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Chrysler has announced that you can now order a 2020 Pacifica with AWD
Yes, I saw that, but if I'm going to buy a new long-term vehicle for AWD, I'd prefer to wait for the 2021 to get the updated styling, larger U-Connect screen, etc. etc. - but, yeah... that will be an option for some as well. :D
 

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I am interested in seeing the configurator online. I am wondering if the AWD will be bundled with some key features otherwise unavailable. I don't plan to order the AWD unless it means I would not get the larger screen and other key features. If it is a standalone option then I would prefer that. I read that the AWD option might account for approximately 30% of new Pacifica sales. I hope it keeps the Pacifica in the conversation as I would really hate to see companies move away from offering a van. #vanrules
John
 

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Yea, why do that? Just intro the 2021 early, like they did in 2016.
Probably has to do with suppliers, and how far along they are in tooling up.
 

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I do find it interesting that something that I would have considered extremely important and a major feature, to not really get much attention on this site from existing owners. I guess I really do belong to a minority group of drivers that seek the benefits of AWD for their primary vehicle.

To others' points made previously, the majority of the benefit will be on snow & ice... some notable benefit on wet or sandy roads... and minimal improvement for dry pavement other than (hopefully) limiting the persistent wheel-spin many of us get from the FWD version.

I really do hope the numbers work out for FCA/Chrysler to keep this feature available for years to come.
 

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I do find it interesting that something that I would have considered extremely important and a major feature, to not really get much attention on this site from existing owners. I guess I really do belong to a minority group of drivers that seek the benefits of AWD for their primary vehicle.

To others' points made previously, the majority of the benefit will be on snow & ice... some notable benefit on wet or sandy roads... and minimal improvement for dry pavement other than (hopefully) limiting the persistent wheel-spin many of us get from the FWD version.

I really do hope the numbers work out for FCA/Chrysler to keep this feature available for years to come.
Just for me personally, I was very focused on AWD until I started reading articles and watching videos about the impact of AWD vs winter tires. When I saw that FWD vehicles with winter tires do better than AWD vehicles with all-season tires, from a price perspective it started making more sense to go with FWD and winter tires in winter. Because a lot of manufacturers charge a premium for AWD (I guess Subaru is one of the ones that doesn't) and because you take a hit to fuel economy the rest of the year when you don't need AWD anyways, the cost of a set of winters (even factoring in annual tire switching) represents meaningful savings.

All that said, I ultimately just replaced my OEM Nexens with GY Weatherready tires, all-seasons with winter weather certification. Urban Chicago is never hairy enough that anything more than lower speed and judicious distance from the car ahead of me isn't enough to get by.

I will say that the wheel spinning is the one thing I think the AWD would be good for, unquestionably. Is there any reason why they couldn't do an I-AWD system like Toyota does for its hybrids on the Pacifica? FWD except when you need it, in which case the electric motor powers the rear wheels? I haven't noticed the spinning anywhere near as much since I switched from the OEM Nexens to the GYs. Probably a combination of the tire change and my paying more attention to the amount of acceleration I do off the line.

My father always told me to avoid AWD if you could; increased complexity and repair costs coupled with decreased fuel economy are a pretty terrible combination. And if the conditions are bad enough that you are justified in considering AWD, a set of winters is cheaper up front and long-term, as you're not adding any complexity to the vehicle. Now my brother, in a house with a steep driveway in rural Vermont, has both AWD and studded winters, but anything less for him would make his house inaccessible in the winter. Short of that, I think of AWD as a luxury more than a necessity.
 

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As someone who has had the permutations you described above, I do/did NOT have the same experience getting dedicated Winter/Snow tires on this FWD Pacifica. I got a highly-rated (and expensive) set of Nokian winter/snow tires and I was not pleased with the performance. Maybe it's BECAUSE of the torque this Pacifica gets and the traction control not kicking-in quick enough, but the front wheels break-away WAY too often in snow and ice, and the traction control feels like it's lagging WAY behind real-world conditions.

While I am sure the dedicated winter tires benefit the braking and some handling on snow/ice, it is not close to my previous AWD vehicles - same location(s), commute, local roads, etc. And the winter tires did very little to help me navigate the "greasy" clay/dirt roads up in Vermont a month or two ago when I needed to ascend & descend mountainish roads.

