Chrysler Pacifica reportedly getting updated design and eAWD system for 2021

Ronan Glon



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Chrysler is preparing to give the Pacifica and Voyager minivans a comprehensive mid-cycle update, according to a new report. Both models are scheduled to make their debut in early 2020.

The Pacifica currently shares styling cues with the 200, a sedan discontinued after the 2017 model year. The team of stylists tasked with updating it returned from the design well inspired by the third-generation Town & Country released for the 1996 model year, and the 300, the firm's only sedan. Mopar Insiders described a sportier look characterized by a bigger grille, and sharper-looking headlights with LED accents. New-look rear lights connected by a light bar will round out the nip and tuck. The publication added camouflaged prototypes will hit the road in early 2020.

The Voyager added to the range for the 2020 model year is a cheaper, less equipment-rich variant of the Pacifica. While it will receive the same updates as its more expensive sibling, it might not come standard with the aforementioned LEDs. Expect other minor trim differences inside and out, too, but the two nameplates will continue to share a basic design. The Dodge Grand Caravan is finally retiring in 2020, so the Voyager will become the ever-important entry point into the group's minivan range.

The same report sheds light on the mechanical changes Chrysler has in store. The firm will give buyers in the market for an all-wheel-drive minivan an alternative to the Toyota Sienna by adapting Jeep's plug-in hybrid technology to the Pacifica. Called eAWD, the system consists of a battery-driven electric motor integrated into the rear axle. It delivers through-the-road all-wheel drive, meaning there's no connection between the front and rear wheels, and clever packaging makes it compatible with Chrysler's Stow and Go seats. The gasoline-electric setup will make the Pacifica a rear-wheel drive electric car on short trips, while improving its gas mileage the rest of the time.

There's no word yet on what will be under the hybrid, all-wheel-drive model's hood. Jeep's upcoming Compass and Renegade hybrids use a turbocharged, 1.3-liter four-cylinder, but that sounds a little bit small for a reasonably big van developed with the American market in mind. Motorists not interested in going hybrid will likely still have the venerable 3.6-liter V6. And, whether the Voyager will be eligible to receive the new hybrid powertrain remains unclear.

Chrysler hasn't commented on the report, so we're taking it with a grain of salt, but it's credible because the Pacifica is due for an update, and a new Sienna will roll into Toyota showrooms for the 2021 model year. The Pacifica and the Voyager are expected to make their public debut at an auto show in early 2020. Detroit moved to June, so we could see the vans break cover at the Chicago show in February, or in New York in April. Either way, sales will begin during the 2021 model year.