Chrysler Pacifica: Best Minivan To Buy 2021

January 6, 2021

The best utility vehicle of the year also happens to win The Car Connection's Best Minivan To Buy 2021 award, and for the fifth year in a row, the winner is the Chrysler Pacifica. Prized for its versatility, roominess, refinement, standard features, and superior practicality compared to SUVs, no other vehicle optimizes utility like the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica, especially now that it comes with all-wheel drive.

Unlike past years, however, the Pacifica faced stiffer competition from the redesigned 2021 Toyota Sienna, which goes that extra mile this year as a standard hybrid capable of getting 35 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. The more attractive styling of the Pacifica, as well as its interior refinement and Stow 'n Go second-row seats that fold into the floor, earned it the edge with a TCC Rating of 7.2 out of 10 compared to the Sienna's 6.8

From the rear wheels forward, the 2021 Pacifica looks as good if not better than many crossover SUVs on the market without trying too hard to stand out. A hood with twin bulges dips down over a broad grille flanked by LED daytime running lights cribbed from Dodge's menacing performance car family. Available 20-inch wheels and a black-in-black treatment further the sinister look that could only look better with flaming decals burning down the sides to the rear, where a single light bar across the wide back also calls to mind Dodge design.

The minivan's essence opens up with those lovely sliding doors to the interior. A clean cabin that can be trimmed in nappa leather offers easy-to-use controls, seamless infotainment, power front seats with adjustable armrests, and enough smart storage cubbies and cupholders to create the surprise rediscovery of Schmidgen the Stuffed Pigeon. With room for eight but seven more likely when equipped with standard second row captain's chairs that fold flat into the floor, the Pacifica can transition from family lounge to useful work van with a few pulls of the handles and tugs of the straps, even with all-wheel drive. With 140.5 cubic feet of space with all seats folded flat, or 32.3 cubes in back with all seats up, it shames the space and versatility of all SUVs. 

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

The all-wheel-drive option adds a hefty $2,995 to take away the Sienna's main advantage prior to this year. Unlike the Sienna, which comes standard as a fuel-sipping hybrid, the Pacifica's plug-in hybrid powertrain gets 30 mpg combined when the electricity runs out. On electricity alone, it can drive 32 miles, enough for most everyday minivan commutes, then can be plugged into the garage overnight. But the $4,950 upcharge for the Touring plug-in hybrid means it can only be had with front-wheel drive, and it can't be equipped with second-row seats that stow in the floor. The hybrid comes standard on top Limited and Pinnacle models. Other Pacifica's use a 287-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 that's plenty powerful, and a 9-speed automatic transmission that eventually finds the optimal gear to help get 22 mpg combined. 

Even in base Touring trim, the $36,540 Pacifica comes loaded with great content, including safety features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Convenience features include one of the better infotainment systems on the market in a 10.1-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa compatibility and excellent natural voice commands. 

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

The Pinnacle model tops $54,000, but adds all the finest with quilted nappa leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, a power-folding third-row bench, built-in seatback video screens and DVD player, media hubs with USB ports, 18-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, panoramic sunroof, and so much more. 

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is a great utility vehicle and the Best Minivan To Buy 2021. 

Read all about the winners of The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 awards—and find out which vehicles took home our annual Driver’s Choice awards as well as top honors from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.

This article has been corrected to reflect the $4,950 upcharge for the plug-in hybrid model. 

2021
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2021
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