I do not believe with ANY of my experience that a FWD with EXCELLENT winter/snow tires (which I currently have) performs as good or better than an AWD with all-season tires (My last 2 cars had both AWD and quality all-season tires). It's not panning-out the same for me as you. There's no "cost-savings" that could be large enough to compensate for me calling our friends in the boonies from the bottom of their road and saying: "We cannot get up your road... what are we gonna do...?".

We actually had to wait - at 12:30 am... in the dark... freezing-rain/snow mix... to wait for the town sand-truck/plow to show-up... then they had to go up the mountain road first to sand, and come back down (only one lane wide) so we could get up the hill.

Again - that's extreme - MOST people do not run into these situations, but I never had ANY issues in my AWD vehicles with all-season tires. [ honestly ]
 

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AWD sounds great, but with a good set of tires you should be able to get through pretty much any weather an AWD will get through. Sure it wont make it off roading but do you really think an AWD Pacifica would make it off roading? The length and low clearance pretty much makes it strictly an on road vehicle. A good set of tires wether winter or highly regarded all season tire is what you should be looking for. I wonder how many people get all the bells and whistles paying $50k+ just to look around for like the cheapest possible tire, that just doesn't make sense to me. I was worried about winter driving but after switching out the old OEM tires with a nice set of michelins I've had zero problems.

We plan on keeping our 2wd forever with our lifetime warranty
 

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It is not just about tires. I was out getting a Christmas tree with my family and some friends. Had a SMALL trailer connected. A little flat bed two wheel job from Home Depot is all. We parked on soft wet grass (everyone did) and went to cut our trees down. Three 6 to 8 foot trees on the little trailer. 7 of us in the van. Totally stuck. Wouldn’t back up and would barely go forward. Sunk right into the mud. Had to get pulled out by a small 4 wheeler. So totally could have used AWD for that.

And in the rain on California roads. The FWD slips super easy. This is not about winter tires. That’s for sure.
 

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It is not just about tires. I was out getting a Christmas tree with my family and some friends. Had a SMALL trailer connected. A little flat bed two wheel job from Home Depot is all. We parked on soft wet grass (everyone did) and went to cut our trees down. Three 6 to 8 foot trees on the little trailer. 7 of us in the van. Totally stuck. Wouldn’t back up and would barely go forward. Sunk right into the mud. Had to get pulled out by a small 4 wheeler. So totally could have used AWD for that.

And in the rain on California roads. The FWD slips super easy. This is not about winter tires. That’s for sure.
Well, I did say say a the minivan isn't really realistic for off-road use lol - but yes, thank you for validating me 😀
 

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I do find it interesting that something that I would have considered extremely important and a major feature, to not really get much attention on this site from existing owners. I guess I really do belong to a minority group of drivers that seek the benefits of AWD for their primary vehicle.

To others' points made previously, the majority of the benefit will be on snow & ice... some notable benefit on wet or sandy roads... and minimal improvement for dry pavement other than (hopefully) limiting the persistent wheel-spin many of us get from the FWD version.

I really do hope the numbers work out for FCA/Chrysler to keep this feature available for years to come.
Its because you're talking to people who own the current van, and you'll find a strong push to establish that the current van is better and the new refreshed van "isnt worth it" because those members arent in a position to upgrade.

Happens on every forum when a new version of the car comes out.

Answer is, AWD option is great with no drawbacks. Don't want it? Don't choose it but having the option is great.

FWD as a platform has some considerable undesirables when driving in the winter. The biggest is the drive wheels and the steering wheels being the same, so when you lose traction with the drive wheels, you also lose the ability to steer.
 

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Its because you're talking to people who own the current van, and you'll find a strong push to establish that the current van is better and the new refreshed van "isnt worth it" because those members arent in a position to upgrade.

Happens on every forum when a new version of the car comes out.

Answer is, AWD option is great with no drawbacks. Don't want it? Don't choose it but having the option is great.

