Chicago Auto Show 2020

Chrysler launches major Pacifica refresh for 2021, offering AWD option

Chrysler has thoroughly refreshed the Pacifica for the 2021 model year innculdig a new available all-wheel drive system.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Chrysler is launching a major refresh of its Pacifica minivan by offering an all-wheel-drive model, improving the styling, adding new technology, and making a host of advanced safety features standard equipment.

The improvements in the 2021 Pacifica, unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday, are apparent at first glance.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica The new 2021 Chrysler Pacifica (shown here in the Pinnacle model) will offer America's most capable minivan with all-wheel-drive and the most standard safety features in the industry. Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The grille is accented by converging hockey stick-shaped LED daytime running lights. That same hockey stick theme is carried through in the body sculpture along the side panels back to the rear of the van. It repeats again in the lighting that now stretches across the length of the rear hatch. The styling mutes the van design and provides a sense of fluid movement.

The 2021 Pacifica is the first van from Chrysler to have an all-wheel-drive option since the 2004 Town & Country. Chrysler designed the system so that it saves fuel by turning on only when vehicle sensors detect a need. Drivers don't have to push any buttons or change settings. It delivers hard acceleration, indicating a need for more grip and power, when the electronic stability systems starts to detect slipping or a loss of control, or in fast, tight turns where extra torque is required. The system also looks for other cues, such as cold exterior temperature and windshield wiper use.

Chrysler will make the AWD option available in the current Pacifica through the end of the model year to satisfy customer demand for the option.

The new Pacifica gets a dramatically improved interior highlighted by a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen, the largest among minivans. That's 20-percent bigger than the current model. It will be the first of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' vehicles to get the fifth-generation Uconnect infotainment system.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Chrysler has managed to make the Pacifica more serene with a new Pinnacle trim level that features near-luxury level appointments.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

To keep track of passengers, the minivan has a camera that provides a view of rear-facing child seat occupants, split-view display and unique "zoom-to-seat" feature. The Honda Odyssey currently has similar camera technology, but without the split-view display and zoom feature.

Chrysler is addressing customer complaints by making the van quieter by adding acoustic windshield glass and thicker sliding door glass to all Pacifica models. The Limited, Pinnacle, and all plug-in hybrid models get acoustic front side glass.

With its refreshed design, the automaker's strategy is to give the Pacifica a makeover so that it looks more like an SUV – the most popular segment of the U.S. auto market. Chrysler, which invented the minivan and has sold more than 15 million over the decades, is trying to add some emotion to the segment.

The automaker also wants to create some distance between the more upscale Pacifica and its budget-friendly minivan sibling, the Chrysler Voyager.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica The Pacifica Pinnnacle comes with pillows for rear seat passengers. Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's not that the company expects consumers to trade their SUVs for minivans. Rather it's targeting buyers who are looking to replace sedans but want a practical family hauler that looks interesting and provides both amenities and comfort.

Part of this strategy includes launching the Pinnacle trim line that can compete with the interiors of three-row luxury SUVs.

The interior features quilted Nappa leather bolstering in the seats. Stitching accents the elegant caramel color leather of the seating and interior panels. The rear seats come with additional stitched leather pillows.

Exterior touches include a satin carbon grille and platinum chrome on all exterior edgings, moldings, and badging. A new Pinnacle side door nameplate in the Pacifica font is also platinum chrome.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica The new 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen is seamlessly placed in the dashboard. Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

There are 12 USB Type A and Type C ports to keep a bevy of devices charged. And there's plenty of small item storage space that is prime for those devices.

The Pinnacle comes with what Chrysler is calling an "ultra" console. It provides 13.65 liters of overall storage, about a third more than the current Pacifica. Almost 90% of that area is covered. Additionally, there are second-row storage bins in the floor.

Chrysler is packing the Pacifica with what it says are the most standard safety features in the segment. Those include forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking. The braking also works when sensors detect pedestrians in front of the vehicle. There is also adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning, the latter of which taps the electronic power steering to assist the driver with corrective action if the vehicle starts to drift.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Chrysler will offer the 2021 Pacifica with multi-angle view cameras that keep an eye on passengers.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Engine choices won't change for the new model year. The van has a V6 gasoline engine that delivers 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. There also is the plug-in hybrid powertrain that offers an all-electric range of more than 30 miles and a total range of more than 500 miles.

The 2021 Pacifica will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Chrysler will release pricing information closer to start of sales.

Check out a peek inside the Pacifica from the floor of the Chicago Auto Show:

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new package gives the three-row SUV a more assertive look.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia Telluride buyers will soon have one more option box they can check when ordering their three-row SUV. The company announced a new Nightfall Edition package that equips the model with black features, including wheels.

The 2021 Kia Telluride Nightfall Edition package is available on Telluride EX AWD (with Premium Package), SX AWD, and SX Prestige models covered in Snow White Pearl, Everlasting Silver, Gravity Gray, Ebony Black, Sangria, Black Copper, Dark Moss, or the new Wolf Gray paint job. Wolf Gray is only available to models equipped with the Nightfall Edition package.

The package only includes exterior elements. Its product list features a newly designed radiator grille with a black finish and 20-inch black-finished wheels with black lug nuts and center caps, which are Nightfall Edition exclusives. It also has gloss black roof rails, greenhouse trim, lower door side molding, skid plates, front bumper side air-duct garnish, and badging. The SUV's LED headlights and fog lights feature a black inner bezel (not available on EX) and body-colored door handles (already standard on EX).

