April 17, 2024
Wheels

Pacifica is only minivan offering all-wheel drive

Chrysler’s family van touts enhanced safety features

The 2024 Chrysler Pacifica is the only minivan offering all-wheel drive.

For as long as the Chrysler Pacifica has been offering all-wheel drive, it has been shifting minivan customers’ focus from the competition with one-of-a-kind features and an extremely bright spotlight on safety. All-wheel drive traction is available on Pacifica Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle gas-powered models.

As a parent, I know that once you come to the reality of hauling the family around in any vehicle, the first question that comes to mind is, “How can I protect them and how can I be as safe as possible?”

The 2024 Pacifica lineup delivers available AWD capability paired with some of the Chrysler minivan’s most notable selling points – the Stow ‘n Go seating and impressive Stow ‘n Vac system. However, safety is the primary selling point for many shopping for minivans, and the Pacifica delivers the highest possible rating in core IIHS crash tests and a Top Safety Pick.

All-wheel drive

Chrysler Pacifica’s AWD system engages seamlessly at any speed, without any activation required by the driver. If any of the wheels lose traction, Pacifica’s AWD system automatically activates the transfer of all available engine torque to the wheels with more traction. A limited-slip feature helps control steering under even the harshest road conditions.

Pacifica’s AWD system engages automatically based on a variety of sensor inputs when enhanced traction is most beneficial. The enhanced traction comes in handy in a wide range of driving conditions from standard dry pavement and snow to non-paved roads. The system only works when the drivetrain detects AWD is needed.

When it is not needed, the system disconnects the power-transfer unit and rear drive module, automatically stopping the drive shaft from spinning, reducing driveline drag, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing emissions – a class-exclusive in the minivan segment.

Along with the Pacifica’s AWD system, it offers a best-in-class towing capacity of 3,600 pounds, impressive when combined with the optional AWD system.

Overall safety

Helping to achieve its IIHS Top Safety Pick status, Pacifica’s structural engineering leads the way by creating a body structure that features multiple steel grades, including advanced high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel.

The Chrysler Pacifica is America’s most awarded minivan for seven years running and it provides a renowned level of interior versatility. The Pacifica may offer AWD traction, North America’s only minivan offering it, but it also delivers more than 100 standard-equipment safety and security features.

The all-new Emergency Vehicle Alert System is a part of the Uconnect connected-vehicle platform, which gives drivers cluster and touchscreen in-vehicle notifications of an active fire truck, ambulance or other nearby roadway hazards. These are things that are often unseen when distractions in the cabin are going on.

I really like the FamCAM interior camera feature, which offers a bird’s-eye view of rear-facing child-seat occupants. Like so many of the safety features offered by Chrysler, there is peace of mind that comes with having more information than less.

The Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking is among the safety features that come standard on Pacifica. It was also cited as an essential technology to qualify Pacifica for an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating. The IIHS revised its rating system in 2020 to include a greater emphasis on AEB and headlight function. The Pacifica features LED headlamps as standard equipment, along with daytime running lamps, fog lamps, and taillamps that benefit from LED technology. The LED technology provides a balanced beam of light that also minimizes glare for oncoming traffic.

Other notables

Pacifica was the first minivan with available Amazon Fire TV integrated into the Uconnect Theater System. Pacifica offers the largest available sunroof in the segment and the most innovative seating and storage in its class, with seating available for up to eight passengers, as well as 243 different seating configurations for the Pacifica and 81 seating configurations for the Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid.

The 2024 Chrysler Pacifica has a base price that starts at $39,400.

• John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations and vehicles.