- AWD option
- Great standard safety tech
- Spacious, refined interior
- Excellent ride and handling
- Thrifty hybrid option
- Hybrid is front-wheel drive only
- Sliding doors considered dorky, to dorks
- Rear seats not so comfy
- Can top $50,000
features & specs
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is ready for anything your family may throw at it, from crumbs and half-eaten gummy bears to winter travel.
Like a slab of grilled chicken with a side of kale, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica minivan is the people-hauler most families ought to be selecting rather than our preferred red meat crossovers and fried chicken SUVs.
The 2021 Pacifica becomes an even better choice over SUVs with available all-wheel drive. We like the Pacifica—so much so it's been TCC's Best Minivan To Buy every year since 2017—and for 2021 we rate it at 7.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
That rating may increase once we test drive the AWD version and get official crash and fuel economy reports.
The Pacifica comes in Touring, Touring L, Limited, and new Pinnacle trims, each of which can be had with all-wheel drive or a hybrid engine option that delivers 30 miles of gas-free driving on a full charge. The Chrysler Voyager is a lower-cost version that replaces the Pacifica's base versions.
Pacifica’s interior is one of the best in the business. It’s spacious, comfortable, and well wrought. The second- and third-row seats can be tucked into the floors when not in use in most versions to create a Home Depot-ready flat cargo area. Few vehicles short of a cargo van are as useful as the Chrysler Pacifica.
This year’s new 10.1-inch touchscreen is massive, but also intuitive and highly functional. Standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility add to the appeal, while up to 12 USB (Type A and C) ports are available throughout the cabin.
Newly standard safety tech this year brings the Pacifica up to par with its good crash-test ratings. All Pacificas now include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control.
A 3.6-liter V-6 provides muscle in every Pacifica. Standard models use a 9-speed automatic transmission to send power forward or, optionally, to all four wheels. The Pacifica’s all-wheel-drive system isn’t meant for serious off-road use, though it’s just fine for snowy roads.
The optional hybrid powertrain reduces output to 260 hp and doesn’t accelerate with the same authority, though that’s a fair trade-off for 30 mpg combined and around 30 miles of electric-only range. Unfortunately, the hybrid isn’t available with all-wheel drive.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
A new, larger grille this year is paired with striking LED lighting at the rear to cement the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica’s status as the most stylish minivan on the market.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is a stylish choice, and not just by minivan standards. This year’s updates give it a modern look with lots of high-tech touches, and it remains a 7 out of 10 on our scale.
The 2021 Pacifica discards last year’s narrow grille for a taller, almost Jaguar-like look flanked by standard LED headlights. From the side, the two-box profile is retained—really, what can you do to make a minivan look different? New taillights with a race track of red LEDs help the big van make a splash as it drives past.
The cheaper Chrysler Voyager carries over last year’s look.
Wheel-wise, 17-inchers are standard, while 20-inch alloys come with the Pacifica S appearance package and are offered on higher trims. Stick with the smaller wheels since their taller sidewalls help deliver a plusher ride without looking lost in the big wheel wells.
Inside, a new 10.1-inch touchscreen headlines changes to the Pacifica’s wavy dash. The screen is bright and sharp, and we applaud Chrysler for the easy-to-navigate climate and audio controls repeated below. A wide choice of interior hues helps buyers stray from bland grays and tans.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
A new all-wheel-drive option helps expand the plush Chrysler Pacifica’s appeal against SUVs and crossovers.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica boasts ample power, a composed ride, and it’s now ready for winter’s worst. We rate the lineup at 7 out of 10, awarding two bonus points for its plush ride and for its available hybrid powertrain.
Most Pacificas make use of a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 287 horsepower that delivers power forward through a 9-speed automatic transmission with a knurled knob for a shift lever. All-wheel drive is a standalone option, and the system can automatically disconnect the rear axle in dry conditions to save fuel.
We’ve not yet driven an all-wheel-drive 2021 Pacifica, though we’ll update this space when we do. We expect that the all-wheel-drive system will rob little of the van’s ample power, and it may even improve its handling to reduce the modest nose dive endemic to larger front-wheel-drive vehicles.
On the options list—but not with all-wheel drive—is a plug-in hybrid powertrain that uses a version of the V-6 tuned down to 260 horsepower and capable of an all-electric range of 32 miles. The Pacifica hybrid’s battery plumps up its curb weight compared to the standard model, but we’ve found acceleration to be more than acceptable.
Underneath, the Pacifica uses a car-like independent suspension to deliver a composed ride and capable handling on a winding road. The big van has a lower center of gravity than a crossover SUV, which endows it with better response and slicker moves. Braking is excellent, though pedal feel could be more progressive.
