Chrysler Pacifica: Judging for 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors

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“Minivan” might not be the first vehicle that comes to mind when considering interiors noted for breakthrough styling, but the all-new Chrysler Pacifica changes all that. With its inviting and spacious layout, functional design and all-around solid craftsmanship, the sixth-generation minivan is rewriting perceptions of the common people mover.

The basis of the Pacifica’s vastly improved cabin starts under the carpet and behind the trim, where a significantly stiffer body shell provides the kind of structure needed to hold everything in place. Minivans are notorious for being rattletraps, but we found no annoying creaks or suspicious squeaks here.

Layered upon that structure are exceptionally high-quality materials, whether for the soft-touch dashboard, the integrated flat-screen surface of the touchscreen or the cushioned armrests at all four captain’s chair positions in our $48,455 Limited test model. The little flourishes, like the roll-top desk look of the center console cover and the built-in sunshades for the second and third rows, put the Pacifica over the top.

The driver seat provides a commanding view of the road and easy access to controls via steering-wheel buttons, touchscreen or voice commands. It doesn’t take long to get comfortable with all the key functions.

The kind of continuous improvement that gets our attention is evident in the upgraded Stow ’n Go seating system. Yes, the second-row seats still fold neatly into large tubs in the floor, but Stow ’n Go assist now makes the job much easier by powering the front seats out of the way with a touch of a button. On upper-trim models, the third row power folds into the floor and has power-reclining seatbacks. Nice. And the third row is even comfortable for adults.

Pacifica also gets a major upgrade in its UConnect entertainment system, with built-in screens for each second-row seat featuring connectivity for any type of device. Add in a Rigid brand wet/dry vacuum to suck up the messes and your rolling home-away-from-home is ready for travel.

– Bob Gritzinger

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