Exterior styling is dramatic for a minivan, with a lower roofline and hip point, a sharply sloped windshield and noticeable side-glass tip-in, all riding on a longer wheelbase with a wider track to give the Pacifica a planted and dynamic stance, says Brandon Faurote, head of exterior design. Large 20-in. wheels – up 3 ins. compared with the current Town & Country – are available.

Front-end styling is highlighted by a floating Chrysler wing in a mesh grille surrounded by a Mobius strip of never-ending chrome, while the side view picks up that theme in chrome elements intended to give the vehicle a more SUV/CUV appearance. The hybrid model comes exclusively in silver teal at launch.

Interior styling is refined, accentuating interior spaciousness and width, says Winnie Cheung, head of interior design. “Typically, people buy in this segment out of necessity. We want to provide an emotional appeal.”

A Chrysler-first flush-mounted 8.4-in. (21-cm) flat screen highlights the center stack while available seatback-mounted 10-in. (25-cm) touchscreens provide rear-seat entertainment. “Every row offers something special, not a compromise,” Cheung says.

Minivans have slipped from a high of more than 1 million sales annually to about half that now, but the segment remains important to Chrysler. With 6 million Chrysler minivans still in service, the company hopes this latest generation can reclaim the sales lead in the segment it created – and owned, until Honda and Toyota jumped in.

“We’ve developed a modern minivan to appeal to a modern family,” says Bruce Velisek, director-Chrysler product marketing. “It’s going to change the paradigm for minivans.”

The Pacifica is built at Chrysler’s Windsor, ON, Canada, plant, alongside the carryover ’17 Dodge Grand Caravan that Chrysler has said will be dropped from the lineup at some unspecified date. Earlier Chrysler product plans indicated production of the Dodge minivan would cease in 2016.

bgritzinger@wardsauto.com