Family Vacation Specialists
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Pacifica, Grand Caravan make road trips easy
With students on summer break and family vacations in full swing, road trips become a primary target for family fun activity. Designed from the ground up to move as many as eight passengers in comfort and equally reliable safety, two of the most notable names on the block are the new Chrysler Pacifica and iconic Dodge Grand Caravan.
The Pacifica offers loads of refinement, from its car-like ride to its comfortable cabin. A 287-horsepower V6 engine is standard, and a plug-in hybrid variant with more than 30 miles of electric driving range is available.
The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica has a quiet, well-organized interior with three rows seating seven. It comes with cloth upholstery and a tilting row-two for access into the third row. An optional eighth seat slots in between the two second-row seats. It can’t fold under the floor or be removed
Chrysler has one of the longest features lists of any vehicle on the market. Smartphone connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are immensely popular. I find the DVD player and the rear-seat 10-inch touch screens to be the most popular features with kids, while the built-in vacuum is a parents’ best friend.
I believe the Uconnect infotainment system is one of the best systems in the class, with intuitive menu layout and a responsive touch screen. Audiophiles will like the choice of upgrade options with a 13-speaker Alpine audio system and a 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Pricing starts at $28,535.
The iconic Dodge Grand Caravan is the original minivan that combined the prowess of people moving with the premise of affordability. Offering one of the most powerful engines available in a minivan with its 3.6-liter V6, it delivers 17 city/25 highway mpg.
The Grand Caravan specializes in offering plenty of room for people and ‘stuff.’ I found the Grand Caravan’s high-mounted front seats to deliver outstanding driver visibility. Seats are maneuverable for good positioning. The second- and third-row seats provide lots of space and are just fine for long road trips.
The Grand Caravan’s standard features are worth mentioning given the base price to enter. Look for standards like tri-zone climate control, a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a six-speaker audio system and a rearview camera.
Upgrades include navigation, a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a rear-seat entertainment system, remote start, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. With a starting price at $25,995, it is the most affordable model in the class.
4 Tips Before Hitting the Road
- Be sure proof of insurance is easily accessible in the cabin
- Be aware of insurance support, such as towing reimbursement or mechanical problems
- Know your insurance representative contact information in case of accident
- If renting for the road trip, be sure you understand insurance policy coverage for rental cars