2021 Chrysler Pacifica exterior
Jerry Kronenberg

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Can Handle Pretty Much Anything a Family Can Face

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica exterior
Jerry Kronenberg

Combat Chrysler

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica minivan comes with enough seating capacity, cargo space, and available features to handle pretty much any contingency a family might face on the road —  from cranky kids to spilled food. Significantly refreshed for 2021, the seven-passenger model (base price: $35,045 excluding destination fee) boasts an upgraded interior and exterior, safety features such as available all-wheel drive, and family-friendly options including preloaded video games to keep the kiddies happy.

I recently tested the top-of-the-line Pacifica Pinnacle trimline, which came with a $53,390 sticker price (excluding a $1,495 destination fee).

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica exterior
Jerry Kronenberg

Exterior

On the outside, my gray test model crossed classic minivan looks with an aerodynamic feel. A short, stubby hood and black grille outfitted with a Chrysler logo swept back to large front doors with automatic folding mirrors. Those led back to 20-inch polished aluminum wheels and large power-sliding rear doors that provided easy access to the van's second- and third-row seats. My test model also came with a roof rack and a great panoramic sunroof. A large liftgate with a handy rear wiper opened to the Pacifica's rear cargo bay.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica front seats
Jerry Kronenberg

Front Seats

Inside, my test Pacifica featured great tan perforated-leather seats with a nice stitching pattern. These heated and cooled front seats offered excellent headroom, legroom, and hip room to the driver and front passenger thanks to eight-position electric seat adjusters. The model also came with black-and-tan stitched leather on the door interiors, as well as black stitched leather along the dashboard and heated steering wheel.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica climate control
Jerry Kronenberg

Electronics

My test model's instruments included an easy-to-read analog speedometer and tachometer, along with a crystal-clear 10.1-inch touchscreen to control the Pacifica's navigation, climate, and AM/FM/SiriusXM/Bluetooth audio system. The three-zone climate system's controls were especially intuitive. The model included buttons and knobs as backup controls for the audio and climate system.

Additionally, the Pacifica comes equipped with Alexa, Apple CarPlay, and Google Android Auto, and my test model came with a wireless phone charger, a great 360-degree backup camera, and a cool "FamCam" — a set of cameras that let mom or dad see what's going on in the second and third rows from the touchscreen display so they can decide for themselves whether Timmy really did start it or not.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica second row seats
Jerry Kronenberg

Rear Seats

My test Pacifica's great second row featured two captain's chairs with armrests on each side and seat-matching pillows. Both provided excellent headroom, legroom, and hip room. Each seat also came with its own great infotainment screen so kids and adults can stream videos or play built-in games such as bingo, chess, and even an electronic version of that old family-vacation classic, the license-plate game. My test model offered two other nice family features in back: a handy household-style electrical outlet for small devices and, even better, a built-in vacuum cleaner for dealing with spills or other messes.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica third row seats
Jerry Kronenberg

Third-Row Seats

The Pacifica's third-row seats offer decent headroom, legroom, and hip room for two passengers, although adults would find more than city trips to be a tad uncomfortable. These seats are theoretically designed for three people, but that's only realistic for smaller kids if you're traveling for any length of time.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica cargo bay
Jerry Kronenberg

Cargo Bay

All the way back, the Pacifica's deep cargo bay features enough room for a suitcase and a few knapsacks or four or five grocery bags even when all seats are in use. It also comes with Chrysler's great Stow 'n Go seating system, which allows you to easily fold the rear seats down flat into the vehicle's floor. My test model's third-row seats came with an electric version to do this automatically at the touch of a button. This created a generous 87.5 cubic-foot space that can accommodate five or six large suitcases or a small dresser. If that's not enough space, you can also easily fold the second row's Stow 'n Go seats below the vehicle's floor as well, creating a truly cavernous 140.5 cubic feet of storage. That can accommodate a fairly large piece of furniture or probably eight large suitcases. Even when you're using the second-row seats, you can still use the Stow 'n Go under-floor compartments, which the seats normally fold into, as a place for some extra hidden storage.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica fam cam
Jerry Kronenberg

Road Test

On the road, my test Pacifica's 287-horsepower V-6 engine, all-wheel drive system, and nine-speed automatic transmission teamed up to provide a great family ride. The model offers something of a "high-up" road view, although not as much as you'd get with a sport utility vehicle, and the Pacifica's large windows and front and rear windshields provide excellent sightlines to the front, side and rear. Backing up and parking are relatively easy given the Pacifica's large size, and the model corners, brakes, and accelerates well. The test model revved up a tad noisily to 6,200 rpm going from zero mph to 60 mph, but the model generally provided a smooth, quiet ride.

Chrysler also boasts that the Pacifica comes standard with 97 standard safety features, from LED lights to an automatic emergency-braking system that kicks in if pedestrians cross your path suddenly.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica front exterior
Jerry Kronenberg

Fuel Efficiency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had yet to rate the Pacifica AWD for fuel efficiency as of this writing, but listed front-wheel drive models at 19 mpg/city, 28 mpg/highway, and 23 mpg/combined. During a weeklong test drive, I logged a combined 24 mpg — not bad for such a large vehicle. My test model's unobtrusive start/stop technology system shut the engine off when idling at stop lights to improve fuel efficiency.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica exterior
Jerry Kronenberg

Pricing

The Pacifica's $36,540 base price comes in a tad on the high side compared with competitors such as the Honda Odyssey ($30,790), Kia Sedona ($30,400), and Toyota Sienna ($34,460). But my $53,390 top-of-the-line Pacifica Pinnacle included pretty much everything you could ask for in terms of luxury accoutrements and extra features. And as the Pacifica is a large vehicle from a U.S. automaker, shoppers can expect to find plenty of negotiating room and incentives on the model. As of this writing, Chrysler was offering qualified Pacifica buyers $5,000 in "bonus cash" or $3,000 of bonus cash plus up to five years of zero percent financing.

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