The 880 mystery is over: meet the new Chrysler Pacifica

You must have already spent some time thinking about the video below, which was posted to the Chrysler website some days ago. And the answer, expected to be given at the 2016 NAIAS, is above.  This is the new Chrysler Pacifica, which will replace the Town & Country, carry 8 people and have a 80 mpg (2.9 l per 100 km) with hybrid aid. Or the 880 you see below.

The new Pacifica is a 5.17 m long, 2.02 m wide, 1,78 m tall vehicle. No other word describes it better than “massive”. Its 3.09 m wheelbase helps it carry 8 passengers with comfort. Even so, it is light, considering its mindblowing dimensions: only 1,964 kg for the petrol only version. The hybrid models are much heavier: 2,242 kg, or 278 kg more. Not only due to batteries, but also to the electric engine and electric control systems. This low weight has been obtained with the use of aluminum body components, such as the sliding doors and the liftgate.

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The petrol version is equipped with a 3.6 V6 Pentastar engine that generates 214 kW at 6,400 rpm and 355 Nm at 4,000 rpm. It will offer a 9-speed automatic transmission, the same one used by the Jeep Renegade. The car is built over an entirely new platform. Allpar has said it is the RU platform, derived from the CUSW, but the new minivan just seems to be too big to fit a C segment architecture. We will keep an eye on that to discover which platform has really been used.

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The hybrid version also uses a 3.6 V6 Pentastar, but with a Atkinson cycle. It gets way more fuel saving with that, but also less powerful: FCA informs it produces 185 kW at 5,800 rpm and 312 Nm at 4,400 rpm, but does not reveal the total power available with the electric engine.

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Allpar, once again, says it has 194 kW, or 20 kW less than the regular petrol engine alone. It this is correct, we fear the hybrid version, heavier, more expensive and less powerful, will be deemed as a lousy people mover. Even if it can run up to 48 km only on electricity. The transmission is an electrically variable transmission (EVT) with two electric engines. In other hybrids, one engine works as a generator and the other powers the wheels, but FCA’s exclusive transmission uses a one-way clutch, what allows both engines to work as generators or to power the wheels.

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The name Pacifica has been revived, according to Sergio Marchionne, because there was the need to keep on selling Town & Country and Caravan units for a period of time while the new model launched. And the first Pacifica (peaceful, in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) was considered as a good model. Why not 700 or even 800? We should ask Marchionne, but, at this point, it would be just small talk.

Among its interesting features, the new minivan will offer handsfree power sliding doors, handsfree power liftgate, optional 20-inch wheels, parallel and perpendicular park assist systems, 10-inch touchscreens for the second row of seats and our favourite, the “Are We There Yet?” navigation app, which will tell children how far they are from getting to where the car is heading. A parents-patience saving device.

The new Pacifica will be offered in LX, Touring, Touring-L, Touring-L Plus, Hybrid Touring, Hybrid, Limited and Limited Platinum trims. There is no word on what each of them will bring, but that will be only detailed when prices are released.

 

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.