FWD as a platform has some considerable undesirables when driving in the winter. The biggest is the drive wheels and the steering wheels being the same, so when you lose traction with the drive wheels, you also lose the ability to steer.
I'm not against AWD, it does have the drawbacks of extra cost, maintenance, and lower fuel mileage. We have 4WD on out patriot and it has extra maintenance. We have used it off-road and in inclement weather because it has more ground clearance and more practical in that sense. I just can't see the application that would warranty such a need on a minivan, something with a long wheelbase and low clearance. It's not that I'm not in a position to get the newest AWD Pacifica, I just don't want to, we are happy with what we have and we like our lifetime warranty. 🙃
 

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I've had several awd vehicles, the best in the snow was an A6 2.7T manual with continental all seasons. The worst was a Cadillac Srx V8 with AWD and it was so bad I got snow tires for it. Snow tires transformed my Honda S2000 into a capable and fun snow vehicle from something that was 100% worthless on all seasons. The S2000 and Srx both got Bridgestone blizzaks. The Srx was never a great snow vehicle. Must have been a subpar awd system, poor traction control or just set up for way too much understeer. The s2000 was transformational with the blizzaks. I find the Pacifica with 20" Falken Ziex to be ok. Our BMW X35i was pretty good in snow but not great (AWD). I don't need AWD where I live and probably wouldn't buy it after owning a fwd van, but I'm glad it's N option and I'm sure it will be of great benefit to those further north!
 

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Not to change discussions, but I live in Hawaii. Coldest day of the year it'll PLUMMET way to to 64 degrees. Then in the dead of summer, it'll climb to a scalding 91 degrees. Life is pretty miserable.

Anyway, I'd love to find a great 20" summer tire for my '18 Limited. I recently swapped the factory tires for some new Goodyear, and I'm pleased with how quiet they are, and the traction in the rain appears to have increased as well. But I still want to swap out to summer tires when these new Goodyears have outlived their use. Or maybe I can just wait even longer for those new airless tires Michelin has been working on. Never getting a flat tire ever would be pretty incredible.

This is the airless tire.
 

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I'm not against AWD, it does have the drawbacks of extra cost, maintenance, and lower fuel mileage. We have 4WD on out patriot and it has extra maintenance. We have used it off-road and in inclement weather because it has more ground clearance and more practical in that sense. I just can't see the application that would warranty such a need on a minivan, something with a long wheelbase and low clearance. It's not that I'm not in a position to get the newest AWD Pacifica, I just don't want to, we are happy with what we have and we like our lifetime warranty. 🙃
I have owned several AWD vehicles, and have never found them to need additional maintenance. Sure there are more parts with more potential to go wrong, but by that logic why have power closing sliding doors or any other type of electronic feature when a manual feature would "need less maintenance"?

AWD is not just for off roading, why do you think almost every sedan has an AWD option today? Its not for off roading. AWD makes cars much more stable and drivable in bad weather, thats the reason why it makes sense in a minivan. Snow doesn't have to be so deep that it overwhelms the ground clearance of the Pacifica in order for more stability and traction to be beneficial.

All you have to do is drive an AWD car in snow or even rain to see the benefit of it. When I had my AWD Lexus sedans I preferred driving them in the snow to our Jeep Grand Cherokee because they were lower to the ground and less ponderous, as long as the snow wasn't so deep that the sedans' low ground clearance was an issue.

Even without bad weather, here's another example. We rented a cabin in WV one time that had a long steep gravel driveway. Our FWD Pacifica would not go up the driveway, the front wheels broke traction and it just wouldnt go up. We had to park at the bottom, and put all of our stuff in my brothers SUV and drive it up the driveway in multiple trips, and then leave the Pacifica down in a field across the road. In an AWD Pacifica that wouldn't have been a problem.

There are just many, many ways having AWD will make the Pacifica a better family hauler and travel vehicle.
 

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Not to change discussions, but I live in Hawaii. Coldest day of the year it'll PLUMMET way to to 64 degrees. Then in the dead of summer, it'll climb to a scalding 91 degrees. Life is pretty miserable.

Anyway, I'd love to find a great 20" summer tire for my '18 Limited.
Me too! Except I'm getting a hybrid so 17". The choices seen pretty limited...
 

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I have owned several AWD vehicles, and have never found them to need additional maintenance. Sure there are more parts with more potential to go wrong, but by that logic why have power closing sliding doors or any other type of electronic feature when a manual feature would "need less maintenance"?

AWD is not just for off roading, why do you think almost every sedan has an AWD option today? Its not for off roading. AWD makes cars much more stable and drivable in bad weather, thats the reason why it makes sense in a minivan. Snow doesn't have to be so deep that it overwhelms the ground clearance of the Pacifica in order for more stability and traction to be beneficial.

All you have to do is drive an AWD car in snow or even rain to see the benefit of it. When I had my AWD Lexus sedans I preferred driving them in the snow to our Jeep Grand Cherokee because they were lower to the ground and less ponderous, as long as the snow wasn't so deep that the sedans' low ground clearance was an issue.

Even without bad weather, here's another example. We rented a cabin in WV one time that had a long steep gravel driveway. Our FWD Pacifica would not go up the driveway, the front wheels broke traction and it just wouldnt go up. We had to park at the bottom, and put all of our stuff in my brothers SUV and drive it up the driveway in multiple trips, and then leave the Pacifica down in a field across the road. In an AWD Pacifica that wouldn't have been a problem.

There are just many, many ways having AWD will make the Pacifica a better family hauler and travel vehicle.
There is more maintenance on AWD and 4WD vehicles, look at the maintenance schedule of one and compare it to a FWD, you will find theres a few extra things and that doesnt include the extra parts that could go bad you mentioned. I agree AWD will probably handle slightly better, actually I'm curious to see the difference in a 0-60 :)
 

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We own a 1999 GrCaravan AWD ('99 AWD) and a 2018 PacHy ('18 PacHy), so have extensive experience with both vehicles.

Comparing the two on this one topic of interest:
  • Cost - the AWD hasn't been an issue for 20 years. The '99 AWD had a transmission replacement after ten years, but our mechanic said that was normal for Caravans of all types. The '18 PacHy has had no work on it yet (but it's low mileage so who knows).
  • Winter traction - The '99 AWD was driven extensively in the snow/ice of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains. With all-season tires we never put on chains/etc. and traveled safely when 4WD and 2WD vehicles with chains had slid off the road - we would laugh as we cruised by on I-80 and the massive chain/de-chain stations.
  • Rain traction - The '19 PacHy does NOT grab the road nearly as well on wet roads, nor when the roads have a little bit of ice on them (both of which happen here in Central Texas where we now live). The PacHy loses traction far too easily compared to the same conditions where the '99 AWD does not (even with older tires!). In all driving conditions the '99 AWD handles better that the '18 PacHy.
Summary - for us there was no cost penalty for AWD and the '99 AWD handles better in all driving conditions than the '18 PacHy.

I'd really love a PacHy that has AWD and some towing capacity, both features I miss a lot on out '18 PacHy. And better seats too - all of the '99 AWD seats are better than the '18 PacHy seats.
 

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There is more maintenance on AWD and 4WD vehicles, look at the maintenance schedule of one and compare it to a FWD, you will find theres a few extra things and that doesnt include the extra parts that could go bad you mentioned. I agree AWD will probably handle slightly better, actually I'm curious to see the difference in a 0-60 :)
I've owned the same car in both AWD and now in RWD, the maintenance schedule is the same. Perhaps there is a fluid change in a transfer case at some point up towards 100k miles but other than that, they're the same and the nominal additional cost of that is well worth the added utility of the AWD.

The AWD system in the 2021 Pacifica reverts to 100% FWD unless there is slippage detected, so there isn't any fuel economy penalty either.

The AWD in this application is a no brainer IMHO.

Once you get accustomed to AWD cars, its hard to go back to FWD especially. I really dislike FWD.
 

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Answer is, AWD option is great with no drawbacks. Don't want it? Don't choose it but having the option is great.
Yup.

And to make more of a point- I live in SoCal. I have almost NO need for AWD. The Toyota I had before this, had AWD.

I buy a car to drive- not to limit my driving based on where I normally go. So if AWD is offered, I buy it. Its great with snow, rain etc. and definitely a worthy option to consider.

But I'm not butthurt I can't upgrade my ride to it. I bought the lifetime warranty and they no longer offer that. And that is far more valuable to me than AWD! But if I could have paid more for AWD- I 100% would have.

Anyone saying you just need tires is more interested in arguing on the internet...
 

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The AWD system in the 2021 Pacifica reverts to 100% FWD unless there is slippage detected, so there isn't any fuel economy penalty either.
This is not necessarily true. I don't know how the AWD system works but unless it disconnects both sides of the rear drivetrain, it's still going to be rotating and incurring friction losses. The only AWD drivetrains that seem likely to have zero impact on fuel economy to me would be the ones where the rear is just a totally separate electric motor.
 
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