The Pacifica Pinnacle Reminds me of what Chrysler Used To be.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle,

by Michael Satterfield - 06/04/2021

I don't drive a lot of minivans, not because I don't care for them, they just don't make the rotation for a site dedicated mostly to performance and adventure vehicles. But when I had the chance to drive the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle, I was excited, because the Pinnacle is the bougiest of all minivans, and looked incredibly luxurious. The Pacifica and Chrysler 300 are all that remain in the Chrysler lineup for 2021, with the 300 being reduced to just two trim levels, Touring and 300S,  leaving many to wonder if the marquee will be phased out completely in the near future. 

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle,

The Pacifica Pinnacle reflects what the Chrysler brand was always meant to be, American luxury that is more about style and comfort than all-out performance. Chrysler was always an innovative company, developing advancements in-car radios, electronic fuel injection, and even the first modern minivan. When I was growing up, businessmen and grandparents drove plush Chrysler Imperial sedans and almost every neighborhood had a least one cool dad who drove a Chrysler LeBaron convertible. The 80s were good for Chrysler, under the leadership of automotive legend Lee Iacocca, the company had restructured and by 1981 had introduced the K-car platform which underpinned almost every vehicle in the Chrysler portfolio into the mid-1990s. In 1983 Chrysler introduced the minivan and expanded partnership with Mitsubishi in 1985, and acquired the Jeep brand in 1987, Iacocca would leave Chrysler in 1992.

Chrysler started to lose its luxury status in the 1990s with the New Yorker, Concorde, and Sebring, falling behind the competition. During the 1990s Chrysler constantly teased amazing concept cars like the Atlantic, Chronos, and Phaeton, but none would ever end up in production. In 2001 Chrysler would shut down the Plymouth brand and launch one of the most successful new vehicles in decades the PT Cruiser, PT stands for Plymouth Truck, since it was originally going to be a Plymouth branded vehicle. While the PT Cruiser was off-brand for the traditionally luxury-focused automaker, it was a hit and would remain in production for a decade with a global production run of 1.35 million vehicles.  

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle,

In the 2000s, Chrysler now DaimlerChrysler as of 1998, took full advantage of the new platforms and technology that Daimler was bringing to the table, this resulted in an interesting mix of vehicles that included the still in production 300 and the sporty Crossfire. But in the early 2000s, Chrysler also hinted that they would be returning to their roots, with the Firepower concept in 2005 and the imposing Rolls-Royce-like Imperial concept in 2006. Sadly nothing like these concepts would ever see production, in 2007 Chrysler was sold to an investment firm, by 2009 Chrysler was bankrupt and Fiat purchased a 20% stake and eventually would make the Chrysler Group a whole owned subsidiary, before merging the two carmakers into FCA. FCA would again merge with French carmaker PSA to form the new Stellantis this past January. 

All of this constant change over the last 20 years has meant that Chrysler as a brand, has been somewhat neglected. With Jeep and Ram leading the group's sales, Chrysler has fallen a bit by the wayside, the Pacifica Pinnacle is a return to the luxury and style that Chrysler used to be known for, plus it is also very nice to drive. With quilted Caramel Nappa leather seats, a black suede headliner, lumbar pillows for the second-row captain's chairs, an almost total glass roof, and power everything, it ticks all the same boxes as luxury SUVs that cost thousands more. 

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle,

The interior trim and attention to detail are on par with German luxury automakers like BMW and Audi and the exterior styling is as handsome as it can be for a rolling box. Driving the Pacifica is more like driving a luxury car than an SUV as far as ride comfort. The built-in technology is on par with the best in the competition and there is no shortage of charging ports, I counted a total of 11 charging points, plus it has a wireless charging pad in the center console. 

In an earlier review, Anthony compared the Pacifica to the BMW X5 and after a week of driving it, I can see why, you get all the fit and finish of a premium luxury brand, with more utility, for less money. I only hope that Chrysler can add some other vehicles to the mix bringing this same level of comfort, style, and luxury to the American car buyer.