The 2023 Pacifica is a combination of all the things that minivans have been since their introduction. Chrysler’s Town & Country, which the Pacifica replaced, was the best-selling van on the market for many years and the Pacifica took its place at the same level. Last updated in 2017, though, the Pacifica is more of an homage to the excellence of minivans past than it is a trend-setter for minivans’ future.
The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica retains the things that have kept it popular: fold-into-the-floor seating in the second and third rows, large amounts of cargo space resulting from that, a sleek design, and a tight turning radius for great maneuverability. The Pacifica is comfortable and well-considered inside. Those are what have always made this minivan a favorite.
But today’s market has some heavy competition in the minivan segment. Some rivals, such as the Kia Carnival, bring new ideas to the segment that improve functionality. Others, like the Toyota Sienna, bring a “less is more” attitude to simplify efficiency. And the ever-growing crossover-sport utility segments continue to grow as shoppable options against the family-oriented minivan design itself.
The great appeal of a minivan is its powerful utility. The minivan (or MPV) is perhaps the most versatile of all vehicle designs on the market. It can be a people hauler, a stuff hauler, a road trip machine, and a daily driver. All in one package without much compromise to get each of these options as needed. Of all of the minivan options on the market today, we think the Pacifica is the best at being in all of those worlds without losing any functionality as a result. This is largely due to the well-done rear cargo area and the in-floor folding seats found in the second and third rows.
The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica comes in three powertrain setups. The first two use a well-vetted 3.6-liter V6 that outputs 287 horsepower. This goes to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is the standard with an all-wheel drive option as the second powertrain design. Four trim levels give equipment options to the buyer.
The third powertrain is a plug-in hybrid design in front wheel drive. The Pacific Hybrid, like the Pacifica AWD, is available in three of the four trim levels offered–neither can be had in the base model Touring. The PHEV option includes a 16 kWh battery that gives about 32 miles of all-electric driving range with 260 total horsepower of output. Fuel economy is the point of the plug-in model, which rises to 30 mpg combined with the V6- and electric-equipped hybrid. But there is a $10,000 premium to get that plug.
On the road, the 2023 Pacifica is a good drive, but no longer an excellent one. The FWD standard gasoline model is EPA rated at 22 mpg combined. The AWD model drops to 20 mpg combined. Those give the plug-in hybrid electric model a lot of relative efficiency with its 30 mpg combined. But compared to the much lower cost Toyota Sienna (a hybrid by default), which returns 36 mpg combined, that’s not as impressive.
Similarly, the better drive quality, peppier engine, and equal fuel economy found in the newly-designed Kia Carnival also date the Chrysler Pacifica.
With these rivals offering more, one would wonder why the Pacifica should still be on a shopper’s minivan options. The answer is simple: the Pacifica still has the best of everything a minivan has to offer in a nicely-shaped package.
With only a handful of options left for family van shoppers in the minivan segment, the Pacifica remains a good choice.