Chrysler Apps Bring Family Entertainment On Those Long Rides
Posted on March 11, 2020
With unsurpassed minivan fuel economy, impressive driving dynamics and plenty of space, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has everything owners need for a relaxing family road trip. Of course, as any family will tell you, if the back-seat passengers aren't having fun on the road, the person in the driver's seat won't be either. And that's why the Pacifica also offers enough infotainment resources to make sure second-row occupants get a first-class travel experience of their own. The highlight here? Chrysler's Uconnect Theater.
Now, don't let the name fool you. This is a comprehensive rear-seat entertainment system with dual, independent 10-inch touchscreens mounted on the back of the front-row headrests and a new DIY approach to content. So while the setup let's you play, watch and listen to plenty of your own stuff, thanks to separate wireless remote controls and headphones, it also features a number of pre-loaded apps and games that come standard with the system. Admittedly, the choices are a bit basic, including bingo, tic-tac-toe, checkers, solitaire, a license-plate game and the like, but they're a lot better than a minivan full of kids with nothing to do.
There's also a nifty built-in "Are We There Yet?" app that provides an animated answer to that question on the Uconnect touchscreen, showing your estimated time of arrival and the number of miles to go before you reach your goal. Needless to say, if Chrysler's gone this far, I wouldn't be surprised if additional Uconnect games and apps were in the pipeline.
And remember, all that being said, the Uconnect Theater system does deliver a lot more ways to keep passengers entertained. For instance, the touchscreens are supported by HDMI and USB ports, which means it can be used for movies, games, music, e-books and, by leveraging connected personal devices, access to the Internet and other online apps. Engineers also are working on wireless connectivity that's expected to be available for the Pacifica a little later in the year. This, to be clear, refers to wireless connectivity between a device and the Uconnect Theater; the Pacifica will furnish available Uconnect Access service right off the bat for on-demand mobile Wi-Fi connectivity (as detailed below).
The driver then can pick from three Uconnect interfaces up front. All rely on the award-winning Uconnect technology, with even the entry-level setup supplying a 5-inch touchscreen, voice recognition, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and a free one-year subscription to SiriusXM's All-Access service. That's one of the most popular satellite-radio packages and delivers access to more than 175 channels, including every NFL, MLB and NASCAR contest. There's also a more practical side to the service, since it features up-to-the-minute news on traffic and weather conditions for 22 metro areas across the country.
The Pacifica offers an eyeball-friendly 8.4-inch touchscreen and navigation for the Uconnect system as well. Owners still get all the goodies offered with the 5-inch Uconnect setups, but they also add a bigger display and a trial subscription to Uconnect Access, which is Chrysler's suite of connected-car services. First of all, Uconnect Access enables actual online connectivity through the Pacifica's mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, supplying a true modern-day "must-have" for today's families. It also ensures some extra road-trip confidence with its 9-1-1 and assistance buttons, which can put owners in touch with appropriate emergency-services providers. Another particularly handy benefit for drivers on vacation is the Uconnect Access "Send 'n Go" feature; it's one of many available as part of the Uconnect Access smartphone app, and it lets owners send a destination address directly from their devices to the Pacifica's navigation system.
Also helpful for navigators are the free, five-year subscriptions for both SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic that come with that nav technology, along with the system's 3D graphics.
Yet even as Chrysler engineers packed the Pacifica with technology, they further worked to make it easy for folks to use. A prime example is the new customizable interface for the 8.4-inch Uconnect systems: Drivers can simply use traditional "drag and drop" commands to give top priority to their favorite apps and services.
Laying the proper foundation for those infotainment advantages is the customer's choice from three sound systems. And unsurprisingly, the Pacifica puts a premium spin on these audio setups, too.
For most models, the standard system not only furnishes six speakers, for better cabin coverage, it also makes use of four microphones for active noise cancellation and clearer sound. Standard in the up-level Pacifica Touring-L Plus, Limited and Limited Platinum is a 13-speaker system from the audio experts at Alpine. Backed by 506-watts of power and a 12-channel amplifier, this is an excellent selection for your favorite family sing-alongs, although Chrysler can turn up the volume even higher with its range-topping sound system. That comes from Harman Kardon, one of the most prestigious players in high-end audio, and pairs a premium amp with 20 speakers that have been carefully placed throughout the Pacifica's cabin for optimum sound reproduction.
For optimum road-trip performance, the 2017 Pacifica supplies a new 287-horsepower Pentastar V-6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission and the segment's first available plug-in hybrid powertrain. With that technology on board, the Pacifica can extend its standard driving capability with a 30-mile all-electric travel range at 80 MPGe in city driving.
Okay, at this stage, we may have gotten a bit off the topic of Chrysler's family-oriented apps, so I want to bring things back around to our starting point with an "app" of a different kind: A certain appliance that debuts in the 2017 Pacifica and was developed to deal with your daily minivan messes. It's the Stow 'n Vac that was engineered for Chrysler by Ridgid, a trusted tool company well known for its robust line of wet/dry shop vacuums. Naturally, the in-vehicle vacuum in the Pacifica will be the most powerful one on the market.
I've obviously had a lot to say about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, so I'll let someone else finish up: The bottom line from Timothy Kuniskis, head of Passenger Car Brands for Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles: "The all-new Chrysler Pacifica was thoughtfully designed and engineered to provide unsurpassed levels of comfort, convenience, technology and functionality, making it the perfect combination for modern families."