Originally introduced in 2004 as a crossover/SUV, the 2004-2008 Chrysler Pacifica did not live up to expectations. Perhaps it was just ahead of its time as they are now popular with millennials on the used market. Fast-forward to 2016, Chrysler reintroduced the Pacifica for the 2017 model year as a minivan aimed at taking on the SUV market head-on. And now, the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica is turning heads and winning awards.
2020 Chrysler Pacifica highlights
The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica is available with one engine and transmission choice. Generally, more options are better, but the Pacifica’s 287-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine is a solid power plant with its 262 lb-ft of torque and refined nine-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway are among the best in its class, but those wanting more fuel efficiency should consider the Pacifica Hybrid.
As a minivan, the Chrysler Pacifica offers as-expected ride quality with a suspension capable of absorbing most road surface flaws without jostling its occupants. Better-than-average handling with responsive steering, minimal body lean, and strong braking characteristics tend to make the Pacifica feel much sportier than its minivan exterior suggests.
The interior of the base Touring trim is reasonably well-appointed with cloth upholstery, seating for up to eight, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.
Upgraded trim packages offer leather upholstery, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated and ventilated seats, power-folding third-row seats, stow-and-go rear seats for added flexibility. Car and Driver suggests opting for the Touring L trim with power-operated sliding side doors and liftgate, rain-detecting windshield wipers, and a heated steering wheel.
Chrysler Pacifica received an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick for 2019, which carries over to 2020 as the Pacifica is structurally unchanged over these years. The Pacifica earned the highest “Good” rating in all crash tests except for an “Acceptable” during the passenger side front small overlap crash test. The optional front crash prevention system earned a “Superior” rating, but headlights ranked from “Acceptable” to “Poor” based on the trim level.
Where the Pacifica misses the mark
While overall fit and finish are above average for a minivan, there are a few sub-par plastic pieces in the cabin’s interior, and the stow-and-go seats are not as comfortable as some rivals’ versions. It is important to note here that the Pacifica Hybrid does not include the stow-and-go seating option because that underfloor space is dedicated to the hybrid’s battery bank storage.
Car and Driver points out that there is no option for an all-wheel-drive version. While that might have been true for some 2020 buyers, today’s shoppers will be happy to learn that a late entry into the 2020 Pacifica lineup, the Launch Edition, and 2021 Chrysler Pacifica models are available with all-wheel-drive.
Car and Driver’s best minivan
To quote the review team at Car and Driver, the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica is “the best minivan you can buy—and better than most SUVs too.” That is high praise for the Pacifica from a team that makes no secret of its admiration for minivans in general. The Chrysler Pacifica has also earned honors in Car and Driver’s 10 Best Trucks and SUVs list earning the title of Best Van in 2019.
Car and Driver has tested both hybrid and regular gasoline-powered Chrysler Pacificas in 40,000-mile road tests where they were consistent staff favorites. Among the most notable Pacifica features are the user-friendly infotainment system, the fact that a hybrid option is available, and the standard second- and third-row stow-able seats in the non-hybrid model.