2017 Chrysler Pacifica vs. Honda Odyssey

 

Minivans have lost their bad rep from back in the day, thanks to big improvements in performance, space, and most importantly, design. They're no longer just boxes on wheels, but rather stylish fashion statements for those who can't get a Ferrari because they need the extra room. All in all, minivans might be all the car you're ever going to need. But with so many of them currently on the market, which one should you buy? To answer that, we take a look at two of the most popular models currently available.

Introduction

The Odyssey is Honda's people carrier, the car you take when you need to move a ton of people and/or stuff. When the current fourth-generation Odyssey launched back in 2010, it introduced some innovation. As time went on, however, people, including us, got bored with the same car and wanted something different. The 2014 refresh provided a mild exterior facelift, but that was that.

 

Chrysler practically invented the minivan segment with the Town & County in 1989. Minivans were a niche segment back then, with only a handful of customer types purchasing the vehicles. Fast forward some 28 years, however, and enter the Chrysler Pacifica. It's already won over a dozen awards just this year alone, most of them for innovations in infotainment and safety systems. The question now is, can this new kid on the block show the old-school Odyssey up?

Exterior

Design-wise, yes. Absolutely. There is no comparison on which is the better-looking minivan. The Odyssey looks so old and outdated that perhaps Honda is not planning on renewing it. Honda's entire lineup has moved forward onto better and bigger things, but it looks like the Odyssey didn't get the memo. The design is almost a decade old, and it shows from every angle.

 

The front is perhaps the worst. The similarities between it and the last-gen Honda Jazz are uncanny. We don't know about you, but when your minivan starts looking like your small, compact city car, you know you're doing something wrong, surely?

Had you not known that the Pacifica is a minivan, it could've genuinely passed as a slightly stretched crossover, at least for a moment. Drop your preconceived notions of how a minivan is supposed to look like and just gaze at it. Chrysler's unique take on the minivan is not just innovative, but truly groundbreaking. It's sharp and focused from every angle. This is a minivan you'll proudly show off to your neighbors and let it sit parked in the driveway.

 

Interior

Being a Honda, we expected top-notch quality and refinement in the Odyssey but were greeted by something different. The materials seemed to be substantially below average and the fit and finish was not up to usual Honda standards. The cost savings are evident with the Odyssey. That would not have been a massive issue had they included some redeeming features, which they didn't. There's plenty of space, but no more than any other minivan. The tech onboard is alright, but it too is starting to show its age.

The Pacifica's cabin is arguably its strongest characteristic. Where do we even begin? The seating position is superb. You sit nice and high, with lots of lateral support from the seats themselves. There's ample amount of head and legroom without sacrificing boot space.

 

The massive 8.4-inch touchscreen uses Uconnect, the best infotainment system currently on the market. Rear passengers get to enjoy the Uconnect Theater system with two HD, 10-inch touchscreen displays which can both play movies, connect to gaming consoles and even personal devices. The optional 13-speaker Alpine or 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio systems should provide plenty of choices for all audiophiles.

 

Engine and Performance

The Odyssey comes with just one engine, but there are two variations of it. The first is the standard 244 hp unit, and the second has 241 horsepower and 242 lb-ft of torque iteration. It's nothing special though, and you have to push it quite hard to get anything out of it. Even then, it gives up the ghost relatively early on leaving you with what feels like a blender for an engine.

The standard Pacifica gets the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 287 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It doesn't just beat the Odyssey, but completely annihilates it. Not only is the engine more powerful, but it is smoother and more willing to rev as well. Unlike the Odyssey, it gets a new TorqueFlite nine-speed auto instead of the old six. The hybrid version uses electric motors to reduce fuel consumption and increase fuel economy, but honestly, it feels like it was designed to just go fast.

Conclusion

The new Pacifica is so technologically advanced that comparing it to the Odyssey feels too shameful for the Honda. The Odyssey is still a good pick if you just want any minivan, but why settle for any minivan when you have the best one right here for a similar price? The Pacifica is spacious, fast, affordable and loaded with tech. The Pacifica really is the new benchmark minivan.

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