We've now started the second half of our yearlong test with a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited minivan, and it's road-trip season.
The miles have clicked past quickly as we packed the Pacifica for weekend adventures. Whether it was weddings in Iowa or family time at the cabin in northern Minnesota, it's been in a near-constant state of motion.
Our Pacifica now has nearly 13,000 miles on it, which means we've put over 4,000 miles on it in the last six weeks alone.
Those miles haven't come easily for our blue chariot. It's been subjected to two young kids, a dog, and all the gear and mess that comes with that chaos.
How has it held up?
Fitting the kids
In this day, kids mean car seats, and we've used them on a near-daily basis. Our conclusion: You won't have any issues with car seats when you're hauling the family in the Pacifica—pretty much ever.
There are four LATCH and tether points for car seats in most Pacificas, or five if you opt for the available second-row bench seat.
While they're not hard to get to, the LATCH points in the Pacifica are tucked between the back and bottom cushion. This requires you to push the LATCH connectors into the crack of the seat to secure them. The new 2018 Honda Odyssey does it somewhat better, with LATCH connection points visible above the junction of the bottom cushion and seat back, making them easier to connect into.
Placing a front- or rear-facing car seat in the second row isn't an issue, and leaves plenty of room for the front-seat passengers.
Most interesting is the LATCH-and-tether point in the third row on the left-hand side. It's offset to the right, sited between the third row's outboard driver side seat and middle seat. When asked, a Chrysler representative told us "during testing with customers, in development, it allowed for the greatest family flexibility." This setup takes away the option to wedge a person in the middle of the third-row between two car seats, which would be an unpleasant experience for that passenger.
Those who choose to install a car seat in the third row will find the experience a mixed bag. Front-facing car seats and boosters won't be an issue, but placing a rear-facing car seat behind a rear-facing car seat in the second row could pose an issue for most.
In our testing, done with a Chicco NextFit rear-facing car seat in its most reclined position, we were able to squeeze a rear-facing car seat behind a rear-facing car seat, but only barely. That's great, but it took some effort to make it all fit, and the Chicco NextFit rear-facing car seat is among the most compact rear-facing seats on the market. Many other rear-facing car seats likely won't be able to perform this magical feat.
Interestingly, it took less effort to fit a rear-facing car seat in front of a rear-facing car seat in our long-term 2016 Honda Pilot, and we had space to spare. We have yet to see if that's possible in the new 2018 Honda Odyssey, but rest assured, we will.
Power plugs, screens, and utility
Hauling kids is a chore, beyond just getting the car seats into the vehicle and the kids into the seats. Keeping them entertained is a monumental feat, and Chrysler has equipped the high-end Pacifica for the task.
Our Pacifica Limited has the Uconnect Theater Package for $1,995, which includes dual 10.0-inch seat back-mounted screens, a player for Blu-ray and DVD discs, USB video input, two 3-channel video remotes, two 3-channel wireless headphones, a 12-volt outlet in the console, and a 110-volt socket in the cargo bay.