Best of 2017: Chrysler Pacifica

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Cars.com photo by Angela Conners

Yes, you read that right — our Best of 2017 is a minivan. If you think they're just boring people haulers, think again. The Pacifica's anti-van styling and innovative features will wow families, and will likely catch the eye of even the most minivan-averse. Outside, this Chrysler's curvy lines and elegant face are a radical stylistic departure from the Town & Country's dowdy breadbox look. But it's inside where it scores the biggest points, packing loads of features — and a few surprises.

Like most minivans, the Pacifica has seating for seven or eight across three rows, but where it excels is in the features department. Loads of available creature comforts will keep Mom, Dad and the kids happy, from an available built-in vacuum cleaner and revised Stow 'n Go seats to the van's plentiful USB ports for device charging and its Uconnect theater's twin touchscreens with built-in apps for rear-seat entertainment.

But it drives well, too. Long and heavy, minivans are not known for their handling prowess, but Chrysler made great strides with the Pacifica. It's much less of a chore to drive than the old Town & Country, with improved handling and maneuverability, especially when parking. It feels tighter and more composed in corners, and ride quality is better, too. Driving a minivan doesn't have to be a chore and with the Pacifica, it's a delight.

It's also one of the most fuel-efficient vans in its class with an EPA rating of 28 mpg on the highway. But it can do better. In plug-in hybrid trim — the segment's only hybrid — it's EPA-rated at 84 mpg-equivalent during electric-only driving and has an electric-only range of 33 miles. When driven like a traditional hybrid, it's EPA-rated at 32 mpg — 10 mpg better than the gasoline-only 2017 Toyota Sienna with front-wheel drive and 12 mpg more than the 2017 Kia Sedona.

In many ways, Chrysler turned the minivan segment upside down with its new Pacifica. It out-styles, out-drives and just plain out-wows the rest of the class. With the Cars.com Best of 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, it's families who win.