In search of the ideal road trip vehicle.
Last year when I found out that my family would be adding another baby, one of my first thoughts was, “But we don’t have a car that will fit everyone!” My 11-year old Nissan Sentra was still plugging along fine and my husband had just purchased a new Toyota Tundra months before we found out we were expecting another child. Four kids + two adults = 6 seats. Neither of our current vehicles fit that math equation!
For a year we made do with the vehicles we had. If we were going somewhere all together as a family, we’d drive separate cars or have a family member pick up one of our older kids. It wasn’t always convenient but it worked out okay for the local commute to church or family events. However when we decided to take a road trip up the California coast, we knew that we’d need a vehicle that would hold us all comfortably.
Is the Chrysler Pacifica Touring a Perfect Vehicle for a Big Family?
Was there really such a car that would be able to accommodate two teenagers, plus all their schoolwork for the week? And what about our two smaller children in their bulky car seats along with the baby’s stroller and the preschooler’s books and games. Would there be room for my husband’s expansive pantry of healthy road trip snacks? Not to mention a week’s worth of luggage for six people! Turns out there is a perfect vehicle for us and we happily toured the state for a week in a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring. (We actually loved the Chrysler Pacifica so much, we bought one for ourselves!)
Who the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica for:
- Large families—or those who like to bring friends or pets along for the ride
- Drivers who need seating for 7 or 8 passengers
- Those who like plenty of cargo space
- Buyers who like a sleek design (but need a minivan!)
- Families who need flexible seating options
- Buyers who take a lot of road trips or vacations in their cars
What it Costs:
- Pacifica LX – $28,995
- Pacifica Touring – $30,495
- Pacifica Touring L – $34,495
- Pacifica Touring L Plus – $37,895
- Pacifica Limited – $42,495
The Chrysler Pacifica Touring Holds it All (and More!)
6 people, plus a week’s worth of clothing, a stroller for the baby and backpacks stuffed with homework for the big kids – I wasn’t sure we’d even have space to fit comfortably inside the vehicle. Stow ’n Go Seating and Storage System saved the day!
My husband refuses to buy convenience store junk food when we travel so he’d already gone to the health food store and stocked up all the snacks we’d need for the road. Knowing his penchant for going slightly overboard in that department I was concerned about space in the car. Fortunately the Stow ’n Go Storage System compartments offer plenty of extra space for road trip storage. We filled the compartments with jugs of water and plenty of family-sized boxes of snacks. There was even room on top for our winter coats. Happy to say we didn’t have to make any convenience store stops!
Back home in my own Chrysler Pacifica LX, I use the Stow ’n Go Storage System for holding things I need during the week like my gym bag, extra water bottles and my reusable grocery bags. It’s great having these things in the car and easily accessible but not taking up my cargo space.
Cargo Space Plus
Since we were going to occupy most of the seats in the Chrysler Pacifica Touring during our trip, I was concerned that our luggage for six wasn’t going to fit in the cargo space. I needn’t have worried though because it easily accommodated luggage and more. We easily fit our two large suitcases, one carry-on sized hard side, three pillows and a stroller.
The cargo space is not flush with the bumper so the luggage sits down lower. As someone who is on the shorter side (5’2″), I struggled to lift the heavy bags without scraping them across the bumper. On the plus side though, nothing ever fell out when we opened the automatic lift gate. There are also side compartments in the cargo space to hold additional items. We used the compartments to hold frequent use items like sunscreen bottles and winter hats.
Back at home, when we’ve needed the extra hauling space, the Pacifica seats transition into the Stow ’n Go Seating and Storage System within a matter of seconds. A tug on the straps and the second and third row seats easily drop into their respective storage compartments. Nothing complicated or time consuming. This is a game changer for sure. I’m able to make more cargo space even with a baby on my hip!
Car Seat Installation that Didn’t Make Me Want to Cry
I recall taking a family road trip as a child in a minivan that only had one side door. Getting children safely buckled into car seats was definitely a challenge back then. I’ve always hated installing car seats and have been so frustrated in the past getting them in a car properly. Having just recently graduated from a low riding, small sedan, I love the height and room that the Chrysler Pacifica offers to complete this task. This vehicle has five total LATCH child-safety seat provisions. With the ability to quickly access the third row, I was able to install both car seats for my kids within minutes without breaking a sweat.
Parents have got to love the dual power sliding side doors on the Chrysler Pacifica Touring. My husband was able to buckle in our preschooler while I put our baby in her infant car seat at the same time. This way we could get on the road that much more quickly. A quick push of a button, the side doors closed and we were on our way.
Getting In and Out of the Chrysler Pacifica is a Breeze
One of my favorite features in the Chrysler Pacifica is how the second row captain’s chairs offer an “Easy Tilt” pivot feature. A simple lift of the tab on the second row seat and my teens in the third row were able to get out of the vehicle on their own. The second row chair shifts forward, even with the car seat in place.
