2017 Chrysler Pacifica: 2017’s Best-In-Class Performance

May 16th, 2016 by

A dark red 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is driving on a suburban street near Colorado Springs.

There was a time when minivans were known for two things: safety and space. This combination is what primarily attracted the family men and women of the world, and was the vehicle’s main selling point. Now, vans like the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica for sale are known for much more than just their ability to tote the kids around. The Pacifica, for example, lands not only a best-in-class fuel economy rating, but also has the most horsepower and torque in its class as well. Together, this best-in-class performance gives this van better and more versatile overall performance when compared to its competitors.

Apart from having a refined V6 engine under the hood, the uncharacteristically aerodynamic design of the Pacifica also plays a huge role in its efficiency.

A Practical Design

Two surfers are next to a red 2017 Chrysler Pacifica that is parked at the ocean.

Why is the design of the Pacifica uncharacteristic? Because, while there are a few other vans on the current market that are cut to be aerodynamic as well, none of them come close to the efficiency of the Pacifica.

With the Pacifica, the aerodynamics all start with the modern minivan hood, which is a slightly rounded front fascia, with a smooth and windswept hood. But, the basic shape of the front fascia and hood is where the similarity ends. There are chiseled lines that are strategically cut into the hood and fascia to help with the airflow. For example, a beveled line runs horizontally through the center of the front fascia, which no doubt helps the wind peel up and over the top of the split-grille, where the wind is then caught by the valley that sits in the center of the hood in order to help channel it over the windshield.

The roof itself also has a slight arch to it that begins just above the hood, giving the wind a seamless transition from windshield to roof. The arch begins to taper off slightly, where the wind is sent on its way thanks to a spoiler. Most importantly, the design makes sure that the back-end of the Pacifica sits just as low as the windshield. That way, the arch on top of the hood allows the wind to effortlessly transition from the front end of the Pacifica to the back end.

The sides are also designed for aerodynamic purposes, with a ridge that runs along the bottom of the side, and one that runs just underneath the door handle. This creates another valley, much like the one on the hood, where the wind that comes off the side of the front end will get caught and travel down this groove, eventually, being kicked away from the rear-end thanks to the bulge above the back tire. Ultimately, that bulge prevents the wind from getting sucked into the back end and causing drag.

This uncharacteristic design stems primarily from the very low cut hood and roofline. This causes a streamline effect when attempting to cut through the air. In the end, the best-in-class fuel efficiency also speaks for the aerodynamics of this vehicle. Because no matter how efficient an engine is, a poor design negates most of the efficiency.

Best-in-Class Performance

A red 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is shown from the side and is parked in front of a hedge.

The best-in-class performance rating encompasses the horsepower, torque, and fuel-efficiency of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. The 2017 Pacifica comes standard with one engine: a 3.6-liter V6. This engine is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, and the power that’s produced is sent to the front wheels. Don’t let the front-wheel drive and size deceive you, because the V6 cranks out a best-in-class 287 horsepower and best-in-class 262 lb-ft of torque. This astounding amount of horsepower and torque is accompanied by a best-in-class fuel-efficiency rating of an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, which equals 22 mpg combined.

This best-in-class performance does more for this van than you might initially think. Apart from keeping you away from the dreaded gas station, the horsepower and torque also give the Pacifica the ability to safely get you and your kids through any inclement weather that might come your way — especially since it’s a FWD model. This ensures that the engine weight of the front-end sits over the tires, giving it better grip in hazardous conditions thanks to that added weight. Also, the horsepower and torque contribute to a decent towing capacity when the Pacifica is properly equipped: 3,600 pounds. This respectable towing capacity gives it the ability to tow a smaller trailer if you need more storage space for moving or a road trip, which means that best-in-class performance also proves that the Pacifica is just as versatile as it is powerful and efficient.


There is a Hybrid Version

A light blue 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is in a parking lot in front of a hill.

The all-new-Pacifica also offers a hybrid variant, which is the first ever hybrid in the class. This plug-in hybrid is able to seamlessly transition between the V6 gas engine and EV battery, which provides 80 MPGe. The V6 isn’t the same one equipped on the standard Pacifica. Rather, it’s one that has been specially designed and combined with a pair of hybrid motor/generators fed by a 16-kWh floor-mounted battery pack. 260 horsepower is attainable with this engine, so on top of that stellar 80 MPGe, it still won’t lose that much power.

Before switching over to hybrid power, the Pacifica is able to get up to 30-miles of pure electric driving range on the EV battery. While that might not seem like much compared to some of the other plug-in hybrids on the market, it’s important to remember that this is the first-ever plug-in vehicle in its class. So when compared to other minivans out there, that 30-mile electric range and 80 MPGe makes the Pacifica hybrid untouchable in terms of efficiency.

While the horsepower and torque are both something of note, it’s really the fuel efficiency that makes the Pacifica stand out. Apart from it’s stellar 22 mpg combined with the standard powertrain, the hybrid model provides unheard of fuel efficiency for minivans. Combine this stellar fuel efficiency and power with the fact that this van is still able to carry up to eight passengers with up to 243 seating configurations and best-in-class cargo space, and you have a van that has the power, space, and efficiency to be a do-anything and go-anywhere vehicle.