Mike Schmidt