Thank goodness we didn’t have to remove the car seats to let the big kids out of the car at each road stop! Even the preschooler was able to lift the tab himself to shift the seat and let his siblings out of the third row.
Several times during the road trip my one-year old daughter was upset about being the car seat and wanted to see me. The optional 8th seat in the Pacifica came in handy so I could sit between my two youngest and still have plenty of room. Despite having a bin filled with baby supplies and a small cooler in the second row there was still plenty of space for my legs.
Comfort & Luxury to Spare
Comfort is key on long rides. The Chrysler Pacifica Touring had beautiful creamy white leather seats. Wow, did they look and feel luxurious! I was so worried that one of my kid’s snacks would make a mess on the chair but they easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. My Pacifica LX has dark colored fabric seats with leather trim, something I appreciate for everyday use. Both my husband and I have back issues but the comfortable fit, adjustable seat and arm rests in the Chrysler Pacifica made the long drive pleasant and pain-free.
Road Trip Extras That Work for Every Day
We spent a total of 22 hours driving on our road trip – that’s a lot of time in the car! The Chrysler Pacifica Touring came equipped with some wonderful features that made road tripping easy. And those features translate well into every day use.
- Having perfect reception even in the “boonies” with the SiriusXM satellite radio was wonderful. We were even able to listen to such specific genres as bluegrass (much to the chagrin of our teens!)
- The 8.4-inch touchscreen offered GPS so we could easily punch in our navigation for the road trip.
- I recall a family road trip with my parents through the desert in which I taped newspapers up on the back window to block out the sun. My kids were grateful for the manual sun blinds located on each window. They were able to filter the daylight out (better to see their tablets that way, too!) The baby slept better as well, when the sun wasn’t in her face.
- The Chrysler Pacifica Touring has storage galore so my kids had plenty of places to put their water bottles, snacks, games and toys on the road. Such a convenient feature during every day commutes.
Kids Favorite Features
My 13-year olds spent our driving time catching up on their school work. They each had their school tablets with them and were able to plug them in and charge them on the go with the AC Power Outlet. Mobile hotspot internet access allowed the kids Wi-fi while driving, which let them complete their homework on the road. And of course in their spare time they were able to watch YouTube!
My preschooler’s favorite feature in the Chrysler Pacifica Touring was the Uconnect Theater. I’m not big on having my kids in front of a screen all day but on a road trip, anything goes to keep whining at a minimum. Dual 10.1-inch HD touchscreens allowed my 5-year old to play games like Backseat Bingo and Math Flash Cards on the road. We stocked up the floor console pre-trip with Blu-ray™ discs which allowed him and his older sister to watch Moana as we cruised the coast. I appreciated that the two wireless headphones let the kids watch their movies without the noise from the show waking the napping baby.
Safety on the Road
All that time behind the wheel on a road trip can take a toll on the driver. At various times during our trip we went through gridlock traffic, high winds and snow. A vehicle with so many helpful safety features helped me stay calm despite the varied driving conditions. Having these safety features in the Chrysler Pacifica Touring for our road trip solidified to me how much I would appreciate having these features during my daily drive.
- Blind Spot Monitoring System helps drivers to make safer lane changes. When the monitoring system detects a vehicle entering one of the blind spot zones it alerts the driver by lighting an icon in the side mirror. Try to change lanes when another vehicle is there and you’ll receive the lighted icon in addition to a noise alert.
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go uses sensors to maintain a set distance between the Chrysler Pacifica Touring and the vehicle in front of it. So helpful when you’re freeway driving and traffic suddenly slows dramatically.
- The Active Noise Cancellation feature allowed me to chat with my teens in the third row without having to turn my head to hear them clearly.
- Lanesense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist helps guide drivers back into their lane. Drift slightly outside of your lane and the Chrysler Pacifica Touring will automatically correct the vehicle.
- 360° Surround View Camera gave me a full view of my surroundings when backing up. As a person of “smaller stature” (5’2″), I admit to having trouble always getting a clear view out through a vehicle’s windows. So I really loved this feature.
Why the Chrysler Pacifica Touring Worked for My Big Family
The design of the Chrysler Pacifica Touring makes thoughtful use of space, with “living areas” throughout the vehicle. Cup holders, charging ports, storage space, cozy seating and individual room to stretch out. The Chrysler Pacifica Touring is comfortable for everyone from baby to adult. Not one child on our road trip ever whined about a sibling invading their space. And we never heard a peep from them about being uncomfortable or bored.
Despite the large load there was never any struggle from the vehicle. It easily took on mountain passes with speed and agility without any indication of resistance. Gas mileage was excellent as well (22 hours of driving and we only stopped to fill up 4 times). The Chrysler Pacifica Touring is great for the long haul but also works well for every day touring around town. And that’s why after driving this vehicle for our road trip we decided to purchase one for our family.