2023 Chrysler Pacifica
Redefining Family Travel with Luxury and Versatility
The family minivan that blends spacious comfort, smart technology, and thoughtful features into a child’s and parent’s favorite.
By J-F Wright
Wed, Oct 4, 2023 05:20 AM PST
Images edited by Erica Wright.
The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica - actually the Pacifica in general - is a standout in the minivan segment, offering families a comfortable and versatile ride. There’s good reason that the Pacifica continues to be a top choice for families seeking a practical yet luxurious vehicle to haul their big and little loved ones around.
The interior of the Pacifica impresses with its thoughtful design. The ample space ensures that even adults can comfortably sit in the third row and the fact that all seats fold seamlessly into the floor (“Stow-n-Go”) adds a remarkable level of adaptability. You could easily transform this minivan into a cozy sleeping space for a road trip for two. To make things even more posh, in the Limited trim you have the convenience of electrically folding and unfolding the third-row seats. The 60/40 split allows you to choose which seats to fold down or raise as needed.
The full-length sunroof is a delightful feature that allows passengers in the second row to gaze up - at the stars, summer clouds, or maybe the inner-city skyline. Then there’s the convenience of shades on all windows except the front, providing a pleasant driving experience even in bright sunlight.
The Harmon Cardon speaker system delivers an exceptional audio experience, with deep bass that doesn't result in those annoying vibrations that spread through the interior. It would, however, be nice to have more cupholders in the rear seats, as they are currently limited to the doors and can be challenging for kids to reach. The Pacifica's design ensures excellent visibility, even for rear passengers. Huge windows let the outside in, even for the little ones who might not have grown tall enough to see out through the windows of other vehicles. The unobstructed roofline allows full-grown adults, including those in the third row, to move around comfortably.
The ability to turn off the infotainment screen at night to prevent glare is a nice touch - actually something I would love to see in other, all, cars. However, having a dedicated button to turn on the backup (surround) camera would also be convenient, especially for parking situations. I’d like to just be able to hit a button as I pull into the parking lot, so I’m already set up for a one-attempt go at pulling into a parking spot. Obviously it turns on when reverse is engaged, but what if I’m pulling straight into a spot and just want to know when I’m perfectly centered?
Of course, the electrically operated side doors and rear tailgate are essential features for a minivan. They make loading and unloading a breeze and can be operated from multiple locations within the vehicle as well as from the key fob. They’re also great fun for kids - who’d imagine that opening a door could be fun?
Family Friendly Features - FamCam and Stow-n-Vac
The FamCam is a game-changer, providing a top-down view of the interior, allowing you to monitor all occupants without turning around while driving. This feature even gives you the ability to click on a kid on the infotainment screen to zoom in and check to make sure everything seems ok. Any parent anywhere that has ever had their kids in the back seat (where they should be), definitely understands why this is a great feature.
The built-in vacuum cleaner is also a practical addition. Even if you don't vacuum your car frequently, it encourages keeping your vehicle clean, a crucial aspect for families with messy little ones. It’s not their fault you’re handing them crumble cookies to keep them awake on the way home from preschool.
Driving Characteristics & Handling
While all-wheel drive might not be necessary for daily driving, it's a must for areas with adverse weather conditions. The fact that you can ride around in the comfort and flexibility of a minivan and yet have the all-wheel drive to make it drivable in snow/mud makes me question why I see so many large SUVs, and not more AWD minivans…
The Pacifica's handling is stable and predictable - two great compliments when talking about a car meant to transport my most precious cargo - but it won't be breaking any speed records. It offers a stable ride with minimal body roll, making it a reliable choice for families. We aren’t busting around corners or whipping through twisty mountain roads anyway.
The auto start-stop feature is responsive enough for me to leave it on without being bothered. There is a convenient button to disable it, but since it worked so well I didn’t feel the need to do that. Nice.
Technology and Features
The Limited trim comes equipped with two TVs for the second row, offering various entertainment options including Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Prime Video. For twenty bucks a months your car can have an unlimited data subscription so you can stream as much as you and your kids wish. Impressive, even if I’m one of those parents who don’t their kids glued to screens during road trips.
The Pacifica offers a three-zone climate control, ensuring everyone's comfort. It's user-friendly, with controls accessible both from the front and the rear. The ability to limit rear control is a thoughtful touch to prevent temperature disputes among passengers - a.k.a. “sibling-fights”. And with an array of USB and USB-C ports the Chrysler Pacifica ensures that everyone can stay connected and charged.
This is a minivan. One would think that once you cross the line and opt for a minivan you aren’t too concerned about what the car looks like from the outside. Maybe you’re even wearing a t-shirt with the text “DadBod” printed across the front..? I saw someone with one of those t-shirts recently, and I doubt his car was as nice as the Pacifica. For the Pacifica is pretty sweet, both inside and out.
Our review vehicle has the “S Appearance” package, adding an extra sting to the exterior. Mainly, this package adds a bunch of gloss-black details throughout - most notably the exterior mirrors and around the grille - but it’s the little things that make the Pacifica pop.
I know there are lots of folks who wouldn’t want to get caught driving a minivan.. I’m not sure what they are using their car to compensate for (a DadBod?), but I think they’re missing out. I definitely wouldn’t have a problem cruising around in a Pacifica. Yeah, it’s a minivan - but it’s a kick-ass minivan.
Throughout our week reviewing the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica, it became evident that this minivan is tailored for families. Its spacious interior, versatile seating, and thoughtful features make it a top choice for those seeking comfort and convenience. While it may not be a speed demon, its secure handling and excellent visibility ensure a safe journey. The Pacifica, especially in the Limited trim, is packed with family-friendly features, from the built-in vacuum cleaner to the entertainment systems and FamCam.
If you're in the market for a family car that caters to everyone's needs, the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica should definitely be on your list. As far as minivans go the Pacifica keeps its status as the pinnacle of minivans, catering to the modern family's demands while providing a comfortable and enjoyable ride.
About The Author
John-Fredrik Wright was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer-job as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among other things the renowned "elk-avoidance maneuver") and advanced driving techniques.