Chrysler Pacifica minivan gets AWD and new Pinnacle upgrade
For the 2021 model year, Chrysler is bringing some changes to its Pacifica minivan. These include some body styling updates, especially to the front and rear, a new top-line luxury trim level called the Pinnacle, and the option of all-wheel drive.
Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the all-weather-capable AWD system for the Pacifica will arrive later this year. This mechanical system is derived from the viscous coupling system used in the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger, and other Fiat-Chrysler vehicles. Importantly, the Pacifica’s AWD system will not interfere with the Stow-n-Go fold-down seating that creates a flat loading floor in the van.
Chrysler’s AWD system is an on-demand option. In normal operations, the front wheels of the Pacifica will do most of the work with the center differential disconnecting the driveshaft to the rear wheels. When engaged, either through drive mode selection or under certain circumstances where the computer deems it’s needed, the differential will automatically connect the rear wheels and power distribution will begin.
The system is built to optimize safety and fuel efficiency in the van. The disconnecting driveshaft is a class-exclusive item for the Pacifica AWD. The van’s computer and sensors, when sending wheel grip slip, accelerator demands, or when the windshield wipers are on, will automatically engage AWD for added stability and confidence. The AWD system will not be available in the Pacifica Hybrid plug-in models.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will come with 14 added standard safety features, including new LED headlamps and Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking. These will add to the already standard features such as forward collision warning and automatic braking. In all, the new Pacifica will have 116 standard and optional safety features.
New for the 2021 model year will be a top-end luxury trim called Pinnacle. This trim level will sit above the base Touring, Touring L, and Limited models. Features will include Caramel Nappa leather upholstery, matching lumbar pillows in the second row captain’s chairs, and an exclusive Ultra console that replaces the current center console to add more storage and aesthetics to the dashboard.
Also debuting with the 2021 Pacifica will be a new infotainment system based on the company’s next-generation Uconnect 5 system. An optional 10.1-inch touchscreen will be offered as an upgrade from the standard 8.4-inch screen found in the Pacifica today. The new system adds crisper graphics, a more modern look, faster responses, and functionality additions such as the ability to enable Alexa on the device. Alexa can then be used not only to interact with devices in the home or remote start the van from any Alexa device connected, but also for in-car options such as voice-activated music selection, streaming, and more. Nearly all Alexa skills will be possible in the 2021 Pacifica, Chrysler tells us.
Going along with the new Uconnect 5 system are added USB ports. Most of the new additions are faster USB Type C ports, which transfer data and charge devices quicker than do the already-mounted Type A ports found in the Pacifica. Depending on packaging, a total of up to 12 USB ports (roughly half A, half C) will be in the new Pacifica. Also added are more audio system options including a new 10-inch rear dual voice coil subwoofer in the rear quarter of the van.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will enter dealerships in North America in the fourth quarter of 2020. Pricing and other details will be released closer to the van’s launch date.