Having owned and liking a 2007 KIA Sedona, I assumed I'd stick with the KIA brand if I ever needed to replace her. However, life happened and we found ourselves looking at the newest generation of Sedona and although the KIA powertrains, technology etc. have improved in years we did not really care for the style and shape of the new Sedonas. I thought maybe a truck would suit our needs but the all-around versatility of a mini-van can't be ignored or forgotten after owing one for >13 years.
We test drove Sedonas and although we liked the newer ones we discovered the newer interior seats for the driver & passenger did not provide the same space as our older Sedona did. So we sat in, climbed in, played with buttons in the other Japanese competitors lineups but we didn't like their front seating or the weird shape of their mini-vans either.
The Chrysler Pacifica really hit the marks on the list for us when we checked one out and the space for the front seats was the clincher..
The 2020 Pacifica is a good looking mini-van from all angles. The S-Appearance package and 20" inch Black Noise wheels give it a very modern sporty look that stands out from the other competitors mini-vans.
Front seat support & comfort
The front seats in the other mini-vans ftom Kia, Honda, and Toyota felt constricting and my spouse loves the ample hip room the Pacifica front seats provide.
The steering is firm and assured while road feel transmission to the driver is very good and responsiveness to steering input is crisp. Corners can be taken with confidence with minute body roll as well.
The suspension of the Pacifica absorbs road imperfections well and there is very little body sway when changing lanes at higher speeds.
The V6 engine has plenty of power for accelerating up the on-ramps or passing in the fast lane. This 2020 Pacificas transmission has been smooth on both up & down shifts. There is a small irksome split second of hesitation when giving it gas and responiveness of the transmission grabbing a lower gear.
It's a mini-van folks, use your beater truck/Jeep if you want go down those tank trails to the fishing hole.
Safety & braking
The braking is excellent and the Advanced Safety Tech package provides a plethora of driver assistance functions e.g. lane departure, adaptive crusise control, blind spot monitoring/alarms, front/rear parking sensors, adjustable forward collision warning/braking, air bags/curtains and more.
We did make use of the all-time ESC when driving on snow/ice and it would flash when the driver could tell the tire-to-surface traction was not optimal.
The front windshield acoustic glass and active noise cancellation system provide a quiet space when traveling the highways.Slight wind noise above 75mph can be heard only when you put your ear by the B-pillar on the front doors. Even road thrum from milled highways is muted and the driver 'feels' it in their hands thru the steering wheel.
Fuel economy on a 2k highway speeds road trip in rain, snow, ice, and finally dry heat averaged over 26.7 mpg. City driving average was >18 mpg.
*Note this computaion does not factor in any towing.
Rear seat room & comfort
The 2nd row seats are firm and provide enough legroom for persons <6ft but="" do="" not="" slide="" fwd="" backwd="" 3rd="" row="" seating="" is="" comfortable="" for="" short="" durations="" persons="">6ft but the 2nd row seat backs can be folded flat for more room if not occupied or stored in the floor to provide generous legroom if passengers ride in the 3rd row.
Driving position & visibility
The Pacifica has excellent vision all around and next to zero blind spots no matter the drivers position. Blind spot monitoring system and audible & visual alerts enhance awareness during limited visibility driving.
Controls and instruments
Controls and instruments are laid out easily except for the start/stop button which is partially hidden by the steering wheel as has been noted before. The 8.4" touchscreen and U-Connect system menus are easier to navigate than the other competitors. The 'secondary/manual' climate controls are good to have if the display screen was to ever go out.
Con is the only way to control the seats heat/cool ventilation and heated steering wheel is thru the on-screen menus.
Audio/media functions are thru the the on-screen menus or toggle/rocker switches on the steering wheel rear side.
The Parking Sense, Lane Departure, Electronic Stop/Start and Electronic Stability Control functions have buttons that enable/disable the function vs. relying on a touch screen menu.
I truly believe a mini-van trumps an SUV for utility. My Jeep is used if I need to tow a trailer, go off-road etc. I see young families struggle to load/off-load kids, gear, groceries etc. when with the push of a button, you have two sliding doors on your min-van magically open when your hands are full and the kids can pile-in or out on their own due to the lower-to-ground clearance.
3rd row seating in an SUV is almost useless if the kids car seats are strapped in and other passengers need to enter/exit. BTW, parking spots seem to be made for compact cars and how often do you have to tell the kids to be careful when opening the doors? That's not necessary with sliding doors folks and they look cool opening/closing don't ya think?
Truth be told, todays mini-vans are comfortable and luxurious in the higher models with all the bells and whistles for traveling stress-free in comfort with the months-worth of stuff you packed for a two week trip!
Everyone should consider a mini-van for its practicality and utility.