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Minivans have such a bad social image. Still, more and more families returning to this most practical of SUV alternatives. While the selection is pretty slim, the features and amenities abound. In fact, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica probably suits your needs better than any SUV.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle on display |Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica easily compares to other midsize three-row SUVs. Unless you just can’t drive a minivan, there are very few reasons to choose an SUV over this versatile family vehicle. Others like the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Kia Telluride are great choices, but the Pacifica makes a lot of sense for drivers with families.

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica dominates these SUVs in one major area

If you have a family, then you know it’s rarely ever just people you haul around in your people mover. Space for gear, backpacks––the family dog even––is essential. In terms of space for humans and their things, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica absolutely crushes its SUV competition.

These three midsize three-row SUVs can certainly carry people and things. But the maximum cargo capacity is significantly smaller in these family vehicles. The numbers tell the whole story.

The 2021 Highlander, according to Toyota’s website, has a maximum cargo capacity of 84.3 cubic ft. Kia shows a capacity of 87 cubic ft. for the 2021 Kia Telluride SUV. Over at Honda, the 2021 Honda Pilot takes the lead with 109 cubic ft. of max cargo capacity.

A dark-green metallic 2021 Honda Pilot Elite midsize crossover SUV parked on rocks atop a dirt mound
2021 Honda Pilot Elite | American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica takes the win. An abundance of cargo is something you’ll never regret in a family car. Chrysler specs tell us that the Pacifica minivan boasts up to 140.5 cubic ft. in terms of maximum cargo capacity.

Performance is remarkably similar

The base model of all four of these family vehicle options runs some version of a V-6 engine. The Honda Pilot and Kia Telluride only have one engine option. Both the Toyota Highlander and the Chrysler Pacifica boast a range of powertrains, including hybrid models. All four have an all-wheel-drive option.

A silver 2021 Toyota Highlander SUV parked near a picturesque pond
2021 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

If we compare the entry level version of these family vehicle options, we see quickly that they are quite similar when it comes to performance. Each V-6 engine generates from 280 hp (Pilot) to 295 hp (Highlander). The all spec at 262 or 263 lb-ft of torque.

The Pacifica minivan does it all for your family

If you are looking for a value-packed, versatile family vehicle, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica easily holds its own against the leading midsize three-row SUVs. All four run comparable V-6 engines. So they all have very similar fuel mileage as well. The Pacifica minivan is rated for 19 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg on average.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica minivan at Auto Show
2021 Chrysler Pacifica | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Only the 2021 Toyota Highlander tops that average, and only by 1 mpg. If you want space, the incredible convenience of sliding doors, and a V-6 engine that can tow up to 3,600 pounds, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica should be on your radar. The SUVs can tow up to 5,000 pounds, so if you need more towing strength, that would be one reason to go in the other direction.

All of these vehicles start in the mid to low $30,000s. However, if you go the website to build one, you soon realize that the Pacifica minivan actually has a lot more to offer in terms of customization and packages. The Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot offer little option to add on goodies in their base model versions.

The Kia Telluride gives buyers more options, but it keeps coming back to the massive cargo difference. Plus, if you don’t know the beauty of having sliding doors on your vehicle when a rambunctious crew ramrods their way out of the car at your destination then you are seriously missing out. Unless you absolutely need more cargo space, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica probably suits your family better than any of these SUVs.


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