Move Over, Sienna: Chrysler Pacifica AWD is Here

Last summer, FCA began to retool its Windsor, Ontario assembly plant in part to add an all-wheel drive version of its Chrysler Pacifica lineup. Now it’s official: the Pacifica AWD is coming for 2021, joining the Toyota Sienna as the only minivans to offer this option.

If wheels lose traction on ice, snow or any other slippery surface, the system automatically activates the transfer of all available engine torque to the wheels with more traction.

Actually, a variety of sensor inputs signal when enhanced traction is beneficial. For best traction performance, AWD is engaged when the Pacifica begins to accelerate from a standing stop. Other inputs that signal AWD engagement include:

  • Cold exterior temperature
  • Use of windshield wipers
  • Slip detected at the front wheels
  • Heavy acceleration at certain vehicle speeds, such as overtaking during passing
  • Electronic stability control activation
  • Abrupt steering or sudden throttle inputs
  • Rough road conditions/grades
Photo: FCA

The power transfer unit and rear drive module automatically disconnect when AWD is not required, thus stopping the driveshaft from spinning and improving fuel efficiency.

With available AWD plus new Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking, the Pacifica will be safer for everybody in every condition. Unfortunately, AWD is reserved for gas-only models and can’t be had with the Pacifica Hybrid.

Many More Changes

The evolution of Chrysler’s minivan doesn’t stop with AWD, mind you. The front grille features subtle tweaks, while the headlamps, fog lamps and taillamps sport a new look with LEDs. Six new wheel designs and a new Phantom Blue paint option are available for sleeker styling, too.

Photo: FCA

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica lineup features five AWD models: Touring, Touring-L, Touring-L Plus Limited and the brand new Pinnacle. That last one stands out with many luxury features and content, including quilted Caramel Nappa leather seats in all three rows and unique matching lumbar pillows in the second-row captain’s chairs. There’s also a new integrated Ultra console aesthetically redesigned to flow into the instrument panel along with best-in-class total storage of 227.6 litres.

FCA chose the Pacifica for the first North American application of its all-new Uconnect 5 infotainment system, which features a 10.1-inch touchscreen and Amazon Alexa personal assistant. Processing speeds are five times faster than the previous generation, the home screen can be personalized to fit up to six different user profiles and two separate phones can be connected simultaneously via Bluetooth.

Furthermore, you’ll find double the number of USB ports available in the current model with up to a combined total of 12 USB Type A and Type C ports, the latter allowing devices to charge up to four times faster.

Photo: FCA

Meanwhile, moms and dads will likely appreciate the new available FamCAM interior camera, which provides segment-exclusive features such as a view of rear-facing child seat occupants, split-view display and unique “zoom-to-seat” feature.

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD models open for dealer orders this summer and will begin arriving in dealerships in the fall. Prices have yet to be announced.

Can’t wait that long? AWD is also available on the 2020 Pacifica AWD Launch Edition, which you can order and take delivery of this spring.

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