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Chrysler rejiggering world’s most techy minivans

by David Zatz on

Earlier this week, Maserati/Alfa Romeo and Chrysler brought a large group of cynical, hardened auto writers from around the world to the M1 Concourse and Chelsea Proving Grounds to drive high performance cars, trucks, and Jeeps. There seemed to be universal agreement on one thing: that the Chrysler Pacifica minivans in ferry duty were comfortable, quiet, and generally impressive.

2019 pacifica

Chrysler has been having a hard time getting the message out, so the 2019s will be rejiggered in the hopes of getting more butts into seats. The more Pacificas are sold, the more people will experience them, and the higher sales will go, — a theory espoused by several writers. Presumably Chrysler spokesmen agree.

For 2019, though Dodge is the muscle brand, Chrysler will sport a new “S” package, with black accents, and 18-inch Black Noise wheels — the Chrysler version of Dodge’s “man van.” It makes sense — the Pacifica can outrace the Caravan on the straights and the curves alike.

There will also be new 17-inch polished wheels on Touring L Plus and Hybrid Limited, optional on the other hybrids. Luxury White and Maximum steel colors will become available, and automatic headlamps will join the LX. The Touring Plus can be purchased with Advanced SafetyTec, the twin ten-inch video screens, and a cold weather package.  The Touring Plus (standard and hybrid) and Touring L will get auto-dimming rear-view mirror, for people who like that sort of thing.

Finally, the Hybrid Limited, which I recently spent a happy week in, will get new 17 inch polished wheels, seat/audio/mirror memory, Auto Advance ’n’ Return seats for driver and passenger, and power folding mirrors — a nice pot-sweetener. The Hybrid Limited is already a cushy, comfortable, responsive car, and a bargain compared to Toyotas and Hondas. (I can’t say “comparable” Toyotas and Hondas, because there aren’t any. Can you get 32 mpg city/highway combined in a Toyota or Honda, with instant responsiveness — or plug them in to run all-electric? Didn’t think so.)

There are other miscellaneous changes, but nothing of consequence. The gasoline and hybrid Pacificas are remarkably composed on city streets and road-course switchbacks alike, and the hybrid can travel for 33 miles on electricity only, with a total range of 566 miles. These cars are seemingly Chrysler’s big secrets; the 2019 changes, minor as they may seem, are a step towards changing that.

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