By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The new for-2021 Chrysler Pacifica set’s a new standard in the class, and not hard to see why with over 15 million Chrysler minivans sold since its introduction 37 years ago. Chrysler invented the whole minivan segment and has always kept ahead of the game. Under the FIAT, FCA – North America banner the new Pacifica redefines the sector with such feature as hybrid power or gas engine option, class-leading all-wheel-drive capability paired with the famous Stow ‘n Go seating system, a new customizable Uconnect 5 system that is five times faster, and a host of updates. Looks wise, the new Canadian-built 2021 Chrysler Pacifica has a new exterior design with a classy, sleek profile and neat front and rear fascia.

There a number of trims lines in the Pacifica family – all well-equipped with as standard convenience, and luxury features. The all-new Uconnect 5 system, offered for the first time in a North American vehicle and standard across the Pacifica lineup, includes a largest-in-class 10.1-inch touchscreen, which is nearly 20 per cent larger than the screen it replaces. The system is five times faster than Uconnect 4 and includes the Alexa Concierge system, enabling  occupants to use Alexa to play music, podcasts and audiobooks; add items to their to-do list; check news, weather, traffic, sports and other real-time information; and access tens of thousands of Alexa skills.

The new 2020 Chrysler Pacifica also gives parents well – needed relief with the new available FamCAM interior camera that delivers a best-in-class high-definition image and allows the driver a view of rear-facing child seat occupants in the second row, and even allows them to zoom in on passengers. Another first for the segment, new USB Type C ports allow devices to charge up to four times faster than standard USB outlets. Overall interior space is huge, well designed with a lot of thought reflected into the design and everyday versatility. There is room for up to eight occupants in spacious comfortable seats. With efficient easy to use ventilation controls. Rear cargo space measures a massive 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cu-ft behind the second row, and 140.5 cu-ft behind the first row. Front/second/third row legroom is in turn 41.1/39/36.5 inches.

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica offer a choice of two powerful, efficient and advanced powertrains: the standard award-winning Pentastar V-6 engine and the still class-exclusive hybrid option. Our tester was the Touring model with the V6 engine at a reasonable $43,495. However we had a host of options added such as: Mopar Interior Protection Package ($895) with Stow ’n Go storage tub liners, Cargo area all−weather floor, Bright door sill guards, SafetyTec Group ($995) comprising of  Park−Sense Rear Park Assist  Blind−Spot Monitoring w/ Rear Cross−Path Detection. Also added, a must have for Canadians was the Cold Weather Group ($695), including: Front heated seats, heated leather−wrapped steering wheel, 8−passenger seating ($495) Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4−inch display ($995). Final tally came to $49,810 including destination charge.

The Chrysler Pacifica’s 3.6-liter V-6 makes 287 hp and 262 lb-ft, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. On the road, the tried and proven Pentastar V6 proved to be plenty smooth with ample torque, allowing for smooth acceleration. Handling is good, surprisingly good. No doubt, thanks to the Pacifica use of front struts and rear trailing arms, combined with well calibrated electric power steering, there is fairly agile cornering, and controlled body roll. Load it with eight people and it becomes a little slower to be expected. But overall it a pleasant, nicely mannered minivan and the comfortable seats will mean long journeys won’t tire occupants out. Properly equipped, the Chrysler Pacifica can tow up to 3,600 pounds. Fuel economy is rated at: 10; 6L/100km combined. 12.4 In the city and 8.4 on the highway which is not bad at all.

The Pacifica has regained the Minivan crown from the likes of the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna, and is set to retain it. Not much to complain about. Some options although nice, are expensive. The Pacifica is highly competitive with a great interior luxury and offers excellent features. The Pacifica is the new benchmark minivan in this sector, and not hard to see why it is winning awards. If you are looking for the ultimate eight -seater minivan with a cavernous interior and supreme comfort, here it is! A top buy.

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Touring: Priced from $43,495. Price as tested with options and destination $49,810.