While Chrysler created the minivan, it hasn’t reigned over the slowly deflating minivan market for a good while now. With the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, the automaker is not only looking to reclaim its crown but help families fall back in love with sliding rear doors. After the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica’s reveal at the 2016 Detroit auto show, we had talk with Bruce Velisek, director of Chrysler brand, who told us a bit more about his brand’s minivan.
1. The popular Stow ‘n Go system has been completely re-engineered. There’s a button at base of the minivan’s B-pillar that electronically slides the front seats forward so that second-row seats can more easily collapse and store under the floor. The folding mechanisms for those seats are now more compact, giving third-row passengers more legroom by allowing them to tuck their feet below the middle seats.
2. The “Man Van” could come back. The Pacifica is going to be the only minivan in the Fiat Chrysler family, which means the Dodge Grand Caravan is going to be killed off soon, and that means the Grand Caravan R/T “Man Van” is going away, too. We asked Velisek if a Chrysler “Man Van” could happen. “We could take it a step further if we wanted to,” he said.
3. Chrysler customers helped revive the Pacifica name. Chrysler toyed with the idea of modernizing the Town & Country name and turning it into “TC” but ditched that idea after talking to current owners, who said the new minivan should have a different name.
4. The screen for the touchscreen infotainment system is “floating.” All of the system’s operation hardware is mounted much further back in the instrument panel, which allows for that sleek, uninterrupted, iPad look. It’s a first for Fiat Chrysler, and you’ll see similar systems in other models in the not-so-distant future.
5. The rear seat entertainment displays are clever and, well, awesome. The flip-up entertainment systems are now mounted to the backs of the driver and passenger seats rather than the roof, because customers said the roof-mounted screen impeded on rearview visibility. You can send content from your phone or tablet to the screen via a USB port, HDMI input, or even across WiFi.
6. There are four silhouettes of past Chrysler minivans imprinted onto the center console. A constant reminder of how much better looking the all-new Pacifica is than its predecessors.