Car News

Chrysler Gets a Grip with AWD Pacifica

It appears that Chrysler is working up an all-wheel drive option for its Pacifica minivan. Offered until 2004 in the Pacifica's predecessor, the Town & Country, it was also available in the original Pacifica, a mid-size crossover sold until 2008.

According to Automotive News, a representative of Unifor, the auto workers union that represents employees at Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario minivan plant, says the company is "closely examining" the idea of an AWD minivan.

Auto News also cites an unnamed source at a Chrysler supplier that is apparently working on a part for the forthcoming AWD van. An AWD option would make Chrysler the second minivan maker to offer such an option. Toyota makes an all-wheel drive version of its Sienna, contributing to the majority of it's sales in Canada.

Chrysler dropped its AWD minivan option with the introduction of second-row seats that fold away under the floor, which didn't leave space for a drive shaft to carry power to the rear wheels.

The Pacifica is the only current minivan to offer a hybrid drivetrain, a plug-in system that allows about 50 km of all-electric driving. Chrysler's solution to the stowable seat conundrum could be an e-AWD system that employs a second electric motor to provide drive to the rear wheels.

Adding AWD could improve the Pacifica's appeal in wintry parts of Canada. Between the Pacifica and the Dodge Grand Caravan -- a 12-year-old design -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles already sells nearly 60 per cent of all minivans in this country.