Read the introduction of this vehicle to our long-term fleet.
See all of the long-term updates on this vehicle.
What We Got
After decades of offering two different minivans, Chrysler consolidated its lineup into a single model for 2017. The Chrysler Pacifica replaced both the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country, bringing with it a host of innovations and a dramatic new design. This was a big deal for Chrysler, and as such, it was at the top of our list of vehicles that deserved a place in our long-term fleet.
We opted for the top-level Limited to test every available bell and whistle. Our Pacifica had power-sliding rear doors and a power rear liftgate, rear parking sensors, an 8.4-inch infotainment and navigation touchscreen, dual sunroofs, an onboard vacuum cleaner, 13-speaker sound system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and even a heated steering wheel.
We added some optional equipment, too. The Tire and Wheel package ($995) got us 20-inch wheels that we found to be far more attractive than the stock design. The Advanced SafetyTec package ($1,995) added many high-tech driver assistance features. It included forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic wipers, automatic high-beams, lane departure warning and intervention, and an around-view camera system. Another $175 for the KeySense teenage-driver key rounded out the last of the options on our van.
After we added our options, our Pacifica listed at $46,460. After some negotiating with the Russell Westbrook Chrysler dealership in Van Nuys, California, we paid $43,289 and the test began. Here's how the Pacifica fared during its 12-month stay.
"From the driver's seat, the sound this engine makes over 5K rpm is addictive. It also goes down the road pretty well. I'm also impressed that the transmission will hold revs for a moment if you've been giving it the beans — no Sport mode needed." — Will Kaufman, associate staff writer
"We've had our Pacifica in our long-term fleet for about nine months now. As Josh Sadlier noted in our December update, the nine-speed automatic transmission, though potentially suspect, works just fine. Maybe there are others on our staff who are more critical and just haven't voiced their complaint. But in my opinion the tranny upshifts smoothly in normal driving and downshifts when I need it to." — Brent Romans, senior editor
"The Chrysler Pacifica's fuel economy is surprisingly good. My sister-in-law owns a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE and we took a trip up the coast to Santa Barbara. Our Pacifica returned 19 mpg along the way while her Sienna only managed 16 mpg." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician
"Twice now I've tried to open the driver-side sliding door of the Pacifica while pumping gas. It's a good thing this van is smarter than I am. As if politely suggesting, 'You're a moron,' it lets me crack the door open before tugging the handle back from my hand and closing the door completely." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"I can't get comfortable in the front seat. It's certainly not the worst, but the backrest is built in a way that made it hard for me to find a balance between too upright and too reclined. My upper back was starting to ache a little by the end of my 1.5-hour commute, and I can't think of a worse feature in a minivan than giving Dad a backache a few hours into the family road trip to the Grand Canyon." — Will Kaufman
"Really impressed by the third-row accommodations in this van. Legroom, under-thigh support, headroom, you name it. That's pretty much expected of a modern minivan of course, but, man, I could ride back here all day and feel pampered the whole time. In the Pacifica, even the third row is first-class." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"Our Pacifica has a roof rack with stowable cross rails. It only takes a minute or two to change it from full crossbars to no crossbars at all. And no tools are required because it's all done with thumbscrews. Also, note the molded-in tie-down hooks. Well done." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing
"It is certainly convenient that the second- and third-row seats of the Pacifica fold into the floor. But the flaps that cover the stowed seats sure are flimsy. I am afraid that I'll break something if I'm not careful about where I step back there." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"These vans might be designed for hauling kids, but they're equally adept at carrying adults in perfect comfort. Drove with another couple to an Anaheim Ducks game, and they were pleasantly surprised with the interior of the Pacifica. 'This looks and feels like a luxury car' was just one of their comments from the trip. 'The navigation screen in this car makes my BMW's system look ancient' was another." — Ed Hellwig, senior editor
"I 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
Audio and Technology
"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. ... 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
"As much as I like the crisp and clear navigation display on the Pacifica, the touchscreen controls are a little too slow to respond for my taste. I often zoom the display screen in and out to see what kind of traffic is up ahead. The '+' and '-' buttons are sometimes hard to hit just right. I always prefer a hard button or knob for that function." — Ed Hellwig
"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
