Fiat Chrysler continues to make its Pacifica minivan more capable, making all-wheel drive an available option on its 2020 Launch Edition model, ahead of its initial 2021 model-year reintroduction.
Plans called for the brand to offer it next year, but the rise of all-wheel-capable vehicles (i.e. sport-utility vehicles) gave the company reason to move up the time frame. The new models will hit dealerships this fall. The last time the brand offered an AWD minivan was 2004.
“Reaction was overwhelmingly positive when we announced that the new 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will offer AWD capability,” said Tim Kuniskis, Global head of Alfa Romeo and head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America.
“We know there is demand for AWD capability along with Stow ‘n Go seating, and the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Launch Edition allows us to get our customers the all-weather capability they want even sooner.
“The Pacifica offers families solutions and with the 2020 Pacifica AWD Launch Edition, we’re delivering the most advanced system in its class, and one that engages without any driver input, to help owners get where they want to go in any type of weather.”
The new Pacifica AWD Launch Edition is exclusively available on the Touring L model. It uses the same AWD system that will be offered on the redesigned 2021 Chrysler Pacifica. Officials claim it is the only all-wheel-drive minivan available in the U.S. market.
The system sends power to all four wheels, but it can send all of its torque to the rear wheels, if necessary, or to the wheels with the most traction. The system is also able to sense and stop the drive shaft from spinning when AWD is not required, a class-exclusive feature in the segment that improves efficiency.
The AWD Launch Edition comes in the S Appearance package, which includes a Black Noise AWD badge as well as Black Noise Pacifica and Chrysler wing badging. It gets upgraded 18-inch wheels in the new “Foreshadow” finish and is further accented in Gloss Black colors on the headlamp eyebrows, grille surrounds, rear valance and daylight opening. Further improving the reputation for safety minivans carry, the new model rides on 235/60-R18 Michelin Premier self-sealing tires.
On the inside, buyers will find McKinley leather seats bordered with Light Diesel Grey stitching. Perhaps the most important part of a minivan’s interior is the infotainment system and this one boasts an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen radio. Keeping with the “dad-style” looks, rushed metal hydro bezels provide additional interior accents.
Optional features and packages include Uconnect Navigation, Uconnect Theater, Advanced SafetyTec, a tri-pane panoramic sunroof, trailer tow, KeySense and the Premium Group package. The 2020 Pacifica AWD Launch Edition can be ordered at dealers now, carrying a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $40,240.
This model essentially acts a bridge to the 2021 model, which will also offer AWD as mentioned earlier. However, the new model gets an exterior makeover, which was revealed at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year.
Unsurprisingly, it comes with a slew of new and upgraded available safety features. The new standard options include new LED lights and Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB). The rest of the standard line-up includes Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, Rear Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Full Stop, electronic stability control (ESC), Forward Collision Warning with Full Stop, Lane Departure Warning, eight airbags and more as standard safety features. In all, the 2021 Pacifica offers 116 standard and available safety and security features. Pricing on the 2021 model hasn’t been confirmed.