An Omaha mom of three kids test drove a 2017 Dodge Durango GT and a 2017 Pacifica Touring L Plus to decide: 3rd-row SUV or minivan. The two trim levels have very similar features and price points. The 2017 Dodge Durango GT’s starting MSRP is $37,495 while the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus’ starting MSRP is $37,895. Both vehicles offered our Omaha mom heated first- and second-row seats, leather-trimmed seats and DVD players and screens.
Our Omaha Mom test-drove each car for a couple days to get a feel for the vehicle and give the kids a chance to play around with the available features. When car hunting, this mom focuses on fuel economy, ease of use with the kids and the features, so those were the aspects she paid the most attention to, as well as how the SUV and minivan felt to drive.
The 2017 Durango gets 19 city and 26 highway. The Pacifica gets 18 city and 26 highway. Not a big difference between the SUV or minivan. Unless you go up to the Pacifica Hybrid. You’d end up with 84 MPGe because of the 30-mile all-electric range. But, the Pacifica Hybrid has a starting MSRP of $41,995.
Both vehicles are large and built for a family – with seating for up to 8. Our Omaha Mom loved the fact that the Pacifica lets her open the back doors and the rear hatch from the front seat or the key fob. She doesn’t have to run around closing doors after the kids. Plus, the kids loved that they could close the sliding doors in the Pacifica themselves with the push button. The sliding doors were also a big point toward the minivan for Mom; no more worrying about door dings.
The kids all loved the DVD players available in both vehicles. The 2017 Durango offers available 9-inch dual-screen entertainment for the back seat. While the Pacifica offers available dual 10.1-inch touch-screens for the second row.
Features and Space
Safety and comfort were important to our Omaha Mom. The backup camera ended up being a huge hit in both vehicles. Since they’re both large, having an extra set of eyes behind you makes perfect sense.
In the Durango, the GT trim level offers a heated steering wheel on top of the heated seats in the first and second row; always a nice features on a cold, Nebraska day.
The Pacifica won our Omaha Mom over with the blind-spot sensors in the sideview mirrors and the amount of storage available. The Pacifica offers Stow ‘n Go seating and a large center console. Plus you get 32.3 cu. ft. of storage behind the third row.
Our Omaha Mom preferred the Minivan in this SUV or Minivan matchup. She said the Durango drove very similarly to her current SUV, but the Pacifica “drove much smoother than the SUV. I loved the feel of driving it! I’m hopeful my next car will be a Pacifica!”