Poke fun at minivans all you want, there’s no denying the day-to-day practicality and overall utility they offer large families. While they’ve maintained their general shape and mundane design, the minivan has come a very long ways since the Ford Aerostar and Toyota Previa. Perhaps, no other model demonstrates this evolution better than the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle. It even looks decently good.
Powered by 3.6L V6 Hybrid engine, the Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle will make an easy 30 mpg on gas, and an astonishing 82 mpg when you plug it in and use the electrical side of the system. Chrysler claims you can get about 2 hours of driving from the electrical charge alone, depending on the type of driving you’re doing. This proves to be plenty for most days of shuttling between tennis practice, the grocery store, work, school and all the other errands in-between.
In addition to all the money you’ll save, you can expect to be chauffeured around town in pretty substantial levels of luxury. The new Pacifica Pinnacle comes with a caramel colored interior. Fully clad in Nappa leather, that looks ready to stand the test of time. Complete with a plush quilted stitching pattern that elevates the luxury level significantly. The middle row is blessed with easy-slide bucket seats. A handy Connect theater comes with built-in streaming services and a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot. The displays will fold up from their mounts behind both the driver and passenger seats. Providing hours of entertainment to the five potential passengers in the second and third rows. Audio is pumped out of 20 Harman Kardon premium speakers. Remote controls included. Parents rejoice? Cross country road-trips have never been easier.
Up front, driver and passenger seats are 8-way adjustable, heated and cooled. The steering wheel gets the heat treatment as well. A handy wireless charging pad can be found tucked under the 10.1” Uconnect infotainment display. Above your head you’ll find a suede headliner. Dominated by an endless, tri-pane panoramic sunroof, that lets in tons of natural Arizona sunshine. Seats are generally quite comfortable, with a durable feel. The middle two captains chairs even come with leather throw pillows. Yes. That’s right. Throw pillows. It doesn’t make much sense to me either. Helpful, I suppose, in adding extra support in the lumbar region for anyone with lower back pain. Also very good at falling immediately to the floor and getting stepped on the moment you hit the brakes.
A long list of safety features and driving aides come equipped to keep the whole family feeling securely tucked in. Parking sensors, together with a 360 surround-view camera system and parallel/perpendicular parking assist, will make squeezing into those tight spots a breeze. On the highway, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detectors and more will make easy work of those long stretches, on the way to visit the grandparents up north.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle has a familiar look and feel. Immediately, you recognize it for what it is, a minivan. But, the more you learn and experience, the more you allow it to show you, the more you can’t help but appreciate the enormous leaps forward its made. The quick conclusion is that this is hardly the type of minivan you remember from your childhood. In some ways the same, in more ways, a complete transformation towards a better, easier future of cross-country family adventuring. Gone it would seem are the days when your parents had to bribe you to sit quietly and entertain yourself with that Word Find or Sudoku puzzle book. Open the long sunroof, turn on a movie and hand me a throw pillow. That endless stretch on the I-94 through Montana doesn’t scare me anymore.
Price as tested: $50,845.00