Chrysler Pacifica History: From Crossover to Best-Selling Minivan

Chrysler is one of the oldest and most popular car brands in American history, and the Pacifica has had a similar storied past. Originally produced as a crossover SUV, it didn’t take long before Chrysler turned it into a minivan. Here’s a look at just how the Chrysler Pacifica went from being a crossover to being a best-selling minivan.

A brief history of the Chrysler Pacifica

As Autotrader wrote, when Chrysler debuted the Pacifica as a crossover in 2004, the Pacifica was ahead of the times. It was almost as practical as a minivan, but it was sportier than one, too. It had three rows of seats, adequate amount of space, and it only cost about $31,000 at the time. However, rather than customers embracing the Pacifica, it became clear that the Pacifica just wasn’t practical enough.

When given a choice between buying a Town & Country, which was Chrysler’s minivan at the time, or a Chrysler Pacifica, customers chose the cheaper and more practical Town & Country. After all, the Town & Country was larger, more spacious, and about $3,000 cheaper than the Pacifica. This lack of sales led to Chrysler ultimately ending the Pacifica in 2008 after just five model years of existence. 

The Town & Country drove on as Chrysler’s luxury minivan option until 2016. At that point, Chrysler decided to give the Pacifica nameplate to its minivans. Thus far, it’s proven to be a worthy successor to the Town & Country.

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is a best-selling minivan

RELATED: The Chrysler Pacifica Blew Every Other Minivan Away in 2020 Sales

The customers who chose the Chrysler Town & Country over the Chrysler Pacifica may be getting the last laugh, as the current Pacifica is a souped-up version of the Town & Country. As Car and Driver wrote, nowadays, the Pacifica is one of the best minivans on the market. At a starting price tag of about $37,000, it’s about as affordable as it used to be over 15 years ago. 

However, those extra years and that name change has given the Pacifica a lot of extra features and capabilities. The standard Pacifica comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gets 287 hp while, at the same time, getting 31 MPG on the highway. Chrysler also offers a hybrid option that gets 82 MPGe combined, and both numbers are pretty impressive for a big minivan. 

And of course, with that size, comes a lot of space and features. The Pacifica has eight seats, and its Stow ‘n Go system is very useful for maximizing cargo capacity, according to Car and Driver. Additionally, a 10.1-inch touchscreen display is standard, and the Pacifica also has plenty of smart features that a parent may want or need for their minivan.

Tough competition is ahead

While the Chrysler Pacifica is Car and Driver’s pick for the best minivan on the market, there are a few good competitors. In fact, Chrysler started competing with itself in 2020 when it introduced the Voyager to the minivan segment. Like Car and Driver said however, the Voyager is simply the Pacifica’s low-end trims with a new name. As such, the Voyager, which starts at $29,000, is basically a more affordable Pacifica.

Other than the usual suspects like the Toyota Sienna or the Honda Odyssey, the Pacifica’s next big competitor may be the Kia Carnival. Just like how the Pacifica replaced the Town & Country, however, the Carnival is Kia’s replacement for the Sedona. And just like how the Pacifica was a worthy successor to the Town & Country, Car and Driver ranked the Carnival above the Sedona. 

The Carnival, which starts at $33,000, is cheaper than the Chrysler Pacifica. However, like the Pacifica, the Carnival is a spacious and stylish car with a lot of practical features. That said, the Carnival doesn’t have a hybrid option just yet, so the Pacifica may remain No. 1 for now.