Mom’s Taxi Scales a Lofty Peak With the Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle
By Keith Morgan
How many of today’s superstar athletes made those pre-dawn trips to junior practice in a minivan?
We will never know for sure but you can bet the answer is in the 1000s, judging by the tens of thousands of kids, enrolled in hockey, soccer and countless other activities, who have been transported over the past 37 years in these people movers, pioneered by Chrysler (now FCA).
Virtually every auto maker followed with their own interpretation of the pragmatic family vehicle. Recently, with the explosion of sport utility and crossover vehicles there has been a trend away from the vehicle dubbed ‘mom’s taxi’ in the popular media. At first, that was an affectionate moniker but of late it seems to have become a disparaging term for these very efficient family carriers now described as multi-purpose vehicles.
No, they’re often not leading edge in looks but surely that’s not why people buy them in decent numbers. Minivans are utilitarian but today’s iterations are no longer glorified vans with seats. They come close to driving like sedans and the higher end models are a step away from luxury status.
And there’s no finer example than the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle edition. For goodness sake, it’s now mom’s super luxury limousine! When it hits dealerships in the Fall (coronavirus permitting), the announced sticker price might take your breath away but correspondingly so will the level of luxury features. Fact is, the Pinnacle doesn’t pretend to be a van for the masses. This is a road machine worthy of undertaking the longest of continental drives.
Brandishing one of the new leather and suede pillows, Mary Ann Capo, Senior Manager, Chrysler Brand Product, described the many upmarket features in the Pinnacle’s interior.
“Feel that,” she said plumping the lumbar pillow and passing it over for inspection.
“Kids are going to be able to sleep with it, or they'll probably have pillow fights,” Capo informs with a giggle. “Somebody might actually take it out of the minivan and put it in their house.”
The interior colour combination is a classy caramel with black and all of the finishes are like satin chrome. There are Napa leather seats with quilting, in all three rows of seats, a suede headliner. real high-end finish.
“This is called the Ultra console,” while explaining advantages of the new front integrated console.
“It’s got more storage than today's console and it's got an armrest so you can rest your arm on it. It has wireless charging, so right in the front there, you can put your phone and get it charged.”
Great connectivity with 12 USBs. There’s a combination of Type-A and Type-C. Type-Cs are the newest ones, which charge four times faster than the current Android and Apple cables.
A 10-inch radio display is eye-catching. It's 20 percent bigger than the current screen and operates five times faster with a new menu that operates seamless with smartphones and it’s even got Amazon Alexa built-in. The navigation set up is based on the proven TomTom navigation.
Fam cam - short for family camera - watch over those disruptive back seat antics!
“I want to know what's happening, and I shouldn't be looking back to know what my kids are doing. I need to keep my eyes on the road. So with the new fam cam, I'm able to see the children in the second and third row. In particular, the positioning of the camera between the second and third row optimizes the view to see a child in a rear-facing seat.”
The Uconnect Theater features two 10-inch screens to play movies and games for the kids.
“We’re adding some new games: chess, Concentration, and backgammon for the big kids. We also have ‘Are You There Yet?”, which going to give the kids information on where they are and how long it's going to take to get to the destination.”
Climbing out of comfy seats, Capo proudly announced the addition of a long-needed drive.
“All-wheel drive is available at last! - I am a minivan driver and I live in Michigan, where there's a lot of snow.”
Interestingly, the Chrysler Pacifica line has a total of 97 standard safety features and another 19 available add-on safety features. Pacifica will continue to offer a choice of two efficient powertrains: the standard Pentastar V-6 engine and a class-exclusive hybrid option. The V-6 is mated to a segment-exclusive TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic transmission, delivering 287 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. More details will become available over the summer.
‘Mom’s taxi’ is going to be around for a while yet and that’s good news for sports oriented families and maybe even the pro leagues!