Chrysler Pacifica and Nissan Rogue Sport

| July 1, 2017


Chrysler Pacifica | Starting price: $29,000

By Kelly Foss

Minivan sales tend to be quite steady over the years due in part to several specific capabilities that some families need and that other vehicles don’t offer. Like them or not, they are very efficient at doing certain things very well, and now with the brand-new Chrysler Pacifica, they manage to do them even better than before.

Chrysler started over from the ground up to design this most technologically advanced minivan, which offers bold styling, class-leading ride, handling and unmatched fuel economy.

Where minivans excel is in easily accessible voluminous utility. They’re boxy vehicles that have cavernous interior space. Larger traditional truck based SUVs can also have large interior volume, but it’s much more difficult to access all that space. Truck SUVs are high and don’t have sliding side doors. Minivans are close to the ground, making it easy for young children to climb into the vehicle on their own or for moms to get them strapped into a safe seating position. Try hefting a child into a child seat in the safest middle position of a Suburban or Expedition. It will require some heavy lifting and often has mom balancing on running boards while she’s doing it. The floor of a minivan is knee high and the SUVs are pocket high or higher.

Some new parents will actually buy the SUV the first time for superficial reasons, but then they wise up and the utilitarian siren song of the minivan calls and they never look back.

The interior of the Pacifica is also totally redesigned, has a sleek sophisticated look and is a quiet peaceful space. Even the second row video screens are now conveniently mounted on the backs of the front seats so each second row passenger can watch or play what they want. Though wireless headphones for the kids will help parents keep their sanity after the 100th showing of Frozen, more useful content like interactive games and math flashcards can also be consumed.

The interior also provides a very useful third row of seats that offers easy passenger access without having to be a contortionist, and the seat will simply fold flat into the floor well. Additionally, Chrysler pioneered the second-row Stow-n-go seats that collapse into the floor yielding a gargantuan low liftover cargo space with enhanced side access due to the minivan’s sliding doors.

Even the base LX model priced at $29,000 provides a fully functioning minivan that will get the job done. The Platinum model priced at about $46,000 is festooned with additional luxury and convenience items plus optional advanced safety systems. It is also powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the only minivan offering this technology.

The Pacifica is the next evolutionary step in minivans. It has remained true to the basic concept yet has significantly raised the bar of what a minivan can be.


Nissan Rogue Sport Starting price: $21,000

Compact car-based crossover SUVs are all the rage today. Their popularity is steadily increasing at the expense of similarly sized sedans. Therefore, the logic among automotive manufacturers goes like this: if there is a way to squeeze another SUV model into the lineup, that is a good thing.

So, the current trend is to make a smaller version of an existing compact model and optimize it for those who prize sportiness, maneuverability, style and fun to drive. Enter the Nissan Rogue Sport.

The current Rogue has become a very popular vehicle and so far in 2017 it’s actually the No. 4 seller in the country. Positioned right below the Sport is the Nissan Juke, which is even smaller. With the Rogue Sport, Nissan hopes to leverage the successful CUV trend and increase overall sales without cannibalizing their own existing Rogue and Juke successes.

Here’s the lowdown on the Rogue Sport. This model competes with the Honda HR-V and the new Toyota C-HR to name a few. It looks remarkably similar to the Rogue in basic shape and proportions, but the dimensions are smaller and styling details are different. Nissan calls it “emotional geometry.” The Sport has a shorter wheelbase, weighs about 500 pounds less and the entire vehicle is a full foot shorter… that’s a lot in automotive terms.

That makes it more maneuverable in city traffic and an ideal size for tight city parking spaces. The somewhat elevated seating position and panoramic view makes the driving experience even better. Other helpful city adventure features range from the 61.1 cubic feet of cargo space (with second row seat folded), an available innovative Divide-N-Hide Cargo System, and the Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD).

The Sport is also powered by the smaller 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine connected to a CVT continuously variable transmission. Its 141 horsepower will move it down the road purposefully while still delivering 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway fuel economy. The Sport is available with either front or all-wheel drive.

The Sport has a large array of equipment for this class of vehicle. By adding them all, you can elevate the Sport from its base price of about $21,000 to a fully loaded one costing about $31,000. Here’s what you get for the extra money: all-wheel drive, active ride control, navigation with many mobile apps, 360-degree bird’s-eye view camera, remote engine start, leather seating, power seats, aluminum alloy wheels, moon roof, LED headlamps, forward emergency braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning and prevention, plus many others.

Nissan knows how to build successful CUVs, and I wouldn’t bet against this one being successful too.

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Category: New Automobiles

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