Posh people mover. Let's face it, minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica have never been glamorous. Their place in the pecking order has always been unfortunately a lowly byproduct of their utilitarian roots and a defined, unexciting shape. We think that's a shame, as there may be nothing quite so beautiful as being able to fit the whole brood and all accompanying gear and luggage in one vehicle with room to spare.

Our thoughts aren't exactly shared by the populace at large: minivan sales continue to slide, despite the current crop of these ideal people movers being as advanced, comfortable, and luxurious as ever. Of the remaining players, the Pacifica is the most premium and perhaps the most alluring - and yes, such a word can be used to describe a minivan.

The Pacifica has another trick up its sleeve as well: an available plug-in hybrid that uses a pair of electric motors mated up to the 3.6-liter V-6 that powers the rest of the lineup. It can travel 32 miles on electric power alone and returns nearly 40 mpg in hybrid mode.

The hybrid is only available with front-wheel drive, but the rest of the Pacifica lineup is now available with all-wheel drive. This isn't a game-changer - you could get all-wheel drive in a Chrysler van back in the early 1990s - but recently only the Toyota Sienna offered all-weather traction. The 2021 Pacifica kills Toyota's monopoly in that regard, and we imagine that will lead to stiffer competition in the northern climes.

Stylish, and not just for a minivan. It helps the Chrysler Pacifica is a classy piece on its own accord as well. It wears elegant sheet metal that reflects Chrysler's aspirational roots and puts the Pacifica on an aesthetically higher plane than its key competitors, the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.

The 2021 styling refresh only refines things further. The headlights have been sized down the grille has been replaced with a larger but classier mesh piece, and a new front bumper gives a crisper, more formal impression. In back, full-width taillights enhance the sense of width

The sum of the updates results in what's probably the classiest minivan since the late 1990s Chrysler Town and Country. While the Sienna and Odyssey are overt maximalists, the Chrysler is all restrained lines and sleek minimalism. It's an elegant approach that visually justifies the Pacifica's steep asking prices relative to its competitive set.

Chrysler Pacifica

Feature-laden cabin. Inside, the Pacifica continues the uptown vibes with a swooping dashboard and stylish door panels to match. It's contemporary without being too trendy; the low-slung dash and gentle undulations of the dash don't look four years old. Sharp trim is either glossy or brushed aluminum depending on the surface, but it all works together seamlessly.

Complementing the cabin design is an ambitious set of standard features. Even the cheapest Pacifica, the roughly $35,000 Touring gets tri-zone climate control, a power driver's seat, a power liftgate, and all manner of storage and cubbies.

More features get piled on as you move up the trim ladder, but the new Pinnacle trim outdoes them all. It sports a snazzy black-and-tan interior with quilted Nappa leather upholstery with contrasting stitching and piping, lumbar adjustment on the second-row captain's chairs, and 200 liters of storage across its two storage consoles.

More features get piled on as you move up the trim ladder, but the new Pinnacle trim outdoes them all. It sports a snazzy black-and-tan interior with quilted Nappa leather upholstery with contrasting stitching and piping, lumbar adjustment on the second-row captain's chairs, and 200 liters of storage across its two storage consoles in the first two rows. Forget customized Mercedes Sprinters - this is the sort of van life we want to live.

The Pacifica certainly feels roomy enough to stand in for van life. Cargo space ranges from 32 cubic feet behind the third row to a massive 140 cubes with both rear rows folded. Those figures trail the Odyssey and Sienna and roughly match the Kia Sedona.

Loads of tech. Gracing the dashboard is a new 10.1-inch touchscreen. Besides looking the part of a premium system, the new unit features faster processing speeds and the latest version of Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment software. Augmenting the additional screen real estate is new wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a particularly welcome touch.

Chrysler doesn't limit tech to its touchscreen, either. Simultaneous Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-seat camera, and a rear-seat infotainment system with twin 10 1-inch screens are among the available equipment. Need to charge up? There are up to 12 USB outlets scattered throughout the three rows of seating.

Through last year, the Pacifica's list of standard safety tech wasn't as comprehensive as it needed to be - not when the Sienna Odyssey, and Sedona all came standard with the full complement of modern driver aids. Chrysler finally addresses this by making formerly optional safety kit standard, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

All the above positions the Pacifica as one of the most tech-forward vans in the segment. The entire competitive set comes with smaller touchscreens, and you won't find 12 USB ports on any other competitor. And wireless smartphone compatibility? Nowhere but the Pacifica.

Final thoughts. There's a lot to like about the Pacifica: optional all-wheel drive, available hybrid power, lots of luxury and tech, and plenty of room. If you're tempted to poo-poo the price, hold your thoughts and go check out the Chrysler Voyager, which is nothing but a low-spec Pacifica that wears a $28,000 price tag.

Between both vans, Chrysler is showing that their grasp of the minivan market has not let up in recent years - if anything, they're as dominant as ever. We'd be worried if we were the competition.

Check prices for the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica »