Chrysler Pacifica in Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

The Pacifica replaced the Chrysler Town & Country in 2017 and is the first minivan with a hybrid option. 

With a seating capacity for up to eight people this minivan provides plenty of space for the whole family.

In this article we’ll determine if the Pacifica is suited for the winter time...

Here is the short answer to whether the Chrysler Pacifica is good for snow and winter driving: 

The Chrysler Pacifica is great for driving in snow. Features such as All-Wheel-Drive, traction control, electronic stability control, ABS and an excellent safety rating make this minivan more than capable in the winter, however it is limited to lighter snowfall due to its 5.1 inch ground clearance.

Is a Chrysler Pacifica Good in the Snow? 

The Chrysler Pacifica can handle snow just fine. Despite what you may have heard, minivans can be more than capable during the winter months provided the levels of snowfall aren’t too extreme.

What sets the Pacifica apart from the competition is its available, automatic all-wheel-drive system.

This means power can be sent to the wheels with the most available traction which ensures grip is maximized.

Front-wheel-drive trims will be suitable also, however there is no question that AWD models will provide better traction for tackling tough terrain.

For the best possible winter handling and improved braking we would highly recommend equipping the Pacifica with a set of snow tires from a reputable brand.

The Pacifica has received an excellent all-round safety review from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and also a 5-star safety rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you’ve got your heart set on a minivan and are likely to encounter snow, then the Pacifica is a solid option. However, it should be noted that due to its relatively low ground clearance of 5.1 inches, it will be somewhat limited.

If you live in a region that is subject to heavy snowfall then you might want to reconsider your choice of vehicle, the next best option would be an SUV.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving? 

Here are some of the features that benefit the Pacifica in the winter: 

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) 

All-wheel drive on mini-vans is not very common, in this regard the Pacifica is a step ahead of its rivals. 

This feature can detect a loss of traction via wheel speed sensors, and automatically sends power from the engine to the wheels with the most grip. 

For getting out of snowed in parking spots and unplowed roads this is a very useful feature.

  • The more wheels that are driven under power, the more traction available. 
  • The more traction available, the safer the vehicle will be in the snow. 

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Chrysler Towns & Country Last?

Electronic Stability Control

During extreme steering maneuvers Electronic Stability Control can help reduced the chance of a spin or slide.

It’s primary aim is to keep the vehicle stable, under control and headed in the driver’s intended direction.

It does this by analyzing signals from various sensors, monitoring inputs such as wheel speed and steering angle.

If the steering angle is inconsistent with the intended direction of travel, ESC will be activated and the system will take corrective action.

ESC helps maintain vehicle stability by applying brakes to specific wheels and/or reducing throttle input, to keep the vehicle headed in the right direction.

Traction Control 

Traction Control is an electronic device which stops or reduces the amount of wheelspin on a cars driven wheels.

When a vehicles wheel spins without any grip on the roads surface, this can lead to a loss of control, especially in slick conditions.

When the system detects wheelspin, it it can apply the brakes to individual wheels or reduce throttle to maintain the most traction possible. 

Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) 

During hard braking or on slippery surfaces, a driver may apply a braking force that is greater than the tires capacity to grip.

If this happens the wheels can ‘lock up’, causing the vehicle to skid out of control.

By preventing this lock-up the vehicle stops sooner and remains under the drivers control.

The anti-lock brakes on the Pacifica provides this assistance.

Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking

The Pacifica’s Full Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking comes as standard on all new models.

Should the system detect an imminent collision it assists the driver by providing an audible and visual warning as well as applying Automated Emergency Braking to come to a full stop, if needed.

The system is designed to help mitigate front end impacts however it is not a substitute for diligent driving.

Rain Brake Support 

Whilst driving when its snowing, Rain Brake Support is a useful system designed to help keep the brake rotors dry. 

The system detects operation of the wiper blades, this signals that wet conditions are present.

A small amount of brake pressure is then applied to the rotors – just  enough to squeegee the excess moisture off.

This results in a drier brake rotor and therefore improved braking. 

Does the Pacifica Have a Snow Mode? 

The Pacifica lacks any sort of snow mode, or snow button. 

This should not deter customers from buying a Pacifica though, Chrysler has designed this vehicle to perform well in the wintertime and is well equipped with various other features.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Pacifica? 

Here are some additional winter accessories that are available for the Chrysler Pacifica:

  • Snow tires
  • Snow socks
  • Snow chains

Snow tires are the most common winter accessory and can significantly improve the vehicles handling and stopping distance.

Many winter tires can be studded with small metal bits that improve traction on ice and packed snow. It is important to check local regulations because tires fitted with studs may be illegal during certain months.

  • Always make sure you are selecting the proper size tire for your vehicle.
  • Have new tires balanced by a professional.

How Much Snow Can a Pacifica Handle?

The Pacifica sits 5.1 – 5.4 inches off the ground.

As such we would advise not attempting to traverse snow much deeper than 4 inches as you run the risk of getting stuck or damaging the vehicle.

If you need more ground clearance, you might want to look into SUVs. 

How Do Pacificas Handle Low Winter Temperatures? 

The Pacifica is available as a hybrid and as a conventional gas minivan, neither options will struggle with low winter temperatures.

However on the hybrid models, some owners have reported their range was decreased in the colder climates.  

The benefit of a hybrid compared to a full Electric Vehicle is that you still have the power from the internal combustion engine to keep you going even when the battery level is low. 

Some trims come equipped with heated seats and a heating steering wheel, these are fantastic creature comforts for when temperatures plummet.

Can a Chrysler Pacifica Drive on Ice? 

Yes, the Pacifica can drive on ice, in particular the AWD models, however it is very important to exercise caution and drive slowly when roads are frozen.

If your region allows studded tires, then consider installing them as they will provide superior grip.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Chrysler Pacifica Last?

Does the Pacifica Have 4WD? 

Some models of the Pacifica have AWD. This is an option that can certainly help with winter driving. 

The Pacifica models that come equipped with AWD are usually only driven by the front wheels. When the system detects loss of traction, torque is sent to the rear wheels – resulting in more grip overall. 

What About Older Pacifica Models and Winter Driving? 

The current Chrysler Pacifica is a minivan that debuted in 2017. Not to be confused with the unrelated Chrysler Pacifica which was a crossover produced in model years 2004-2008. 

All Pacifica minivans are good for winter driving however we would suggest purchasing models after the 2017 model, according to Car Complaints this year had the most complaints (this is quite common for the first year of any vehicle).

All model years feature traction control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, all-row side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. 

However the latest models will have the most up-to-date technology.

Related: 13 Best & Worst Chrysler Pacifica Years (Pictures & Stats)

Do Pacificas Need Snow Tires? 

Buying a good set of snow tires is a worthwhile investment.

While all-seasons can suffice they will not provide the same traction as good quality snow tires, especially when temperatures drop below freezing.  

Snow tires consist of a soft rubber compound that is flexible even when temperatures drop, this allows the tire to conform to the road for enhanced handling and superior stopping distances.

Can You Mount a Snow Plow on a Pacifica? 

The Pacifica was not designed for a snow plow attachment.

Doing so would damage the chassis of this vehicle and likely invalidate its warranty. 

Resources

https://www.chrysler.com/pacifica.html

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...