Going back as far as 1984 with the debut of the Dodge Caravan, Chrysler ruled the family-hauling roost for many years. But the march of time proved challenging, as knockoffs from Honda and Toyota surpassed the original. Now, Chrysler is back with a vengeance. Packing style, a roomy and versatile interior, and high levels of technology, the latest Chrysler minivan is a more compelling vehicle than the lackluster model it replaces. In terms of driving dynamics and functionality, it’s now every bit as good as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
Despite the shrinking audience for minivans and the reality that three-row SUVs have become common family staples, nothing beats a minivan for pure out-and-out room, versatility, and family-friendly functionality.
The Pacifica is one of the quickest minivans out there, benefiting from a diet (it weighs 150 pounds less than the previous van) and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Yet it gets 21 mpg overall, leapfrogging the previous van's gluttonous 17 mpg. (Note that modern SUVs can match that 21-mpg figure, and they have all-wheel drive, which the Chrysler and Honda lack.)