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The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Does Poorly in a Major Category

Minivans are great cars for drivers with large families. Nowadays, these vehicles can’t even be considered “uncool”; most have sophisticated interiors, the latest technology, and powerful engines. One of the most popular minivans you can buy is the Chrysler Pacifica.

In addition to seating and cargo capacity, an important factor when choosing a minivan is its reliability. Many buy a minivan to serve as a family hauler for at least a decade or more. Because of this, it’s essential that the vehicle doesn’t need frequent repairs. While there are a lot of positive aspects about the Chrysler Pacifica, its reliability is not one of them.

Disappointing reliability scores

If you check Consumer Reports, the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica currently has the lowest possible reliability rating. In fact, the only Pacifica that doesn’t have the lowest rating is the model from 2019. However, the 2020 model does have a five-star rating from the NHTSA and mostly good scores on the IIHS’s test.

The Pacifica underwent a major revamp in 2017, so it might just need time to find its stride. The 2021 Pacifica, releasing at the end of the year, will include improvements like all-wheel drive and standard LED headlights. Still, Consumer Reports predicts that the car’s reliability will stay at rock bottom.

How reliability is calculated

According to the site, CR determines a car’s reliability through thorough research. First, an auto questionnaire is sent to some owners of the vehicle in question. Drivers are asked how long the vehicle has held up over a few years of ownership. With this data, CR issues a rating based on how well that vehicle performed. 

For newer cars, CR issues a predicted reliability rating based on its past performance. CR also lists “trouble spots” for each vehicle, detailing specific repair issues that drivers need to know about. These can include minor annoyances like in-car electronics or more severe issues like transmission and engine failures.

The Chrysler Pacifica’s problem areas

In addition to an average owner satisfaction score, the Chrysler Pacifica has quite a few trouble spots. During its first model year, the Pacifica had problems like malfunctioning GPS systems, CD players, and infotainment screens. The 2017 Pacifica would also surprise its owners by playing music at random.

The 2017 Pacifica also had some major transmission problems. Owners reported that the transmission would disengage itself multiple times while driving. There was also a notable delay when drivers were trying to accelerate the car. When it found the right gear, the car would jerk forward, causing many drivers discomfort. Some also said that a “service required” light would come on despite the vehicle shifting normally.

2018 Pacifica models had the same electrical problems along with some new suspension complaints. Drivers reported that the front wheel bearings needed to be tightened. One driver’s front axle popped out of place unexpectedly as the car was in motion. Thankfully, the 2019 Pacifica has no hazardous trouble spots besides some malfunctioning electronics.

How it performed on the road test

In contrast to its low reliability, the 2020 Pacifica got great marks on CR’s road test. Testers appreciated how spacious it was and the abundance of included safety features. Behind the wheel, the Pacifica offers a peaceful drive with no disturbances from bumps and potholes.

Wind noise is minimal, and the engine is mostly quiet, save for the occasional growl during acceleration. Despite its large size, the Pacifica is also quite easy to handle during sharp turns. However, CR testers noted that the brakes felt too mushy for their liking.

Overall, the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica is an excellent minivan to drive. Just be sure to attend regular maintenance appointments so you can fix any potential problems early.