It’s not all sports cars and motorcycles for me. No, sometimes I get to test out the latest in minivans, too.
I actually love minivans. The first brand new car I ever bought off of a dealer’s lot was a 1984 Toyota Van. After two years at graduate school in Boston, I decided to move back to Los Angeles to start my career. I went to the local U-Haul location, and discovered that they wanted $1,300 to rent me a beat-up van for the one-way trip. Right next door, the Toyota dealer was in the middle of a big sale. I wandered the lot, and tripped across a totally stripped down Toyota Van. It was set up as a cargo van, completely empty inside except for a driver’s seat. It didn’t even have carpeting or sound insulation — just bare metal, fixed windows in back and a hole where the radio should have been. I took it for a drive, and really liked it. Best of all, I was able to buy it with $800 down, and the dealer talked me into adding one accessory: A $170 front passenger seat. That Toyota Van got me, my cat and all of my stuff across the country safely, and was my daily driver for the next several years.
I’ve transitioned from that minivan to SUVs over the years, but I still remember how much I loved the space, maneuverability and low center of gravity that characterized my Toyota Van.
GM and Ford have abandoned the minivan market over the past decade, but Chrysler has stuck with it. The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country remain in the lineup, both essentially unchanged since the early 2000s. Honda’s Odyssey and Toyota’s Sienna minivans, and to a lesser extent Nissan’s Quest, have continued to push the form, and have left the GC and T&C behind in terms of refinement and technology.
Now, Chrysler has developed an all-new minivan, the Pacifica, riding on an all-new platform. It will c0-exist with the GC and T&C for a while, and then will become the sole minivan offering from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
I drove the new minivan at a launch event recently, and returned with this 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Test Drive And Review for Forbes.com.
Photo (c) FCA North America