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New, 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Takes Over for Town & Country

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Minivan, red

Say hello to the all-new, 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, the replacement for both the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan.

The Chrysler Group essentially created the minivan segment in the 1980s with the Town & Country, Caravan and Voyager models and has pretty much owned it ever since. Unfortunately, demand for minivans has largely cooled off, and the proliferation of crossovers is to thank for that.

Hoping to reinvent the segment, the company went back to the drawing board and the resultant Pacifica should be a stark improvement over its predecessors. It rides on an all-new, lighter platform but its overall size remains roughly the same as the old Town & Country.

Chrysler’s practical people-hauler ditches the boxy, slightly awkward design of its predecessor for a more streamlined and conservative look inspired by the Chrysler 200 sedan. Highlights include a narrow grille flanked by sleek headlights, a rippled hood, horizontal LED taillights, and a roof-mounted spoiler.

The new look is accompanied by a techier, much more pleasant interior featuring a color screen integrated into the instrument cluster and an 8.4-inch dash-mounted touchscreen on the centre console that runs Chrysler’s latest Uconnect infotainment system.

Borrowing a page from the Honda Odyssey, the Pacifica can be ordered with a vacuum cleaner. It is also available with a rear-seat entertainment system, Stow n’ Go seating, and hands-free sliding doors.

The long list for electronic driving aids include a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system that automatically applies the brakes when a crash is imminent, and a lane departure warning system. All models come standard with parking sensors, a rear-view camera, a blind-spot monitoring system, active noise cancellation for a quieter ride.

The Pacifica is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that produces 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of torque, sent to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. A start/stop system helps deliver what Chrysler calls unsurpassed fuel economy in the segment.

There will be an even more fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid model motivated by a powertrain consisting of a detuned version of the Pentastar V6 rated at 248 hp and 230 lb-ft., two electric motors, and 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It is capable of driving on electricity alone for up to 30 miles (48 km) and returns an EPA-estimated 80 mpge in mixed city and highway driving, making it the most efficient minivan on the market.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica with the V6 engine goes on sale in spring 2016, while the Pacifica Hybrid hits dealers sometime in the second half of the year. Should the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna be worried?

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Chrysler

Chrysler Celebrates 35 Years Of The Minivan With Special Edition Pacifica, Caravan

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Chrysler Pacifica 35th Anniversary Edition, front

It’s been over three decades, since the American automaker gave birth to the minivan segment.

Chrysler introduced the first minivan — Dodge Caravan / Plymouth Voyager — in 1984, and has sold more than 14.6 million minivans over the proceeding 35 years, twice as many as any other automaker. It chose to celebrate the milestone with 35th Anniversary Edition versions of the Chrysler Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid and Dodge Grand Caravan.

All three feature an all-black interior with Cranberry Wine accent stitching and special 35th anniversary badging.

Available on the Touring L, Touring L Plus and Limited models, the Chrysler Pacifica 35th Anniversary Edition has Cranberry Wine accent stitching on its McKinley and Nappa leather perforated seats, steering wheel, door trim, instrument panel and door handles. Designers the 35th Anniversary logo has on the front floor mats.

Touring L trim models come standard with memory driver’s seat, eight-passenger seating, Mopar overhead DVD, 18-inch wheels. Going for the Touring L Plus adds a dual-pane sunroof and the Limited further adds 20-inch wheels.

The Hybrid Touring L comes equipped with the premium Audio Group with 13 Alpine speakers, Uconnect 4C Nav with 8.4-inch display and 17-inch wheels, while the Hybrid Limited tosses in 18-inch wheels.

Only the Grand Caravan SE and SXT models get the 35th Anniversary treatment, boasting 17-inch tech silver aluminum wheels, 35th Anniversary fender badge and a Bright grille.

Inside, they features Cranberry Wine accent stitching on the steering wheel, seats and door trim; a Piano Black console and IP accent; and a 35th Anniversary embroidered logo on the front floor mats.

The 35th Anniversary edition Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan go on sale in Summer 2019.

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Chrysler

Chrysler 300 Sedan Will Be Discontinued In 2020

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2015 Chrysler 300 sedan, front logo

It will be the last Chrysler sedan.

Chrysler two model lineup will see the elimination of the Chrysler 300 in 2020 and the addition of a second people-mover.

According to , there is no replacement for the large sedan planned. Instead, we can expect a new model based on on the Pacifica by mid-2019, possibly a crossover.

A production version of the electric Portal concept is also planned and should arrive in 2020. Unveiled in 2017 at CES in Las Vegas, the concept featured retractable steering wheel and had autonomous driving capabilities.

The elimination of the Chrysler 300 in 2020 will end a 15 year run for the full-size sedan, which entered production in 2005.

It’s hard to imagine a Chrysler brand without a sedan, let alone a large one, but the segment is in a perceptible decline, leading several other automakers to also trim their sedan lineup, if not downright eliminate it.

With only three models in its lineup by 2020, will the Chrysler brand even be relevant? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Mike Manley Becomes New Fiat Chrysler CEO, Marchionne Steps Down

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FCA CEO Mike Manley and Marchionne

Health complications has forced Sergio Marchionne to step down from his post as Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s CEO. He has been replaced by Mike Manley effective immediately.

Marchionne had been recovering from shoulder surgery for some months, but a deterioration in his condition has rendered him incapable of running the automaker effectively.

FCA did not elaborate, but having served as FCA CEO since 2004, the former tax account oversaw a controversial tenure that included the acquisition of Chrysler during the 2008 global financial crisis, saving it from bankruptcy; the reintroduction of the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands to North America; spinning off Ferrari; and killing off Chrysler’s passenger cars,

Marchionne was expected to retire at age 66 in 2019. His replacement, Manley was previously the boss of FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands and assumes all powers of the CEO by the board of directors. John Elkann will become chairman at Ferrari, a post Marchionne was expected to hold in until 2021.

Is Fiat Chrysler better off without Sergio Marchionne? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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