MTGARAGE

AR­RIVAL: 2018 Chrysler Paci­fica Lim­ited

Motor Trend - - Comparison Test -

EPA CITY/HWY/COMB Fuel Econ: 19/28/22 mpg Base price $45,440 As tested $48,430

Ican hear the haters now. “You traded one of the best sport sedans in years … for a mini­van? What kind of car en­thu­si­ast are you?”

Yes, it’s true that I will­ingly cut short my year­long stint in the 2018 Kia Stinger GT by about six months (it’s now chap­er­oned by Jonny Lieber­man; pester him on In­sta­gram if you want more up­dates). But hon­estly, I think I could do a lot worse than our long-term 2018 Chrysler Paci­fica Lim­ited. Let me back up a bit. This past May, my wife and I wel­comed our first child into the world: a per­fect baby boy with fab­u­lous hair named Kai. A mid­size four-door fast­back like the Stinger could have prob­a­bly done the fam­ily thing just fine, but I, like many first-time par­ents be­fore me, went with the overkill op­tion. Sure, it’s way more car than I need, but choos­ing a mini­van quells any anx­i­ety I might have over whether all of our (mostly his) stuff will fit.

But even if my trans­porta­tion needs hadn’t changed, I hap­pen to like how the Paci­fica drives. Although it’s no 365-hp sport sedan, it’s weirdly sat­is­fy­ing to drive for some­thing that’s not sup­posed to be sporty. I gen­uinely en­joyed the Paci­fica when I first re­viewed it in 2016, and now I get to see if adding an in­fant, his stroller and other nec­es­sary baby gear, and two sets of dot­ing grand­par­ents or friends with ba­bies of their own changes that as­sess­ment in any way.

We went with a range-top­ping Lim­ited model, which comes with such stan­dard fea­tures as Nappa leather up­hol­stery, heated and cooled front seats, dual power-slid­ing rear doors, a power lift­gate, a mas­sive tri-pane panoramic sun­roof, and the all-im­por­tant Stow ’n Vac on­board vac­uum. To that al­ready im­pres­sive equip­ment list, we added the $995 Ad­vanced Safe­tytec pack­age, which in­cludes front and rear park­ing sen­sors, a 360-de­gree cam­era, par­al­lel and per­pen­dic­u­lar park­ing as­sis­tance, adap­tive cruise con­trol with full speed range, for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing with auto brak­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, lane keep as­sist, and au­to­matic high-beams.

We also threw in the $1,995 Ucon­nect The­ater rear en­ter­tain­ment pack­age, which in­cludes dual flip-up touch­screens, a Blu-ray player, and two sets of wire­less head­phones, be­cause who doesn’t want to spoil their first kid? This brought our tester to a lux­ury-car-ri­val­ing $48,430.

Our Paci­fica seats seven be­cause we chose the sec­ond-row cap­tain’s chairs in­stead of a three-seat bench, and be­cause we wanted the ver­sa­til­ity of

“My son ap­pre­ci­ates the slid­ing door win­dow shades, and I like the easy-toac­cess LATCH an­chor points.” Alex Nishi­moto

Stow ’n Go seats, we didn’t opt for the plug-in hy­brid model. Like all non-hy­brid Paci­fi­cas, our mini­van is pow­ered by the ven­er­a­ble 3.6-liter Pen­tas­tar V-6, which makes 287 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. That power is routed to the front wheels through a nine-speed au­to­matic, a trans­mis­sion that has caused headaches for both FCA and Fiat Chrysler own­ers in the past. We’ll see if the nine-speed is any bet­ter af­ter a few years of de­vel­op­ment.

Over the course of this loan, I hope to of­fer a par­ent’s per­spec­tive on the Paci­fica. I’ve al­ready used the LATCH points in the cap­tain’s chairs to at­tach a baby car seat, and I ex­pect within the next year I’ll be hunt­ing for Chee­rios in and un­der the seats with the vac­uum.

A loaded Paci­fica makes for a nice ride, but how many of the fancy fea­tures does a new par­ent re­ally need? Is a mini­van the best op­tion for young fam­i­lies, or would a crossover work just as well? And fi­nally, will swap­ping a Kia Stinger for a Chrysler Paci­fica be one of my life’s big­gest re­grets or a sac­ri­fice I’d hap­pily make again? I’ll let you know dur­ing the next 12 months.

2018 Chrysler Paci­fica Lim­ited

Ve­hi­cle Lay­out Front-engine, FWD, 7-pass, 4-door van

Engine 3.6L/287-hp/262-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6

Trans­mis­sion 9-speed au­to­matic

Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,580 lb (56/44%) Wheel­base 121.6 in 0-60 MPH 7.3 sec

Quar­ter Mile 15.6 sec @ 89.9 mph

Brak­ing, 60-0 MPH 119 ft

Lateral Ac­cel­er­a­tion 0.82 g (avg)

MT Fig­ure Eight 27.4 sec @ 0.63 g (avg)

Real MPG, City/hwy/comb 19.0/28.8/22.4 mpg

En­ergy Cons, City/hwy

177/120 kw-hr/100 miles

CO2 Emis­sions, Comb 0.87 lb/mile

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