In the year following its introduction, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica receives a new, lower-priced entry-level trim, the Pacifica L, adding another dimension to a vehicle that in terms of style, safety, features, and versatility, stands at the top of the minivan class.

Best Value

2018 Pacifica models range in price from $28,535 for a base L trim to nearly $50,000 for a fully-optioned, range-topping Limited model. All regular Pacificas (a hybrid model is also offered and listed separately) are front-wheel-drive and equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 paired with a nine-speed automatic.

We'd skip the L, LX, and Touring Plus trims and head straight for the Touring L with its easier-to-clean leather seats (these are family haulers, after all). The Touring L builds on the Touring Plus upgrades (power sliding doors, fog lights, automatic headlights, power liftgate, heated outside mirrors, 3-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, and keyless entry with pushbutton start) with a roof rack, rain-sensing wipers, second- and third-row sunshades, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated front seats. The Touring L also allows access to a number of optional safety features not available on lower trims.

  • Model: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L
  • Engine: 3.6-liter V6
  • Output: 287 hp / 262 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 19 City / 28 Hwy (start-stop models) 18 City / 28 Hwy (L model)
  • Options: Advanced SafetyTec Group ($995, surround view camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, parallel and perpendicular park assist, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, acoustic windshield glass)
  • Base Price: $36,590 (including a $1,095 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $37,585

Performance

Chrysler Pacifica

The Pacifica's V6 offers crisp acceleration and is paired to Fiat Chrysler's nine-speed automatic that, at least in this application, shifts nearly flawlessly (this transmission is notoriously finicky in other FCA products). That, combined with its smooth, controlled handling, makes it a top choice as a family hauler.

The only things holding the Pacifica back are an overly-stiff brake pedal that's difficult to modulate and the lack of an all-wheel-drive option.

Interior and Exterior

With the Pacifica's crisp, upscale, urban-inspired styling, we finally have a minivan with the looks to match its versatility. A low beltline offers excellent driver visibility, the interior features a flowing, stitched dash, plenty of places to stash your stuff, seating for up to 8 adults (on some models), and second and third row seating that folds into the floor for maximum payload capacity. During normal use, those same cubbies are available for additional storage.

Only one nit here: in a cost-saving move, the L model comes without the middle row stow-and-go seats, so plan on upgrading if you ever plan on hauling stuff rather than people.

The Best and Worst Things

The Pacifica's combination of good looks, slick interior, and overall versatility make it the star of the minivan class. But while it offers the availability of a wide range of advanced safety systems, the most useful features are limited to the Touring L trim and above.

Right For? Wrong For?

Chrysler Pacifica

It's really a shame that consumers are migrating away from minivans to crossovers, as the Pacifica's blend of style, comfort, versatility, and fuel efficiency make it a more compelling choice for most families.

At the same time, it's important to point out that despite everything FCA has done, the Pacifica is still a minivan, so singles need not apply.

The Bottom Line

Despite lacking the choice of advanced safety features on lower trim models, its sleek styling, solid handling, and innate versatility make the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica the top choice in the minivan class.