Minivan Marvel: The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.
The backlash against minivans is a real thing.  Ford and General Motors have been sent from the segment with their tails between their legs.  The only major players left are the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and the replacement for the two minivans that combined, ruled the sales charts, the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan  It is the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.

Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
2017 Chrysler Pacifica.
If the name sounds familiar, it could be because you remember the 2004-2008 Chrysler Pacifica, a crossover SUV that really never caught on.

More likely, it is because you watch television:

That's comedian Jim Gaffigan, who has done a series of these spots, the aim of which is to make the Pacifica either hip, attractive to dads or at least acceptable in ways other minivans are not to most people in their child-bearing years.

The good news is that in the new Pacifica, Chrysler has the product to back it up.  The design is fresh and appealing, the 3.6-liter 24-valve V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission combine to earn an EPA fuel economy estimate of 18 city/28 highway, there is a hybrid version on the way and Chrysler has looked at every traditional strength of the minivan and thought of ways to make it more contemporary and elegant.

Interior view of 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
2017 Chrysler Pacifica interior.
The interior is all about space, air, surfaces, textures and contrasts.  Especially in higher-end trim levels, the effect is like having your kitchen re-done with a very large budget. One holdover is Chrysler's brilliant Stow-N-Go seating. May they never change that.

Our test vehicle was the Touring, one up from the base LX (you can compare all five models here--ed.).  It's still very well equipped at a very reasonable base price of $30,495. So well equipped, in fact, that the lone extra-cost option on the one we drove was the power liftgate, which cost $495.  With $995 destination charge, the as-tested price came to $31,985.

There is no question that Chrysler has raised the bar for minivans in terms of design, features and desirability.  It will be interesting to see how Toyota and Honda, as well as lower-volume minivan makers like Kia, respond.