Reader Overview: 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle AWD

Minivan-loving dad of 4 not impressed with exterior however blown away by inside and dealing with

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Minivans, Ryan Heagy believes, have quite a few attributes over SUVs. “They’ve extra handy rear passenger doorways that slide open as an alternative of swinging out, they don’t use as a lot gas, they deal with lots of people, and, minivans deal with extra like a automobile,” explains the Calgary dad of 4 children who vary from six to 14.

Given his minivan appreciation, Heagy not too long ago examined Chrysler’s refreshed for 2021 Pacifica Pinnacle AWD. Chrysler pioneered the minivan market near 4 many years in the past and continues to supply two completely different variations of the venerable haulers: the Grand Caravan and the upper finish Pacifica.

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The Pacifica identify was first used on a midsize CUV constructed from 2004 to 2008. The identify was dormant till Chrysler retired its City and Nation minivan, changing it with the re-designed from the bottom up and re-branded Pacifica for the 2017 mannequin yr. On the time, the Pacifica rolled out on an all-new platform with extra dynamically styled sheet metallic. For 2021, the Pacifica beneficial properties a brand new entrance fascia and grille flanked by reimagined LED headlights. The again finish of the minivan has additionally been restyled and handled to a brand new taillight that spans the width of the liftgate. Beneath the hood lives a 3.6-litre V6 engine providing 287 horsepower and 262 lbs.-ft of torque. It’s mated to a nine-speed computerized transmission and on all trims, from base Touring to top-of-the-line Pinnacle, all-wheel drive is a $3,000 possibility. Heagy’s Pinnacle AWD was completed in Velvet Purple Pearl paint, a $100 possibility that, along with the trailer tow bundle at $895, pushed the ultimate worth as examined to a couple {dollars} lower than $69,000 earlier than taxes.

“I wasn’t too impressed with the outside styling,” Heagy says of his first impression. “You may’t assist however really feel they took the physique design from the late ‘90s or early 2000s and simply up to date it. The narrowed headlights and rounded entrance appear to harken again to the nice previous days, however the rear of the van has extra assertive physique traces.”

He appreciated the decrease stance and huge 20-inch alloy wheels, and says these options helped give the automobile some further enchantment. Heagy was extra impressed when he opened the motive force’s door to disclose the two-tone black and caramel leather-based trimmed inside.

“It was evident Chrysler spent quite a lot of time excited about and designing this inside,” he explains, and provides, “It was merely stunning, and this isn’t the van you grew up with. Leather-based, wooden accents and crisp screens and features trace at a machine that’s price a glance.”

As soon as within the 12-way energy adjustable driver’s seat, which was straightforward to set as much as his liking, Heagy says one disadvantage was the situation of the seat belt buckle receptor. It was about one inch too low, and he struggled to get his hand within the area supplied to buckle up. “I bought used to it, however I didn’t prefer it,” he explains. In any other case, he discovered accessing all different controls a straightforward proposition.

Ryan in the driver’s seat.
Ryan within the driver’s seat.Picture by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

“I didn’t must open a handbook and all the things was the place I’d count on it to be,” he says. “Some controls had been obtainable on the touchscreen, however it was straightforward to work by, you weren’t digging by menus to search out what you wanted. The view of the instrument cluster was an eight out of 10. The steering wheel type of lined up the precise hand aspect of the speedometer above 140 km/h, and never that you just’ll be touring that quick, however you’ll be able to’t see the entire gauge.”

Match and end was first-rate, Heagy thought, and he was shocked by the general high quality of supplies and building all through. He was a bit involved concerning the location of the rotary gear selector knob, although.

“It was proper subsequent to the amount knob,” he says. “I by no means had any mishaps, however I might see it occurring. As soon as, my spouse went to regulate the amount on the radio and had her hand on the selector knob. And whereas lots of people may use the steering wheel mounted controls to alter the amount, my muscle reminiscence goes to the knob on the sprint.”

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On the highway, Heagy discovered the V6 engine supplied the Pacifica with simply the correct amount of energy. It was responsive, and the nine-speed transmission shifted gears seamlessly and quietly. However, he says, “With the auto cease/begin, it typically felt that would have been only a bit quicker.”

Dealing with was flawless, he says. The Pacifica went precisely the place he wished it to go, and he by no means detected any quantity of understeer. There was no physique roll, and he did attempt to push it a few instances to see how it might reply.

“I used to be impressed,” he says. “I imply, you’re not doing a slalom course, however it was very secure. It had slightly stiffer trip, however that helped contribute to the sportier really feel.

“Totally loaded with seven passengers (Heagy’s brother-in-law lives with the household) you felt such as you needed to plan your braking a bit, however it wasn’t unhealthy. By way of highway noise, there wasn’t any other than the child’s squabbling about who will get to sit down the place.”

Loading the van took no time in any respect due to the twin energy sliding rear passenger doorways, and Heagy was impressed with the third row Stow ‘n Go fold in flooring seats.

“What couldn’t you haul on this?” Heagy requested. “I didn’t do it, however I’m certain it might carry the proverbial four-foot by eight-foot sheet of plywood; or a lot of suitcases. There have been loads of further storage spots and a great deal of console space for storing, plus there have been USB ports in all places.”

Closing phrases on the Pacifica Pinnacle, then. Heagy says, “It might work properly for any household, and it might make a superb lengthy distance cruiser. The styling did develop on me, and I actually didn’t wish to give this one again.”


Day 1

The metallic paint job, chrome accents and outsized wheels assist with the enchantment of the van, however I felt the outside was a little bit of a yawn. The inside is a totally completely different story. It’s stunning inside.

Day 2

Night time driving: the gauge cluster was lit completely and was truly simpler to learn than throughout the day. The top unit additionally had an evening mode that made it simpler to learn and far much less distracting than I believed. One function that I observed was that if you flip a nook an auxiliary gentle activates illuminating the curb or no matter else is on the within radius of your flip. It was a welcome shock.

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Day 3

Getting increasingly more used to driving the van. The texture of the suspension is stiffer than you’ll count on in a minivan. It isn’t sports activities automobile stiff, however the van does deal with fairly properly and extra like a automobile. Additionally drove by a building zone that was fairly tough and included a detour by a ditch and the van dealt with all of it with ease. The bumps had been dampened by the suspension though the trip was a slight bit rougher than what I anticipated, a trade-off for higher dealing with.

2021 Pacifica Pinnacle AWD.
2021 Pacifica Pinnacle AWD.Picture by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Day 4

Whereas driving round I observed a button on the console that gave the impression to be a button that self-parks the van. I pressed the button whereas driving alongside a line of parallel parked autos and it sensed a gap. It advised me to drive ahead a bit extra, cease and put the van in reverse and let go of the steering wheel. I did because it advised me and to my shock the van steered and parked itself whereas I feathered the brake. It then requested me to place it in drive and it tucked in properly behind the automobile forward of me. Not too unhealthy for a pc. I attempted this in a pair different spots and my solely qualm is that typically it parks slightly too distant from the curb.

Day 5

I explored the display a bit extra to determine just a few issues that the van might do. Total, the display was very intuitive and discovering management places for the heated/cooled seats, local weather management, navigation and leisure had been all very straightforward to determine.

Regardless of my first impression of the styling this van has actually grown on me.

Day 6

Loaded up the household for a drive. The children loved the screens within the backs of the entrance seats. Gone are the times of screens that solely play a DVD or Blu-ray. These touchscreens come preloaded with interactive video games. There may be additionally an “Are we there but” app that you could enter your vacation spot and maintain the small passengers from asking the age-old query because it retains them knowledgeable with notifications. After the primary drive the youngsters all wished to sit down within the center seats to have the ability to use the screens.

Day 7

Took the van to a house enchancment retailer. I introduced my purchases to the again of the van and anticipated to must flip the seats into the cargo mode manually. I used to be improper. All I needed to do was push a button and the headrests flipped down and the seats folded neatly into the cargo area. It was actually nice; I might be nervous about how these motors would carry out within the useless of winter however on this heat August day they labored completely. Fueled up the van (40L for the week, averaging 11.4L/100km) and washed it. Regardless of my first impression of the styling this van has actually grown on me.

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