The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L AWD is one of the most luxurious vehicles we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. It’s not the most luxurious in the way something like a big Mercedes is – although it does a damn fine job in its own right – but more in the peace of mind that, no matter what your life throws at you, it can handle it. Easily.
Kid? Two kids? Kid’s friends? Your friends? Your kids and their friends and your spouse and all their stuff? All of the above and a boat? All of the above in miserable weather? What about your other friend who is getting rid of their really nice dresser? You can swing by and pick that up after you’ve hit Costco, on your way to get your kids and their friends and their stuff. It just doesn’t stop. It can do it all. Easily.
While crossover SUV’s have stolen the spotlight, there isn’t a single one in the land that comes even close to being as useful as a minivan. The minivan made a lot of sense decades ago, and it’s every bit as relevant now. The 2022 Pacifica is the benefit of nearly forty years of development and refinement, and packed to the brim with hardware, software, and thoughtful details to make integrating it into your life easy.
Our Pacifica Touring-L came with the S appearance package, which includes black 20-inch wheels shod with Pirelli P-Zero all season tires, blacked out front and rear fascias and window trim, and perforated leather seats embroidered with the S logo. Finished in beautiful Fathom Blue Pearl paint and paired with a recent facelift, it has real presence. Chrysler’s design team went to considerable effort to make the Pacifica handsome and hide its van-ness, and this new appearance package really sets the look off and even generated compliments (twice, honestly!)
Our test vehicle also came with the relatively new all wheel drive package, introduced last year to match the Toyota Sienna and maintain competitiveness against the deluge of crossovers in the market. It raises the Pacifica very slightly (0.8 inches) to accommodate the extra hardware, and the suspension gets a little firmer, too. Impressively, it does this without compromising the use of Chrysler’s Stow-n-Go seating, a game-changer feature that allows both the second and third row of seating to be folded flat into the floor in a snap – that second row remains fixed in the hybrid Pacifica models.
That Stow-n-Go seating means the Pacifica has what is quite possibly the most versatile cabin space in any vehicle on the market right now. The value of being able to add or delete seats on a whim cannot be overstated. It’s a bit like the first time you get a Swiss Army knife: You’re not quite sure what you’re gonna do with it, but then all the sudden you start finding uses for it and eventually you wonder how you ever managed without it. It’s nothing short of genius.
The convenience doesn’t stop there – both of the sliding doors and the rear hatch are power operated via buttons on the remote and the overhead console, so you can open and close entries while you’re walking up or getting out. Those power doors also have conveniently placed buttons on their respective pillars that fall naturally to hand, so you can load whatever, and give the button a tap to get things closing up while you’re walking back to the driver’s seat. There’s piles of charging and auxiliary ports, nooks, cubbies, drawers, and two vacuums to tidy up, too. The Pacifica is full of these little quality of life touches to make living with it a cinch.
The Pacifica isn’t all about the passengers and cargo space, as the driver is well taken care of behind the wheel, as well. The seats are supportive, breathable, and very comfortable. Luxury cars and crossovers can boast all they want, but there’s no beating the ergonomics of a captain’s chair. The dashboard displays terrific ergonomics as well, with a simple, clean layout with just enough physical controls for the essentials, and all else relegated to Chrysler’s brilliant infotainment system.
Chrysler’s UConnect is and pretty much always has offered some of the best user experience on the market. This new fifth generation continues that trend, controlled by a 10.1-inch touchscreen with excellent resolution, brightness, and contrast levels. It boots up immediately and is snappy with response, and is terrifically intuitive. The TomTom powered navigation system is among the best we’ve ever seen, and alerts you of upcoming speed and red light cameras even if you don’t have a route dialed in.
On the road, the Pacifica handles itself admirably. Chrysler has gone to great lengths to hide the fact that it’s a two and half ton behemoth, and they’ve largely succeeded. It feels smaller and lower than it actually is, with tight, well gauged steering and taut body control. It can feel just a little too taut at times, with the stiffened AWD suspension and those dub wheels combining to provide a ride that can feel choppy over sharp bumps in the road – but it’s never even close to harsh. It’s thoroughly quiet, easy to see out of, easy to maneuver and very easy to park.
The Pacifica is motivated by Chrysler’s reliable “Pentastar” 3.6L V6 engine, generating 287hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, routed through a ZF sourced 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s very eager off the line, and has plenty of passing power at the ready. The powertrain combo is rated for a 3600 lb towing capacity, so if you have something that won’t fit in the cavernous cargo area, you can still bring it with you.
Chrysler rates the Pacifica AWD with fuel economy ratings of 12.4, 8.4, & 10.6 L/100km in city, highway, and combined, respectively. We saw an average reading of 11.4 L/100km, but we think our Pacifica’s calculations might have been a little pessimistic. It would only accept 55.2L of fuel at the end of our 591km test period, indicating an actual fuel economy of 9.4L/100km. Not bad at all for a small luxury condominium with all wheel drive.
The mileage computer wasn’t the only foible we encountered – although thankfully, they too were minor. On one occasion when I attempted to use the multimedia screens on the backs of the front seats, they refused to turn on; I haven’t the faintest idea why, and it never came up again. When another tester tried again on another occasion, they got stuck in a Wifi login loop and gave up.
Some of us didn’t care for the Pacifica’s over eager throttle response, finding that it was difficult to be perfectly smooth when coming on and off throttle, and the transmission occasionally had to think about what it was doing when prodded at lower speeds. The engine stop/start function wasn’t too obtrusive, and had the good sense to not repeatedly kill and resurrect the engine when creeping in traffic, but we’d still prefer it weren’t there at all and avoided using it.
We also noted some fit and finish issues: the leather on our steering wheel had a few uneven spots, and some of the stitching was a little too tight on the armrests. There was also a flyaway stitch on the passenger seat. Besides those, our Pacifica felt solid and fairly well screwed together with generally good quality materials employed throughout. These issues remind us that Chrysler unfortunately still isn’t up to the flawless build quality of its overseas rivals, but they don’t detract from what is otherwise a very smart buy.
There’s a sense with some other vehicles that you’re supposed to study the owner’s manual and take the time to learn and set up your car’s many systems and features. There’s a sense that, if you can’t figure something out, it’s your fault; you’re the idiot here. With the Pacifica, there’s a real sense of relatability in that, this thing was designed here, by people who live here, who get it. Chrysler is still headquartered in Michigan, with snowy weather, salty roads, broken pavement and busy lives just like ours.
They know that if you shelled out some $62,375 for a minivan like our tester, your life is probably pretty hectic and you don’t have time to study an owner’s manual. The Pacifica goes out of its way at every step to make sure you never have to, and you’re never an idiot for it. For this not-so-hypothetical person who is perpetually running about ten minutes behind because they have a million and one things to do, the 2022 Pacifica Touring-L S AWD is just about perfect. There isn’t a single vehicle in the land that can do everything this does and make it look so easy while doing it.