Entry price: $26,985
Price as tested: $47,120

This week, we review the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica, now in its third year of an all-new design. The upgraded Pacifica is clearly the company’s most notable minivan in a history that spans 35 years. Prospective buyers will enjoy six distinct gasoline powered Pacifica trims from entry L to our tester’s upper-class Limited model.

The reason we mention the “gas powered” Pacificas is because Chrysler now offers a hybrid model in an additional three trims to choose from. Starting at $39,995, all use an Atkinson cycle-two electric motor and large battery-pack in combination with the normal V6 mechanicals that all work in unison. These Pacifica Hybrids debuted in 2018 and are the first ever hybrids available in class. They deliver a 32-mile all-electric range and a grand total 520-mile gas-electric reach. Although our tester is not the hybrid model, we expect to drive one later this year. Stay tuned.

Of course, being the “first” at anything and everything minivan is nothing new to Chrysler. The Pacifica is a direct descendant of the famous Chrysler-built Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager minivans that debuted in September 1983. These unique vehicles successfully filled the void of consumers that didn’t want a station wagon yet needed the extra cargo and passenger room. The only options back then were the large, truck style, passenger vans that probably didn’t fit in a customer’s garage.

Thanks to perfect timing from then Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, the tables were set for unprecedented success, especially as baby boomers grew into ever expanding families. To fulfill the needs of this huge demographic, there sat ready to buy the unique 1984 Dodge and Plymouth minivans at Chrysler dealers nationwide. They were not a truck, and definitely not a station wagon.

Success was instant.

Chrysler sold 200,000 minivans the first 16 months thanks to novel advertising coupled with the excitement of a brand new, smaller multi-passenger vehicle. Along the way, Chrysler engineers stretched the original five-passenger minivan wheelbase from 99.6 to 112-inches allowing for seven-passenger seating all while delivering easy maneuverability and good fuel mileage.

These new minivans launched Chrysler Corporation back into sustained profitability for nearly a decade as the company enjoyed little or no competition. Through six generations, the Dodge and Chrysler minivans then expanded even more to wheelbases of over 120 inches while retaining the “minivan” nomenclature based more so on corporate branding than actual weight and wheelbase proportions.

Back to the present and the 2019 Pacifica.

As Chrysler notes in its promotional materials, the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica is the most awarded minivan three years in a row, racking up many noted citations from J.D. Power’s “Highest Ranked Minivan in Initial Quality” to “Best in Class Towing.” Today’s modern Pacifica is a combination of utility, comfort and mechanical achievement as its innovative architecture that features an all-new Chrysler design. From a totally revamped exterior and interior, Pacifica features lots of storage and cargo space, the latter expanding easily thanks to fold-down second and third row “Stow-N-Go” seating that is standard starting with the LX trim. The entry L features only the third row that folds down.

Under the hood, another “class first” nine-speed automatic transmission couples with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This combination delivers impressive 19-city and 28-highway EPA fuel mileage numbers that are both very good for a two-ton minivan.

Notable on these new generation Pacificas are abundant luxury amenities as our tester’s standard list included a great sounding 506-watt Alpine 13-speaker stereo, Android and Apple phone capabilities, all power items expected including doors and liftgate, heated Nappa leather front and second row seats and steering wheel, interior noise control and much, much more. Your Chrysler dealer will gladly explain all models, including some upgraded interior seat choices and special upper class special trim offerings.

All Pacifica models, from entry L at $26,985 to the top line Limited at $42,940, feature the best safety features like Parkview backup camera, Parksense assist, all the airbags, blind spot and cross path detection, remote start, electronic stability and traction control, four wheels ABS discs and more. Our Limited also came with a tri-plane sunroof, Stow and Vac integrated vacuum, and ventilated front seats, all standard on the top model.

Our Limited options featured a $1,995 Uconnect Theater Package with wireless streaming highlighted by a fabulous Blu-Ray DVD movie system with seatback screens for second row passengers. This option allows rear passengers to enjoy movies and games. The system includes a USB port, wireless headphones and a remote control so the driver can focus on the road while passengers are entertained. Notable and recommended is the $695 Harmon Kardon 20-speaker upgrade, which delivers outstanding sound realism to the movie theater/game system or when using the SiriusXM satellite radio.

Other options include an Advanced Safety Group ($995) that adds parallel park assist, full speed front collision warning plus, a 360 degree rear camera, adaptive cruise with stop and go, and more. The final option is a $495 Electronic Vehicle Tracking system that lets you know where your vehicle is at all times. These additions brought the final tally to $47,120 with $1,495 destination included.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 121.6 inches, 4,330 lb. curb weight, 19-gallon fuel tank, 39.7 ft. turn circle, 3,600 lb. tow capacity, 5.1 inch ground clearance, and cargo capacity that grows from 32.3 cu. ft. with seats up to a massive 140.5 cu. ft. with seats folded down.

There are many upscale features the Limited models include in the base price, and your Chrysler dealer is waiting to explain all. Remember that the entry Pacifica models start well below $30,000, retail, and with incentives and discounts will cost even less. Start with the LX trim and move up accordingly.

In summary, the Pacifica is indeed the best minivan Chrysler has ever built, and easily compares with and in many categories outshines the competition.

Likes: Exclusive hybrid option, great interior, legacy, luxurious looks.
Dislikes: Some extra cost safety features should be standard, Stow-N-Go second row not available on L trim.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com.