Review: 2022 Chrysler Pacifica is still the minivan benchmark
There’s a lot to be said for a well-done minivan. These are the most versatile vehicles on the market, combining people hauling, cargo carrying, and mixtures of the two in a way other vehicles can't match. A well-done minivan is spacious, comfortable, maneuverable, and extremely practical. The 2022 Pacifica meets all of those criteria.
The current-generation Chrysler Pacifica was introduced in 2017 and it changed how people viewed the minivan market in the US. Building on Chrysler’s best-selling Town and Country model, the new Pacifica took versatility and ergonomics to a new level. Now, five years later, the Pacifica is still a benchmark for those things, but its age compared to newer rivals is beginning to show.
At a Glance
- Options from front-wheel, all-wheel, or plug-in hybrid available.
- One of the most versatile interiors on the market.
- Unusually strong engine for the class.
- Starting to show its age compared to rivals.
The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica comes in three basic flavors: gasoline engine with front-wheel drive, plug-in hybrid drivetrain with front-wheel drive, or gasoline engine with all-wheel drive. All of these configurations are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine in various tunings. The gasoline models use a nine-speed automatic transmission, while the PHEV uses a transmission and electric motor combination called an EVT.
This year, we drove the Pacifica in its standard gasoline format with AWD. But we have driven the plug-in hybrid and FWD models in the past. For our money, the plug-in is probably the best choice, but it has some downsides (including a heftier price tag) that might deter some buyers.
One of the best attributes of today’s minivans is the ability to stow the third row into the floor for a flat loading surface above. This is now standard in every minivan on the market, but the Chrysler Pacifica is the only model that also allows the middle row to be folded down into the floor as well. Making the entire interior accessible as a big loading box for cargo. Most other vans either only have the second-row seats push forward or require that they be removed entirely. The only exception to this is the Pacifica PHEV, which fills the space where the middle seats would fold into the floor with batteries.
Where the 2022 Pacifica is beginning to show its age, however, is in its interior fitment and fuel economy. In 2017, the Pacifica’s highway rating of 28 mpg (8.4 l/100km) was considered very good for the class. Real world, however, doesn’t quite pan out to that, with our highway loop test returning only 26.7 (8.8 l/100km). Comparatively, the Toyota Sienna’s (now a hybrid by default) 36 mpg (6.5 l/100km) rating is far higher and achievable in the same highway loop test. For reference, the Pacifica Hybrid’s plug-in drivetrain achieves 82 MPGe per the EPA and pulls about 32 mpg (7.4 l/100km) on the highway in the same loop.
Outside of its usefulness and looks, though, the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica has another quality that most other minivans lack: powerful drive presence. Chrysler is close kin with Dodge and Dodge loves its engine output. So while the Pacifica isn’t a muscle car (er ... van), it’s definitely a goer. The engine outputs nice noise into the cabin when the pedal is pushed hard and the transmission in the gasoline model is happy to stay in lower gears to produce more push. Of the minivans and crossovers we’ve driven with a similar or smaller engine, this one is one of the more invigorating. That’s saying something, too, since this is a minivan. Not a sedan or a muscle carriage.
On the road or in the parking lot, the Pacifica is very maneuverable. Chrysler implemented an intelligent steering system that allows the front tires to turn sharper at lower speeds, giving the Pacifica a surprisingly good turning radius. Visibility is good as well and the optional 360-degree cameras make parking effortless.
For daily use, there’s a lot to love about the new Pacifica. Chrysler’s latest Uconnect infotainment system is top shelf, seating is very comfortable (even in the third row), plugs for devices and storage spaces for the same abound, and drink holders are plentiful. Some fit and finish items are a little plasticky, though.
These downsides aren’t huge, however, and the 2022 Pacifica still sets the standard for what a minivan should be in the 21st century. Others, like the Kia Carnival and Toyota Sienna, are good contenders and have newer designs and appeal, but they’re building on the Pacifica rather than replacing it.
The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica has a starting price of about US$39,000 and the plug-in hybrid model starts at about $50,000.
Product Page: 2022 Chrysler Pacifica