"The Telluride Nightfall Edition offers a new choice to our customers who prefer a more assertive and premium look to their family hauler or weekend adventurer," said Sean Yoon, President & CEO, Kia Motors America, Kia Motors North America. "Our biggest and boldest offering's already lofty appeal elevates with the addition of this special package."

The 2021 Telluride Nightfall Edition will arrive in showrooms beginning in the second half of the year. Pricing has not yet been announced.

The SUV is made in West Point, Georgia alongside the Sorento, which was redesigned for 2021, and Optima, which has been renamed and redesigned for the new model year.

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The Ford Bronco is back.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The debut of the 2021 Ford Bronco family of SUVs is perhaps the most anticipated vehicle launch in the last decade. Maybe longer. Now, the wait is over.

The 2021 Ford Bronco will come in three variants. There's the two- and four-door Bronco and the four-door Bronco Sport. The Bronco models feature body lines and attributes most similar to the original Broncos while the Bronco Sport is a lifestyle-focused off-road capable model.

Ford's design team has given the Bronco, more so than the Bronco Sport, a look that balances heritage and modernity equally. While there's always enthusiasts who will be disappointed, it's hard to find too much fault with the translation.

Two- and Four-Door 2021 Ford Bronco

The two- and four-door Bronco 4x4 comes standard with a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine that achieves 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a standard seven-speed automatic transmission (six traditional gears and one crawler gear). A 10-speed automatic is available.

2021 Ford Bronco The models can have their doors and roof removed.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Buyers can upgrade to a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that gets 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.

The two-door has a 100.4-inch wheelbase and the four-door comes in at 116.1 inches. Under the body are Dana 44-inch AdvanTEX axles and locking differentials at the front and back. Length varies slightly by trim level, as does height.

Part-time selectable engagement 4x4 capability comes standard. Advanced 4x4 with automatic, on-demand 4H engagement is available. Technology allows for electronic shift-on-the-fly capability.

Ford has equipped the models with up to seven G.O.A.T. Modes, via the Terrain Management System. The drive modes allow drivers to have confidence in the capability of their vehicle and take advantage of some technology while they're at it. The modes are Normal, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Baja, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl.

2021 Ford Bronco The Bronco and Bronco Sport come with G.O.A.T. Modes.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Two-door Broncos come standard with a three-section roof system that's removable. A four-section removable roof is available. Roof panels are able to be removed by one person and stored in the vehicle.

A cloth top is standard on four-door models. A removable hardtop is available.

The two-door has a base ground clearance of 8.4 inches and up to 11.6 inches of clearance. The four-door has one-tenth inch less ground clearance.

It rides on wheels ranging from 16- to 18-inches, depending on trim level. Tires ranging from 30 to 35 inches are standard issue, supplied by Bridgestone, General Tire, BF Goodrich, and Goodyear.

2021 Ford Bronco The 2021 Ford Bronco can be optioned up to look bug-out ready.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

All models have a 3,500-pound towing capacity. Trail sights on the front fenders allow for up to 150 pounds of tie-down capacity.

Buyers will have access to over 200 factory-backed accessories at launch when the vehicles arrive in dealership in the spring.

The interior of the Bronco is available with rinse-out and drainage solutions. It's home to a classic dashboard that features up to a 12-inch, SYNC 4-run infotainment touch screen. More than 1,000 trail maps are available through the screen's trail guides system. Content can be created and shared with friends via on-screen functionality.

The 2021 Ford Bronco starts at $29,995 and comes in Base, Big Bed, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Wildtrak, Badlands, and First Edition trim levels.

2021 Ford Bronco The interior of the Bronco holds true to its heritage, with refined, modern touches.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Built alongside the Ford Escape, the 2021 Bronco Sport is very different than the hot-selling SUV. It has a completely different look inside and out, and a different wheelbase. Though still rugged, the Bronco Sport isn't as capable as its two- and four-door family members. However, its thoughtful innovations are smart ways to win over adventurers.

Ford will sell the Bronco Sport in Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition trim levels. Reservations are open now and the vehicles will arrive at dealerships later this year.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Ford will make over 100 accessories available for the Bronco Sport when it arrives at dealerships nationwide later this year.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Bronco Sport comes standard with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that gets 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. An upgraded 2.0-liter EcoBoost is available that yields 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Like the Bronco, the Bronco Sport has a Terrain Management System with up to seven available G.O.A.T. Modes. In its top Badlands grade, the model features four steel bash plates, frame-mounted tow hooks, and up to 23.6 inches of water fording capability. The small SUV is no slouch.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport The Bronco Sport is capable of some serious off-roading.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The five-seater has best-in-class first- and second-row headroom. Folding down the rear seats allows enough room for two standing 27.5-inch wheel mountain bikes to be stowed on an interior Yakima bike accessory rack. A slide-out working table is available as well as a 400-watt inverter, and liftgate floodlamps.

A flip-glass rear window, low-load cargo floor, and roof rack are designed to make life on the trail easier. Bronco Sport will launch with over 100 available accessories.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Large mountain bikes fit in the cargo area of the model.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford is giving every Bronco Sport an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen display that features the SYNC 3 operating system and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.

The Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assist and safety technology is standard across the lineup.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport The interior of the Bronco Sport is more refined than the Bronco's.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport starts at $28,115.

Find out more

You can find out more about the trim levels, color options, off-road prowess, and history of the Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport by growing AutomotiveMap's laundry list of Bronco family premier coverage.

The competition

The three-model debut has already begun to draw comparisons between the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco. We sorted it out here.

Jeep tried to take a bite out of Bronco's big debut with a large horsepower announcement of their own. Read more here.

Reserve yours today

You can reserve yours now for just $100. Find out more here.

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