A Little History…

The debate goes on: Is the minivan dead? At Chrysler, there have been many iterations resulting in the Pacifica, which is an uptick in the market. With every gadget and gizmo, great price and end of the year deals at our fave Chrysler/Dodge dealer, Big Al Heggs, it’s worth a once over.

Just how did the ’80’s mom vehicle of choice come to be? Thirty-three years ago, Chrysler invented the minivan. It became the family vehicle with a focus on safety and an interior reflecting families on the go.

In 1941 Chrysler designed a luxury station wagon known as the “Woodie.” When the war hit, the Woodie died. It’s entire run–only 17 months. After the war, the Town and Country pre-curser reappeared as a line of Woodie convertibles, sedans and hardtops. Thus making the Woodie the considered grand parent of the minivan and SUV. The Woodie gained new popularity in the 50’s with the surfer crowd as a means to haul around surfboards.

The K Platform emerged in the 1970’s as an answer to the energy crisis. The series featured a 2.2 liter 4-cylinder engine with front wheel drive. Once modified, it provided the base for transformation into the Town and Country wagon and then minivan. The Chrysler Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan were hailed as “Ten Best Cars of 1985.” Car and Driver said, “There have been a few vehicles down the years that had the ability to make people feel good. The Chrysler minivan is one of these. It literally rides and drives like a car, yet it has all the functional advantages of a van.”

The Pacifica is the reinvention of the minivan of lore. Creating a hybrid version gives Chrysler hopes for rekindling the flame of love. After all, in the early nineties, Chrysler alone was selling more than 500,000 per year. Minivan sales peaked at 1.37 million in 2000.

Blame the crossovers for its’ demise. The small SUVs featured as much space, handled more like cars and had better fuel mileage. The answer minivan hopefuls wish for is The Pacifica. It is sleeker, more swept back, less boxy. It sits lower to the ground and has larger wheels. It feels more substantial from the driver’s seat. It’s bright chrome, window outlines and LED-accented headlights and taillights make it look more luxurious. Oh, and it’s in the top three in safety ratings.

The hybrid goes up to thirty miles on electric power alone before the gas engine steps in. Gas powered models have a 3.6 liter V-5 with 287 horsepower. That means it’s got some giddy-up. It’s also got the best gas mileage of them all. Those sliding doors are a thing of the past. Now they’re aluminum and hands free, responding to the wave of your foot. Automatic parallel and perpendicular parking is a bonus and rear seat entertainment features two ten-inch screens for games, movies or Internet surfing.

Perhaps this holiday season you’re looking for a new way to haul family, and all those gifts, around? Give Big Al a call. Heggs Chrysler Doge Ram has some sitting on the lot, waiting like Christmas puppies. Take a look at online inventory here. You can chat about options by calling 480-565-5627. Tell them The Duchess sent you and watch what happens to the price.

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