2020 Chrysler Pacifica vs 2020 Toyota Sienna
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2020 Chrysler Pacifica vs 2020 Toyota Sienna

By Autolist Staff | September 14 2020

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

2020 Toyota Sienna

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2020 Chrysler Pacifica score: 7/10

Highlights:
  • Comes with an extensive list of standard features.
  • Available all-wheel-drive.
  • Slick folding seats for second-row.
  • Available as a plug-in hybrid.

2020 Toyota Sienna score: 7.3/10

Highlights:
  • Refined ride and solid handling.
  • Powerful V6 engine.
  • All-wheel drive makes bad weather driving a breeze and isn't available on the Odyssey.

How they stack up:

Safety Features:

Chrysler Pacifica: 7/10

  • The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2020 Pacifica its highest five stars overall in crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Pacifica a 2019 Top Safety Pick score, its second-highest rating.

  • The Chrysler performed well in all crash tests. However, it scored the second-highest ‘Acceptable’ rating in IIHS’ small-overlap passenger-side crash test, when other minivans were rated the top ‘Good’ score.

  • All Pacifica models get forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection. Hybrid models also add standard rear parking sensors.

  • Unfortunately, automatic emergency braking is only available as part of a package that also includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, automatic high beam assist, a surround-view camera, and a number of other features.

  • Nearly all other rivals include at least low-speed automatic emergency braking as standard, while the Sienna includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and other technologies on all models.

Toyota Sienna: 8/10

  • The 2020 Sienna comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts with steering assist, and automatic high beams.

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Sienna mixed ratings in crash tests. The minivan earned an Acceptable rating for small overlap front crashworthiness on the driver’s side and Marginal for the passenger side. The Sienna was rated as Good for other crashworthiness categories, except its headlights and LATCH system ease-of-use, which were both rated Acceptable. The standard Toyota Safety Sense system earned a Superior rating for its ability to prevent crashes.

  • Available safety equipment includes a birds-eye view camera, rear cross-traffic alerts, park assist sonar, blind-spot monitoring, and a driver’s easy-speak system that lets the driver communicate more easily with people in the back of the vehicle.

Value:

Chrysler Pacifica: 7/10

  • The Pacifica Touring starts from $35,540, which is about $2,000 to $3,000 more than its rivals. But it’s also better equipped than the base versions of minivans from Honda, Kia, and Toyota. All models get power sliding doors, a power liftgate, heated exterior mirrors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and other features that usually require stepping up a level or two on competitors. The similar Chrysler Voyageroffers fewer features to compete with entry-level versions of rival vans.

  • The Pacifica Hybrid commands a nearly $3,000 premium over the equivalent gasoline-only Pacifica. But it still qualifies for a federal tax credit that could make it less expensive than the equivalent gasoline model.

Toyota Sienna: 6/10

  • The 2020 Toyota Sienna is more expensive and less feature-rich than its competition.

  • Standard safety equipment and available all-wheel drive were previously big value draws for the Sienna, but the competition has updated their vans to the point that Toyota no longer has such an edge.

  • The base L model has plenty of creature comforts and standard safety features, but it misses out on many of the things that make the Sienna so useful, such as available captain’s chairs in the second row, push-button start, power sliding doors, and more. Buyers have to step up to at least the LE to get some features, and the SE trim to get the rest. That adds thousands to the Sienna’s price tag, which may put it out of reach for some buyers.

  • The Sienna has received solid reviews for its quality and reliability, which should make it more affordable to own over time.

Efficiency:

Chrysler Pacifica: 8/10

  • The 2020 Pacifica gasoline models are rated at 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, with 22 combined. The Pacifica Hybrid is rated at 30 mpg combined and 82 MPGe, with 32 miles of electric-only range. All-wheel-drive models have not yet been rated.

  • The Pacifica compares favorably to other minivans, scoring similarly to the Honda Odyssey and slightly more than all versions of the Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna, and Dodge Grand Caravan.

  • The Pacifica Hybrid’s score matches that of some small SUVs, while its electric-only range is more than any plug-in hybrid three-row SUV from BMW or Volvo, for example.

  • While most three-row gasoline SUVs score comparably to the Pacifica in fuel economy, they usually have all-wheel-drive. And the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the closest rival to the Pacifica Hybrid, scores 35 mpg combined even with all-wheel-drive. It’s not as powerful as the Chrysler, but also offers seven seats and better efficiency for those who may not be able to plug into a charger on a regular basis.

