With the rumors that Chrysler was adrift in the marketplace due to its slumping sales, as well as its currently moribund two model lineup, FCA wanted to show the world that rumors about the impending death of Chrysler were greatly exaggerated, and that there is still some life left in the iconic American brand. The firm chose to do this by unveiling the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica which brings a whole suite of updates, and a whole arsenal of new tricks to help show the world that the Pacifica is still a brawny heavyweight in the world of minivans.
The exterior benefits from a modest refresh designed to help give the van higher levels of aggression but without losing the subtler elegance that the Pacifica is known for. The LED infused headlights have a more aggressive shape, and lose some of the 200 based cues to help clean things up. The grille has a more traditional shape, and on the Pinnacle adds more chrome to it. The rear fascia does not change too radically much, but the taillights now span the full width of the rear, and they incorporate a black piece of trim to help add some design contrast to the state of things. Chrysler claims that the Pacifica now wears “utility vehicle inspired design cues” but sorry Chrysler, we’re not buying it, it still looks like a minivan to us, and a very handsome one at that. Our favorite model in this particular department is the Pacifica S which is the most athletic of the bunch, and in our view, makes full use of the new design to maximum effect. While the minivan segment has faced some pressure from exploding CUV demand, this is still a very important segment for many automakers, and the Pacifica’s need to defend its throne on the sales charts is more urgent then ever before.
But while the “S” may win the trophy for outside aesthetics, the range topping Pinnacle model’s cabin outright trounces it with the impressive amounts of quality and opulence that is on display here. Easily the most luxurious FCA interior that we have seen in recent memory, The seats are slathered in Quilted Nappa Leather, and the second row captains chairs can even be equipped with optional quilted leather pillows. Yes you heard that correctly, pillows, just like how some ultra luxury makers provide them to their ultra rich clientele Pacifica passengers can now have an enviable place to rest their heads. But while pillows are the must have item in the second row, the front seat occupants benefit from the all new “Ultra Console” which moves the seat armrests to the console itself, and it even helps create more storage space, with a massive 13.64 liters of real estate available. Second row floor storage is also added, and it makes the Pinnacle the perfect mixture of storage and luxury.
But the remainder of the Pacifica lineup also benefits from their fair share of updates, with Chrysler packaging its Uconnect 5 system insaide a massive 10.1 inch touchscreen which is roughly 20 percent larger than the outgoing system. It offers a high level of home page personalization and even comes bundled with Alexa, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. Our favorite trick is Chrysler’s FamCAM system, that uses the screen to help occupants keep an eye on a child seated in the second row. That means the days of doing something and blaming your sibling for it are over with this valuable eye in the sky watching over things. Up to 12 USB charging ports are also available depending on what trim and packages are selected to help accommodate passengers of all ages.
Performance hardware is carried over from the old model, which means the Pacifica still employs the services of the Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 which makes 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The Pacifica Hybrid transitions from being a formal trim level to a powertrain option, but it still delivers up to 400 miles of driving range and 30 miles of all electric driving. The key change here is the addition of an all-wheel drive system which has not been seen in a FCA minivan since the 1990s as well as the early 2000s. This allows the Pacifica the ability to tackle snowier weather, and puts the Pacifica in a very elite club of minivans to formally offer all-wheel drive capability. The system has the ability to go full rear wheel drive if needed, and adding it also didn’t force Chrysler engineers to remove the iconic Stow n Go seats which should please families that take pride in having maximum amounts of floor storage in their van. The system can also turn itself completely off when needed, and optional Pirelli self sealing tires can be equipped to the 20-inch rims. The larger wheels will have late avalibity, but non sealing Falken tires are also available for the rims.
Ordering for the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will open up during the third quarter of the year, with deliveries beginning in the fourth quarter of the year. Some equipment and options may arrive later, but buyers looking to nab all-wheel drive in the 2020 Launch Edition can do so in the second quarter of the year, with deliveries beginning not too long after that. In addition to the fore-mentioned Pinnacle model. Buyers can also choose from three other trims (Touring, Touring L and Limited) with pricing for all the trims being released closer to its official launch date.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.