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2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Long-Term Arrival: Enter the Dad Van

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/26/2018 Motor Trend Staff
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I can hear the haters now. "You traded one of the best sport sedans in years for a minivan? What kind of car enthusiast are you?"

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

Yes, it's true that I willingly cut my yearlong stint in the 2018 Kia Stinger GT short 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 new 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.

a close up of a car© Motor Trend Staff

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 surround-view camera system, 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? Those options 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 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.

a person sitting on the seat of a car© Motor Trend Staff

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 very nice ride, but how many of the above 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 in 12 months.

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
BASE PRICE $45,440
PRICE AS TESTED $48,430
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
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 203.8 x 79.6 x 69.9 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)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/28/22 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/120 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.87 lb/mile

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front three quarter 1© Motor Trend Staff 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front three quarter 1
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