2020 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Arrives One Year Early

Reveal / 8 Comments

The minivan proposition just got a whole lot more compelling.

If you found yourself getting palpably excited when, at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show back in February, Chrysler officially confirmed an all-wheel-drive Pacifica for the 2021 model year, you may want to have a seat.

Chrysler has just said "to heck with waiting," in so many words. Today, the brand is announcing the new 2020 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Launch Edition. The new Launch Edition model brings AWD to the minivan-driving masses one model year early, attempting to capitalize on the positive early feedback FCA had in the wake of the 2021 AWD model's reveal.

The new model is available only in Touring L trim - the second-highest trim level on the totem pole - but with the same advanced, torque-vectoring AWD drivetrain as the 2021 Pacifica AWD.

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Chrysler didn't stop at the AWD system, however, tossing in S Appearance styling tweaks with Black Noise badging, including the Pacifica and Chrysler wing badges, as well as a unique Black Noise AWD badge. It sports an all-black interior with an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen, and upgraded 18-inch wheels in a new "Foreshadow" dark finish, wrapped in Michelin Premier self-sealing tires.

Further distinguishing the Chrysler Pacifica AWD Launch Edition are Gloss Black headlamp eyebrows, grille surrounds, rear valance, and daylight opening.

The minivan's new AWD system itself is, indeed, quite advanced, being the only such system in its class capable of sending up to 100% of available engine torque to the rear axle, as warranted by driving conditions. That's rare among transverse-platform AWD vehicles. It also features a three-piece driveshaft that's decoupled from either axle when the system senses that AWD isn't required, boosting efficiency by reducing the rotating mass when the Pacifica is operating in FWD mode.

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And to help route torque to exactly where it's needed most, the Chrysler Pacifica AWD Launch Edition features a brake-lock differential system that uses the ABS pumps to drag individual wheels when excessive slip is detected, routing extra torque to the opposite wheel. To help cope with the extra stress on the brakes, Chrysler has fitted larger discs behind those 18-inch wheels - vented up front, solid at the rear - and upgraded the calipers to better dissipate the heat.

More capable in rain, snow, dirt, and even on dry pavement, the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Launch Edition will start shipping out in the third quarter of this year, with a suggested retail price of $40,240 before destination, after an AWD package price of $3,095. Dealers are accepting orders now.

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