Minivans

Inside the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

dashboard

As the new minivans were being developed under a veil of secrecy, many readers feared they would be too small. Instead, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan came out with best-in-class interior volume (200 cubic feet), extensive storage, and the most spacious third row in the segment (in legroom, shoulder room, and headroom).

Oh, and the Pacifica can carry an 8 x 4-foot sheet of plywood, just like the Caravan.

all seats down

Gadgets and Gizmos

  • vacuum The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has a hands-free liftgate and sliding doors, using a nearby key fob and a kicking motion under the body (optional starting on Touring L Plus).
  • The integrated vacuum (Platinum only) has the high rated power on the market, with an eleven foot hose and an extension.
  • Active noise cancellation (ANC), on every trim level, uses four microphones to detect unwanted sounds, then combats them by playing opposite-tuned frequencies from the stereo. That let Chrysler cut the use of heavy sound dampeners.
  • A new tri-pane sunroof (Limited/Platinum) crosses all three rows; the front panel moves, the rear panels do not.
  • A capless fuel filler (electrically locked) makes re-fueling easier.
  • An electric parking brake frees up space, eliminates assemblies that need adjustment, and makes sure the parking brake is really on, preventing unintended rolling.
  • More are in our audio/video systems section

Stowing the seats

Chrysler will continue with its exclusive Stow ’n’ Go system, entering its third generation (as predicted by Allpar) with Stow ’n’ Go Assist. Pressing a button moves the front seat out of the way; pressing it again puts the seat back. The system detects obstacles and can be immediately stopped.

seat diagrams

An optional, removable eighth-passenger seat in the second row converts to being an additional armrest, cup holder, and bin for second-row passengers. The eighth-passenger seat weighs 37 pounds and has LATCH child-safety seat provisions (for five throughout the van).

Getting into the third seat is easier with the (also predicted) “Easy Tilt” (they actually move forward more than they tilt) second-row seats; passengers can pull the Stow ’n’ Go handle before entering the third row, if a car seat is not installed.

cargo bags

Door improvements

Sliding doors are ideal for minivans, but over long periods of time they can have problems, and some dislike seeing track lines in the side of the van (something Chrysler has usually avoided).

minivan profile

For 2017, better door geometry (including clearance from the side of the body), sealed ball bearing hinges, and another hidden wire carrier in the track area increase durability. In back, using magnesium and aluminum in the power-strut driven rear liftgate cut mass and should also help durability.

leather seats

Roll-framed front doors provide an extra inch of visibility around the front windows by thinning the pillars, also strengthening the upper door so it seals and sounds better.

All the doors are now triple-sealed, with sliding door and liftgate latches encased in a composite; stiffness patches in the side doors and liftgate eliminate “oil-canning.” Needle-check door hinges let people open the front doors at 28°, 44°, and 70°, with an “unsurpassed” full-open angle, also avoiding squeaks.

General body improvements

dashboard

  • Interior and exterior gaps are “unmatched in the segment,” according to FCA benchmarking
  • All secondary surfaces were brought to class-A levels
  • Body sealing was enhanced by engineered-in gaps for sealant
  • Hemming on all closures for corrosion resistance (usually used on far higher priced cars)

torsion rings

The 2017 Pacifica was engineered with a series of five reinforcement rings to prevent deflection — movement of the body due to torsion on bad roads and such. The idea was that, since deflection directly causes squeaks and rattles, it would be held to a minimum by increasing structural rigidity; that also helps improve the ride and handling.

