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Chrysler Drops Price on All-New Pacifica

New minivan’s mileage nears top of its class.

by on Mar.10, 2016

Chrysler's new minivan gets a dramatic new look and a new name for 2017: Pacifica.

Chrysler plans to shave about $1,400 off the base price of its all-new Pacifica minivan compared to the outgoing Town & Country people-mover.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica will start at $28,595, plus a $995 delivery charge. The outgoing minivan started at $29,995. But load the new Pacifica up and you’ll top $42,000, the automaker said today.

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Chrysler also revealed that the gas-powered version of the new minivan will deliver a combined 22 mpg, according to the EPA. That’s a significant bump from the old Town & Country and positions Pacifica as second-best in the minivan market – though Chrysler had been promising to lead the segment with “unsurpassed” mileage.

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Best Cars for Tailgating

For Serious Tailgaters, the Car’s as Important as the Game Itself

by on Oct.23, 2015

The extended Janisse family chowing down at a Michigan State tailgate party.

He may live on the other side of the country these days, but Steve Janisse tries to get to East Lansing, Michigan as often as possible to catch the Michigan State Spartans in action.

It’s a tradition dating back to his days as an MSU student, and while it’s too long to drive in from California, he’s stayed in touch with old college friends who have made a tradition of arriving hours early to park and party. Tailgating is a pastime repeated around the country as football season gets underway, but to do it right takes more than just a ticket for the game and a parking pass. It also takes the right sort of car.

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“The tailgating is almost as much fun as the game itself,” says Janisse, a one-time auto executive who now works as a consultant in the entertainment industry. “But you want something like an SUV or a pickup that you can open up in back.”

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Spy Shots: 2017 Chrysler Town & Country

Down to one.

by on Jan.05, 2015

Chrysler has some big changes in its minivan plans, with a new Town & Country coming for 2017. Photos by Jim Dunne: Autospy.

Chrysler is hard at work preparing an all-new version of the Town & Country van, set for introduction as a 2017 model.

The much-anticipated debut will cap some major changes at Chrysler. At one point, the maker offered a variety of different – though largely badge-engineered – minivans, including not only the T&C but the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, as well. From 2017, only the one model will remain, the maker developing a very different sort of “people mover” to replace the Dodge offering.

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The big challenge for FCA US LLC – the new name for the merged Fiat-Chrysler – will be to maintain demand for even its one remaining classic minivan. Once controlling more than two-thirds of the market, it has come under withering assault from a handful of foreign competitors, notably the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. At the same time, the minivan market itself has shrunk drastically since its mid-1990s peak.

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Routan to Remain in VW Line-Up

Production to restart by next summer.

by on Dec.19, 2012

The VW Routan has failed to generate much interest in the weak minivan market.

Despite having scuttled plans to produce a modern-day interpretation of the legendary Microbus, Volkswagen hasn’t given up on the U.S. minivan market – but odds are that many potential buyers don’t even know about the VW Routan.

The maker’s current minivan model, assembled for VW by Chrysler, has certainly not set the market on fire, leading to a shutdown of production earlier this year. But the German maker insists the Routan will be back, with new models set to roll out of Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario minivan plant by next summer.

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Volkswagen’s plan is “to offer the 2013 model year Routan,” spokesman Scott Vaizin told Automotive News, though for now there’s apparently enough inventory to satisfy the market’s limited demand. He added that it’s “a safe bet” production will resume in 2013, as well.

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Chrysler Testing Waters for Next Minivan

Four concepts but only one model, one brand will likely survive.

by on Dec.17, 2012

Chrysler tested the waters for a more radical minivan alternative with the 700C concept unveiled at last year's Detroit Auto Show.

Chrysler is testing the waters to see which of four minivan concepts will best resonate with consumers – a critical challenge if the maker hopes to retain its lead in a segment it invented 30 years ago but which has come under increasing assault from foreign-owned brands like Toyota and Honda.

The Detroit maker has seen its lead steadily erode in recent years and has been forced to sharply reduce production capacity and the number of individual minivan models it offers. Likely only one will survive the shoot-out in the design competition, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press.

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“We know not all of them will see the light of day, but we spend a lot of time studying scenarios, trying out designs that could work in each scenario so we’re ready whichever way it goes,” said Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s design director.

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Chrysler Killing Town & Country, Keeping Dodge Caravan

Chrysler model to be replaced by new crossover.

by on May.30, 2012

The Chrysler Town & Country is likely to end its long run in 2014, leaving the maker with just one minivan.

With the market for minivans steadily declining Chrysler will kill off one of its two remaining models and replace it with a more trendy crossover vehicles, according to company sources.

But the automaker has apparently reversed its original plan and will now drop the more upscale Chrysler Town & Country model and keep the mainstream Dodge Caravan, one of the original models the maker introduced to much fanfare back in 1984.

According to comments made this week by CEO Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler will also abandon the slow-selling Jeep Compass, the brand’s least traditional SUV offering.

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The apparent 2014 demise of the Town & Country underscores several dramatic changes that have occurred in the U.S. automotive marketplace over the past three decades.  When former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca revealed the original Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager models revolutionized family transportation with their vast interiors and easy access sliding doors and tailgate.

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First Look: Nissan’s Fourth-Generation Quest

Japanese makers aim for dominance.

by on Nov.18, 2010

With the launch of the 2011 Nissan Quest, the maker says reports of the minivan's death have been greatly exaggerated.

Who says the minivan market is dying?  Not the small band of makers that are rolling out all-new or significantly updated offerings for the 2011 model-year, a list that includes not just segment leader – and creator – Chrysler, but Honda, with the ’11 Odyssey, and Toyota, with the new Sienna.

Now Nissan weighs in, bringing to the L.A. Auto Show its fourth-generation Quest.  As it has with earlier generations, the Japanese maker is pushing the proverbial envelope on styling.  But where past versions often put form above function, there’s no denying the utilitarian bona fides of the new Quest minivan.

“The minivan remains a symbol of family commitment,” says Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s CEO for its Americas operation.

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That means several features will rise above all else when it comes to purchase considerations.  Start with easy access, like push-button sliding doors and easy fold-down 2nd and 3rd-row seats.  And with an intriguing new folding mechanism, Nissan was able to deliver a flat load floor, a slightly lower vehicle ride height – and some additional storage space in the tub below the folded-away seats.

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