Toyota Sienna: 7/10

  • With front-wheel drive, the Sienna is rated at 19/27/22 mpg city/hwy/combined, and with all-wheel-drive, the numbers change to 18/24/20 mpg.

  • The Sienna aligns closely with other vans in the segment, mainly the Pacifica and Odyssey, and all rate better than the Kia Sedona. The Sienna does not have an available plug-in hybrid or hybrid powertrain, which gives the Pacifica an edge in most cases.

  • The Sienna’s fuel economy numbers aren’t as good as some of the newest crop of SUVs, many of which are available with hybrid powertrains. Then again, none of those vehicles can match up to the Sienna’s space and capabilities.

Driving Experience:

Chrysler Pacifica: 7/10

  • The gasoline-only Pacifica uses a 287-horsepower V6 that’s relatively good at powering the heavy vehicle. Mated to a nine-speed automatic, the Pacifica is smooth to drive, if not as effortless as the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna, which have slightly more refined powertrains.

  • The Pacifica Hybrid has a 260-horsepower gas-electric combination, which is down on power compared to all other minivans, but the instant electric torque from the motor mitigates that for the most part. It’s also smoother because it uses an eCVT transmission, whereas the nine-speed automatic can be jerky under some circumstances.

  • The ride is plush and interior quiet on the highway, so the Pacifica majors in comfort as most minivans do. A Honda Odyssey feels slightly more athletic and less cumbersome in tight situations, however.

  • All-wheel-drive is available, making it the second minivan to offer it after the Sienna. Chrysler says it’s capable of transferring up to 100 percent of power to the wheels losing traction, or it can disconnect power to the rear wheels when the system isn’t in use, in order to save fuel. For 2020, the system is offered only on one trim level, but that will be expanded in 2021.

Toyota Sienna: 7/10

  • Minivans typically have a smoother ride than SUVs and crossovers, and the Sienna wows with its refined road manners and calm, confident handling.

  • The Sienna’s V6 makes it decently quick, with the ability to reach 60 mph from a standstill in under eight seconds. The engine and eight-speed transmission can be clunky and feel awkward when it’s cold out, but things smooth out considerably once everything is warmed up.

  • It’s a minivan, not a sports car, so there’s more body roll in corners than even a “normal” passenger car. The Sienna takes curves in stride, but the driver will need to slow down to keep the van in check for the tightest corners.

  • The Sienna SE is a bit sportier than the rest of the lineup, with a sport-tuned suspension, but there’s still a big gap between it and anything remotely resembling a performance vehicle.

  • Braking and steering are both predictable and confidence-inspiring. Brake pedal feel is soft, but braking performance is responsive and solid.

Tech Features:

Chrysler Pacifica: 8/10

  • The Pacifica comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system using Chrysler’s UConnect system. Most functions are controlled through the screen, but there are numerous physical buttons and knobs for common items such as audio volume, temperature, and other items. It’s among the clearest and easiest to use systems on the market. A larger 8.4-inch touchscreen is available on lower trims, standard on others, and is also available with built-in navigation.

  • The UConnect Theatre Package is available across the board (standard on the Touring L Plus trim) and features two 10-inch screens mounted on the front seatbacks. It also comes with a Blu-Ray player, HDMI connectors, a household-style power outlet, and USB charging points. While this makes it easy for second-row passengers to see the screens, third-row passengers are left out compared to competing systems that have a drop-down screen from the roof, as in the Honda and Toyota minivans. Kia does not offer a factory rear entertainment system.

Toyota Sienna: 6/10

  • The Sienna loses points here, largely because its base model misses out on some of the best features that come standard just one level higher in the lineup.

  • Standard features include a seven-inch touchscreen, AM/FM radio, USB inputs, voice recognition, and Bluetooth audio.

  • Available features include navigation, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM satellite radio, Siri EyesFree, HD Radio, Toyota Apps, Toyota Connected services, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a JBL sound system with ten speakers and subwoofer, a birds-eye camera, a Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system, and Driver Easy Speak. Android Auto is not available.

  • Toyota’s Entune infotainment software can be clunky and difficult to use. Its darkened interface and sometimes small text are hard to read and make it awkward to find what you’re looking for while the vehicle is in motion. Connected apps allow smartphones to supplement the system with navigation and other features, but downloading and updating apps on two separate devices (car and phone) can be annoying and difficult to learn.

Style & Design:

Chrysler Pacifica: 7/10

  • Chrysler has tried to break from the traditional minivan shape without compromising packaging too much, so it’s adorned all Pacifica models with plenty of trim and detailing that’s uncommon of the segment. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but Chrysler also offers an appearance package to give this minivan a more aggressive appearance.

