Chrysler Pacifica Upgrades Award-Winning Minivan with Pinnacle Trim

by Tom Crosby
2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle parked on grass in front of stone wall

The Chrysler Pacifica Minivan has collected more than 125 awards since launching the 2017 version and has added more awards praising the upgraded 2021 edition with a new trim.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle AWD Review

Competitively priced against once-dominant Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey minivans, Pacifica sales remained
steady last year during the pandemic.

We tested the new top trim 2021 Pacifica Pinnacle All-Wheel-Drive, without options, but outfitted with award-winning technology, 97 standard safety aids, and features often sold as options by competitors.

Pacifica has been cited (hybrid or gas engine) as a best buy, car of the year, best family minivan, having the most standard safety features, and a best 10 engine.

Handling is excellent with the ride uncomfortable only on very rough pavement. The award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar engine provides ample power underway with occasional shifting clunks by the nine-speed automatic transmission. The automatic AWD powertrain uses 20-inch all-season tires transferring power to wheels with the best traction.

Safety features include cutting edge driver aids, including new Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking, helping Pacifica earn top crash safety ratings, along with 13 other new standard safety features.

Subtle changes outside include new LED lighting in redesigned head and taillamps, plus a new bright chrome grille. Tighter seals and high-grade steel reduce cabin noise.

Pinnacle seats seven or eight, perfect for a growing family, although rear seating height is constrained due to popular Stow’n Go burying second and third rows flat to create class-leading cargo space.

Our Pinnacle’s cabin was stunningly stylish and praised as the most luxurious in its class with quilted caramel-colored Nappa leather seats with stitching and light tungsten colored piping on all seats with second row matching leather lumbar pillows.

The center spine sits above an open space that can hides items from view, also containing one of two wireless charging pads. Twelve USB ports offer quick charging and there is a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Chrysler’s new UConnect 5 shows technical prowess using a 10.1-inch enlarged touchscreen with voice recognition.
Intuitive to use, it provides Internet connections to popular apps, customizes driver profiles, displays precise navigation information/alerts (speed limits were occasionally wrong), and highlights vehicle maintenance needs and can update remotely.

The Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle includes a tire inflator kit, fully extendable visors, second-row infotainment screens; second-row under-mat storage areas, 18 audio speakers, and an underpowered cabin vacuum.

J.D. Power rates Pacifica 2.5 out of 5 for reliability; resale value is estimated at 44% after five years. There is no complimentary maintenance.

At a Glance

LIKES: Luxury, power, price, handling, versatility, quiet
DISLIKES: Jerky transmission, speed limit errors, low rear seat headroom
BOTTOM LINE: Great family vehicle, luxury imbued, price competitive, top features

Fact File: 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle AWD

Base price w/destination fee
Curb weight
EPA Rating
$38,865 ($39,260 as tested)
$54,885 (no options)
4,883 lbs.
121.6 inches
204.3 inches
79.6 inches
3.6-liter, V6, DOHC
287 hp @ 6,400 rpm
262 ft-lbs @ 4000 rpm
9-speed automatic
17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy; 19 gallons, regular
0-60 in just over 8 seconds

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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.

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