Tue. Oct 19th, 2021

The obvious statements are obvious. For example, the water is wet. The fire is hot. Swedish fish are addictive.

Also: minivans are useful.

I am exactly as old as the first Chrysler minivans. I grew up at a time when the sound of a barn-style door sliding open followed by high-pitched screams was common in almost every parking lot. Over time, I’ve been bombarded with ads for vans ranging from the small Mazda 5 MZDAY,
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to the giant Ford F,
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Aerostar.

And yet it took a small, very small arrival in my life to make me understand how useful minivans can be. We had a baby.

As of this writing, our garage unfortunately does not have a minivan. But there was a Chrysler Pacifica Limited in 2021 in my life during a glorious week of effortless commissions, pediatrician visits and an impromptu (PER. EL. LOVE. OF. ALL. AIX .. IS. OK. I. SANT. WILL. YOU. * #%! ING. VA. TO SLEEP) 2-hour road trip.

I had never before lent a new car to an automaker and I was so reluctant to give it up. That Aston Martin I took to a high school reunion? Meh. Did the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifolgio I go up the highest paved road in America? Forget about it.

The Chrysler Pacifica.

Chrysler

Now I understand minivans. So here are my five takeaways on how Pacifica made life with a newborn a lot easier:

1. Insane ease of access

New parents, keep in mind: your child may appear under 7 pounds, but be prepared to put on weight. This child carrier that will be your little one’s ticket to the fresh air is heavy and bulky even before a fast-growing roar sticks. Try attaching it to the back seat of a ToyotaTM,
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C-HR, after some joke in a beating, Altima crashed her car against yours in the Whole Foods parking lot.

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But with a minivan, these sliding doors are like the pearl doors of vehicle ownership. Not only do they open with the lifting of a button or the wave of a foot under the vehicle, but they also reveal a bucket seat located at approximately the height of the bar stool (this is what most approaches the bar) stool for a while, by the way). Then all you have to do is gently click on the baby carrier at the base.

2. A camera instead of a baby mirror

New for the Pacifica this year, and rocked, at least conceptually, by the Honda HMC,
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Odyssey: is a single camera mounted on the head that points down to the second and third row. If you touch any seat, you get a detailed view on the right side of the screen. Sure, the resolution might be a little better, but I could see if our newborn’s eyes were closed or open.

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The mirror I tied around the back headrest of our wagon to keep an eye on our little one never stays in place.

I have also used Honda’s Cabin Talk intercom systems and Toyota’s Driver Easy Driver intercom systems. They are not useful for a baby, of course, but maybe in a year or so I have a similar revelation.

3. Go anywhere, almost

The Pacifica I tested was limited, which meant it came standard with all-wheel drive (front-wheel drive is standard on the lower finishes). Its 5.4-inch ground clearance gives it approximately the rock-climbing capability of a mid-size sedan, but all-wheel drive is a good safety net for a family vehicle.

Would it be nice to have a high Pacifica like the new Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition with its factory lift kit? Yes. However, I confirmed that there are spacer elevators for Pacifica. The gears rotate.

The system has a disconnection of the rear axle to save fuel in situations of lower load. Unfortunately, the Pacifica Hybrid economy is only presented as a front-wheel drive model. Still, in a 130-kilometer road-inducing mobile inductor that caused a 3,000-foot elevation change, the travel computer showed 25 mpg, which isn’t bad given how big the Pacifica is.

4. Mobile living room and office

Of course, a box-shaped vehicle that came in must be wide. Tell it to SUVs with the same footprint as a minivan. With the aircraft carrier anchored in the captain’s chair in the right rear, there was still plenty of room for both parents and two grandparents to make the trip. The vacuum built into the higher-rise Pacificas (which has now disappeared from the Honda Odyssey) clears up any mess left by those passengers.

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With #workfromanywhere, the new normal for many, Pacifica can be the perfect mobile office. The second-row captain’s seats as standard in most versions are not as padded as some rivals such as the new Kia 000270,
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Carnival. Still, there’s plenty of legroom and the Wi-Fi antenna provided reasonably fast internet on Papa Bear’s laptop, while Baby Bear and I waited for Mama Bear to have a consultation appointment. Yes, that’s what parents say. We just had to see our little one’s big eyes for the first time to forget our promise to never talk to the children’s talk.

We also promised ourselves that we would not drive a minivan, but that life would change instantly.

5. More useful for a large hardware store than a medium-sized collection

The city news when it comes to new cars is definitely the next Ford Maverick. No doubt, the new small van will be a game changer for Ford with its standard hybrid engine and basement price. But if you want a real utility, why not look at a minivan? You can fill your cargo area with more plywood sheets, tools and other home improvement projects than any SUV. Although you certainly can’t get a minivan out, or at least you shouldn’t.

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The Pacifica is the only one that has two to three times flat rows in the cargo area, making it the minivan champion (albeit with seats that aren’t as happy as its rivals). Its loading area does not need DIY projects to expand its usefulness.

Now, if only I could find the time to really do any project.

This story originally worked Autotrader.com.

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