  • It’s a similar story inside, where there are both pale and dark colors available. All but the base model gets leather upholstery as standard, which is unusual in this segment, and most also offer a moonroof that has either two or three panes to cover the entire interior with light, should the occupants choose – another unusual feature among minivans.

  • The controls take some getting used to, between the rotary-style gear selector and the litany of buttons on the center console that serve as redundant controls for the UConnect infotainment system. But once familiarized, they fall more readily to hand than using the touchscreen in some situations.

  • Chrysler’s use of redundant controls is unlike that of Honda and Toyota, which put most functions in a touchscreen. Kia’s controls are somewhat better marked and easier to use, but they are sometimes more of a reach.

Toyota Sienna: 8/10

  • The Sienna is one of the more sharply styled minivans on the market, but it’s still got a family-friendly appearance that doesn’t color too far outside of the lines.

  • The new Nightshade edition darkens body trim and blacks out the wheels to make the Sienna look more aggressive and sportier, though it’s still absolutely a minivan in every way possible.

The front seats are supportive and well-padded, and the fact that each front passenger has their own fold-down armrest makes it even easier for people of all sizes to be comfortable.

When equipped, the second-row bucket seats are as comfortable and well-appointed as the front seats and offer enough room to fit large car seats.

The Sienna’s dash is crowded, and controls are bunched together, which can make it difficult to see and find the right button for the setting that you need.

Practicality:

Chrysler Pacifica: 8/10

  • The gasoline Pacificas get Chrysler’s Stow ‘N Go folding seat system, where the third-row splits 60/40 and folds into a well in the floor. The second-row captain’s chairs collapse and fold into individual covered bins in the floor.

  • That’s where the Chrysler one-ups the competition (apart from the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Voyager), eliminating the need to wrestle out the second-row captain’s chairs to maximize cargo space. And when the seats are up, the covered bins act as more hidden storage away from prying eyes. This feature is also retained for all-wheel-drive models, but not the hybrid, which uses larger captain’s chairs that have to be lifted out.

  • Pacifica models come with seating for seven as standard, but an eighth seat is available for the middle row on all models. This seat doesn’t fit as neatly as the other rear seats, however, and has to be completely removed, even though it’s relatively light. Second-row seats slide forward to allow access to the third-row.

  • All models include a power liftgate and power sliding doors. Standard on Limited and optional on Touring L Plus is hands-free operation of not only the tailgate but the power sliding doors, which is an unusual feature. But like the hands-free tailgate operation, it could be useful for some situations.

  • But the Pacifica doesn’t have as large an interior as most of its rivals, larger than the Grand Caravan, about the same size as the Sedona, but behind the Odyssey and Sienna All of the minivans are roughly the same size, though, so it may not matter in everyday use.

Toyota Sienna: 9/10

  • There’s almost nothing that can match up with a minivan from a usability and space perspective, and the Sienna’s no exception.

  • Inside, even the base L and LE trims offer superior space and the ability to carry several people and all of their gear. Higher trim levels are available with captain’s chairs in the second row, which makes moving around inside the cabin even easier, and can separate kids’ grabby hands from each other if necessary.

  • It may not be the most advanced minivan on the market, but the Sienna’s interior is full of useful and spacious cubbies, bins, and storage areas. The center console bin is spacious enough to fit a large purse as well.

  • In some trims, fold-away seats make it easy to open up the cabin space to haul larger items. The Sienna is a willing, and able companion for home improvement store runs and can carry much larger and longer items that it would appear from the outside. With all seats down, the Sienna opens up to a massive 150 cubic feet of space in the cargo area.

Cost of Ownership

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

2020 Toyota Sienna

Annual Fuel Costs

$1,478
15k miles at $2.168/gal
$1,626
15k miles at $2.168/gal
Fuel Economy

19 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
18 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
28 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway
24 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway

Safety

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

2020 Toyota Sienna

NHTSA Crash Test Results

Overall
Overall
Safety Features

Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert

Interior

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

2020 Toyota Sienna

Interior Features

Standard
Leather
Standard
Leather
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Climate Control
Standard
Climate Control
Technology

Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Navigation System
Standard
Navigation System

Under the Hood

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

2020 Toyota Sienna

Powertrain

Transmission
Transmission
FWD
Drivetrain
FWD
Drivetrain
Drivetrain

N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Torque
N/A
Torque
N/A
Cylinders
N/A
Cylinders