One bummer—and admittedly there are few when it comes to the Pacifica—is that the hybrid model is light on rear-seat sound deadening. It can get a little loud back there.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
Comfort & Quality
Short of an Airbus A320, there may be no better way to transport passengers than in a 2021 Chrysler Pacifica.
It’s hard for most of us to admit, but minivans just work. The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is undeniable proof. Its interior is cavernous, well thought-out, and beautifully appointed especially in pricier trims.
It’s an easy 9 out of 10 on our scale for the way it handles passengers and their considerable gear.
The van is big at around 204 inches between its bumpers, but its short hood ensures that most space is dedicated to the cabin. The Pacifica boasts 32.3 cubic feet of space with all seats up, and 140.5 cubic feet with the seats folded behind the first row. That's not as much as the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna, but the seats that fold into the floor more than make up for the competitive disadvantage.
Front-seat riders are treated to firm, comfortable seats with adjustable center armrests. Second-row bucket seats are standard, though a three-seat bench for row two is available. The second- and third-row seats are plenty spacious, with good leg and head room, though models with the trick Stow ‘n Go seats that tuck into the cargo floor when not in use are thinly padded.
Hybrids and the new range-topping Pacifica Pinnacle feature plusher second-row captain’s chairs, but they don’t fold into the floor. Whether that compromise is worthwhile depends on how you’ll use your Pacifica.
Small-item storage is exceptional, with bins, cupholders, and pockets ready to swallow up toys, drinks, pens, and other treasures. Every Pacifica boasts good interior materials, while the nappa hides covering the seats on higher-end versions are almost too nice for family hauling.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
Newly standard safety tech this year makes the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica an even better choice for families.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica hasn’t been crash tested yet, but we feel confident that last year’s good scores will carry over. Newly standard collision-avoidance features make it an even stronger choice than before, too.
For now, we rate the 2021 Pacifica at 8 out of 10.
Eight airbags are standard, as is automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. A surround-view camera is included with several option packages.
Last year, the IIHS awarded the van a Top Safety Pick, while the NHTSA granted it five stars overall. New headlights this year may improve its results in the IIHS’ testing, too.
The Voyager is related to the Pacifica, but skips active safety features like automatic emergency braking on all vans. Blind-spot monitors and parking sensors are options on all Voyagers.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is a premium van that can come with a hefty price tag.
Four trim levels with a wide range of options provide a 2021 Chrysler Pacifica for most means, and for more basic tastes and budgets there is the Chrysler Voyager. We score the lineup at 8 out of 10 based on mid-level versions that have excellent tech features, great convenience items, and are priced reasonably for what they deliver.
Chrysler hasn’t told us how much the 2021 Pacifica will cost yet, so we don’t know how much the new all-wheel-drive option will add, or how hefty the bill will be for the range-topping Pacifica Pinnacle. We'll hold our recommendation until then.
The base Touring comes with active safety tech, a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment loaded up with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, a couple of USB ports, and second- and third-row seating that tucks into the cargo floor.
That’s plenty of van for most needs, though the Touring L trim adds leather (which is easier to clean) and offers heated seats, 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio, and a few other niceties.
With its woodgrain interior trim, center console, and unique design touches, the Pinnacle trim could be appealing.
This year, all-wheel drive and the plug-in hybrid powertrain are available on every version of the Pacifica, though they cannot be selected together.
The Voyager is related to the Pacifica, but doesn't offer the same equipment.
Base Voyager L vans include a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, cloth upholstery, second-row bench seats, power features, and 17-inch wheels with covers. Chrysler doesn't make active safety features standard on the Voyager and if rated separately, it would score lower here.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica is fairly thrifty in standard form and remarkably frugal as a plug-in hybrid.
We’re still waiting for the EPA to get its hands on the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica to see if this year’s design tweaks change its fuel economy, but we feel reasonably comfortable rating the lineup at 4 out of 10 points for now.
That figure is based on the standard front-wheel-drive van that sipped fuel at a decent 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined rate in last year’s test. Higher-trim vans weigh more and use a little more gas, according to the EPA.
The Pacifica plugin hybrid earned an impressive 30 mpg combined while yielding an excellent 32-mile electric-only range, according to the EPA. That’s enough for most drivers to zip to school, work, soccer practice, and maybe an errand or two without using any gasoline. Sign us up.
The Chrysler Voyager rates identically to the Pacifica, but doesn't offer a plug-in hybrid or all-wheel-drive van.