Chrysler Pacifica: The Car Connection's Best Family Car to Buy 2017

November 14, 2016

Families once loved minivans so much that there was a lengthy waiting list for the original people-carrier—and Chrysler is optimistic that they'll rediscover the comfort, efficiency, and (gasp!) style of a minivan once again with the 2017 Pacifica.

We think they're onto something, so much so that we are naming the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica The Car Connection's Best Family Car to Buy 2017.

MORE: Read all about our Best Car To Buy 2017 awards

No, this latest minivan from the company that essentially invented the concept isn't revolutionary today like it was back in the mid-1980s, but the Pacifica picks up right where the automaker left off years ago before conceding the segment to Honda and to its own SUVs and crossovers. If any vehicle is likely to put families back on track, it's this one.

For starters, the Pacifica simply offers some of the best utilization of interior space we've ever seen in a vehicle. It can comfortably seat six adults, or even seven in a pinch. All models feature captain's chairs with folding armrests in the front and second rows, as well as a three-piece bench at the back. But there really is no "first, second, and third class" arrangement here.

While even the base Pacifica LX is comfortable, higher-spec models get more USBs than most buyers will know what to do with, cupholders galore (a Chrysler forte), and even a pair of video touchscreens pre-loaded with games. Big moonroofs shed light on the interior, too.

When no passengers are aboard, the Pacifica's second and third rows hide away with easy into the van's floor. Chrysler's Stow 'n Go system isn't new, but it's easier to use now and the seats offer even better padding. 

MORE: Read all about our Best Car To Buy 2017 awards

If there has ever been a vehicle better suited to hauling around passengers, it was probably made by Boeing. 

Then again, you don't need a pilot's license to drive the Pacifica. Its dynamics won't thrill enthusiasts, but a strong 3.6-liter V-6 engine mated to a 9-speed automatic combines with a willing chassis to provide confidence-inspiring road manners. The van's steering is accurate and direct, and underhood growl muffled enough that passengers can happily snooze or watch a movie. 

Not only that, but the Pacifica also turns out to be one of the safest vehicles on the road. The IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick+ (when it is ordered with the valuable automatic emergency braking system), while the NHTSA recently rated it five stars overall. 

While much of our Best Car to Buy voting this year resulted in intense debates, deciding on the Pacifica was easy. Unless you really need a greater towing capacity, it's hardly worth shopping the competition. 

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