By IOL Motoring Staff

Detroit Motor Show - Set to launch at #NAIAS this week is the all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

It really is all new, built on a specially developed platform, and it's the first American MPV to be offered with a hybrid powertrain. The Pacifica will replace the Chrysler Town & Country and Voyager models although unlike its predecessors it won’t come to South Africa as no right-hand-drive production is planned.

Chrysler defines a family MPV as an eight-seater that can take a standard sheet of plywood (2450 x 1225mm) with the seats folded, making it seem more of a maxivan than a minivan.

It is also an impressively well-specced MPV.

ALL THAT MINIVAN STUFF

Keyless entry and remote starting are standard, as are hands-free sliding doors and tailgate, operated by making a kicking motion under the sliding door or bumper.

Chrysler's signature Stow 'n Go seating system now features a button on the B pillar that, when pressed, moves the front seat forward to allow the second row to fold into the floor tub. Then press it again and the front seat moves back to where it was.

Gizmotronics include four surround-view cameras, automatic parking, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, auto braking if an impact appears imminent and reversing sensors that will stop the car if you back up too close to something solid.

And of course, it’s online via Uconnect and an 8.4 inch touchscreen display on the centre stack, with a 10 inch high-definition 10-inch touchscreen in the back of each fornt seat to keep the little ones quiet on long trips.

V6 OR HYBRID POWER

The conventional version has Chrysler's 210kW/355Nm, 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid has a new electrically variable transmission with two electric motors, each of which is capable of driving the wheels.

They're powered by a 16kWh lithium ion battery that Chrysler says is good for an estimated 48km of zero-emissions driving, and it's expected to return an EPA-rated 2.95 litres per 100km around town.

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