"After I arrived and met with my service tech, he alerted me to a few technical updates [sliding-door module reflash and TSBs for the air conditioning and missing vacuum warning labels]. ... These things required a specialized technician, which meant the dealership would need the Pacifica all day versus the previously agreed-upon two hours. 'All day' subsequently turned into 'First thing tomorrow morning.' ? Total cost for this experience was $122.82." — Michael Massey, vehicle testing assistant
"After six weeks, the Pacifica saga was over. We now have two fully functional standard Chrysler fobs, one KeySense fob that works as intended and more keys in various states of operation. Here's the full breakdown:
Current key count: 7
Chrysler-branded keys (fobs don't work; keys don't work): 2
KeySense-branded keys (fob works in KeySense mode; key works): 1
KeySense-branded keys (fob works in Normal mode; keys don't work): 2
Chrysler-branded keys (fob works in Normal mode; keys work): 2
Finally." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"Only one thing prevented me from getting a good night's sleep in our Chrysler Pacifica ... the air mattress I forgot to bring. Spacewise, it's a great minivan for car-camping because of its Stow 'n Go middle-row seats." — Dan Edmunds
"I know the Pacifica is an all-new vehicle, but for those of us who remember the old long-term 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and its Chrysler Town & Country counterpart, there's quite a stigma to overcome. Those vans did not exactly inspire confidence with their build quality or overall refinement. I'm pleased to report that the Pacifica puts them squarely in the rearview mirror. Nothing jumps out at me as obvious corner-cutting in the Pacifica's interior, and the driving experience is pleasantly smooth. I'd even call it graceful. I genuinely enjoy spending time with this van. It's a huge step forward in an automotive era that's generally defined by incremental progress." — Josh Sadlier
Maintenance & Repairs
Routine service for the Pacifica came in 10,000-mile intervals. That made for just two routine dealer visits during our test: one at 10,000 miles and another at 20,000 miles. But scheduled items weren't the only ones addressed at these appointments. And those weren't the only times we had to see a dealer for maintenance. We spent a total of $267 for regular service.
Before the Pacifica asked for its first oil change or tire rotation, we had a bit of a debacle with key fobs. At the time of purchase our van had three keys. One was labeled KeySense and designated to limit some features for teen drivers. The other two allowed normal operation. In our case they were mixed up, and it took five dealer visits and six weeks of phone calls and part-ordering to make it right.
In the past year our Pacifica also had some technical service bulletins (TSBs) addressed. One included a reflash to improve the operation of both sliding doors. The right side later needed further attention when it started groaning each time it opened. A second TSB checked for air-conditioning leaks, of which ours had none. The third was issued to affix missing vacuum warning labels. None of these repairs required a separate dealer visit. The only unresolved issue during our test was that of a failed USB port in the dash. Parts were ordered under warranty. The van spent a total of six days out of service in some state of repair.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The EPA estimates 22 combined mpg (18 city/28 highway) for the Pacifica. Our lifetime average was 19.5 mpg, with a best single tank of 28.7 mpg. The longest distance traveled between fuel fill-ups was 435 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
We purchased our Pacifica for $43,289 one year ago. Now 22,532 miles later, Edmunds TMV Calculator valued the Chrysler at $34,235 based on a private-party sale. Our video team had it sights set on the minivan due to its exceptional functionality as a support vehicle, so the sale was easy. This car was retired from editorial service and sold to another department inside Edmunds for exactly the TMV price. That marked 21 percent depreciation.
Strong engine and smooth-shifting transmission. Capable of delivering up to 28 mpg and 430 miles on a tank. Stow 'n Go seating has definite advantages over the seat-storage model of its competitors. Easy-to-configure roof rails for added storage.
Driver's seat didn't feel comfortable for all drivers. Many of the electronic driver assistance features felt as if they could use another round of refinement. Our dealer service experiences were hit-and-miss. Flaps covering the stowed seats are flimsy.
Solid all-around performance, a spacious and flexible cabin, and a long list of useful features make the Pacifica one of the best minivans on the road today.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$266.53 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$3 for a jug of windshield wiper fluid|
|Warranty Repairs:||TSB repairs: reflash power-sliding doors; add lubrication for right-rear door latch; check for air-conditioning leaks; affix missing vacuum warning labels. Replace nonfunctioning USB port.|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||5|
|Days Out of Service:||7|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||28.7 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||10.2 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||19.5 mpg|
|Best Range:||435 miles|
|True Market Value at service end:||$34,235 (private-party sale)|
|What it Sold for:||$34,235|
|Depreciation:||$9,054 (21% of paid price)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||22,532 miles|
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.