Cutting the noise

Wind noise is expected to be 63 decibels at 70 mph, among the best minivans; the speech intelligibility rating is expected to be higher than 84% at 70 mph, unsurpassed in its competitive set. Air leaking is to be around 225 CFM, also at the top of its class. This was done by using, among other things, acoustic 5.0-mm laminate windshield glass; acoustic wheel liners; upper doors that don’t stick out; aero-optimized mirrors; and triple-sealed doors.

cargo room all seats up

Other noise reduction measures include:

  • Aerodynamics improvements
  • Lower-positioned windshield wipers with a “smart” wiper motor to cut wind noise; rather than having a traditional arm, they use a flexible airfoil surface along the top of the blade, tuned to the shape of the windshield, for a lower profile and better contact.
  • Mastic in the floor and instrument panel; an acoustic headliner; dash damping blanket; sound-absorbing barriers in body cavities; and noise blocking agents in the engine compartment
  • Reinforcement rings, as described in the prior section
  • “Quiet steel” was used in the rear seat tub

cargo misc

Audio and video systems

Note: see the “models” page to find out which features are available in which models. Some are only optional with high-level trim.

The home theater arrangements are a giant leap forward, starting with their signature (optional) 8.4-inch display, the largest touch-screen in the industry, and a seven-inch navigation system/options screen for the driver (presumably similar to the one in the Chrysler 200, which appears to share a gauge cluster).

dashboard detail

That’s just for the front — the rear seat passengers can buy an optional UConnect Theater setup with dual high-definition ten-inch screens (in the seatbacks) and full connectivity. This system includes built in games, but can also connect to phones and the included touch-pad remote via BlueTooth.

are we there yet?

Of special interest is the “Are we there yet?” app, which shows the distance remaining and estimated arrival time, but there are traditional single and two-player games, math flash cards, and such. It is only available on higher-end models.

games

The driver can mute, turn off, and lock out content per screen. Devices that can be connected include phones, tablets, music players, Apple TV, optical-disk systems, gaming systems, e-readers, USB drives, laptops, and cameras. There is a single USB port in the first row center stack for playing movies, and rear USB ports for charging. There are second-row HDMI ports and two sets of wireless headphones.

uconnect options

The key fob has been upgraded and is now programmable (and called “KeySense”); using a four-digit PIN, owners can limit speed and audio volume, mute the audio when front seatbelts are not buckled, block satellite channels, and prevent the disabling of safety features.

Navigation has been updated with 3-D city models, digital terrains, and new screen graphics. Uconnect Access uses cell technology to enable on-demand WiFi hot-spot subscriptions (by the day, week, or month); one-touch contact with emergency services and Chrysler; and an optional app for remote starts, door locking/unlocking, and horn and light activation.

navigation

Three systems are available: UConnect 5 (five inch touch screen,USB/aux, voice command, hands-free calling, voice text reply, satellite radio/information); Uconnect 8.4 (the same features, with a larger screen and the ability to add navigation later); and 8.4N, which includes navigation and a five-year subscription to travel and traffic information. New UConnect 8.4/8.4N information is on our UConnect page.

from the rear

There are also three audio systems, starting with the six-speaker setup (all have active noise control). This is standard on LX, Touring, Touring-L, Hybrid Touring, and Hybrid Limited Platinum, and has two small speakers in the dash, and four 6x9s in the front and rear doors. An Alpine 506-watt, 12-channel, 13 speaker system (optional on Touring-L and Hybrid Limited Platinum, standard on Touring-L Plus and above) adds another speaker to the instrument panel, two 3.5s to the rear doors, two more 3.5s to the cargo area, and two 6.9s to the liftgate.

theater seats

Finally, the Harman Kardon 12-channel, 20-speaker system, optional on Touring-L Plus, Limited, and Limited Platinum, has three 3.5 and one-inch speakers in the dashboard, dual 3.5 and one-inch speakers in both the rear door and cargo area, dual 6x9s in the front door, rear door, and liftgate, and a 12-channel, class D amplifier.

We make no guarantees regarding validity, accuracy, or applicability of information, predictions, or advice. Please read the terms of use and privacy policy. Copyright © 1994-2000, David Zatz; copyright © 2001-2016, Allpar LLC (except as noted, and press/publicity materials); all rights reserved. Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, and Mopar are trademarks of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


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