2020 Chrysler Pacifica vs. 2019 Ford Flex

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Chrysler Pacifica are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Ford Flex doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

The Pacifica (except Hybrid Touring) offers optional Forward Collision Warning Plus, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Flex offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Pacifica has standard Rear Park Assist with Stop that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Flex doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Chrysler Pacifica has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Flex doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Pacifica (except Hybrid Touring)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Flex doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Pacifica (except Hybrid Touring) offers an optional Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Flex only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Pacifica and the Flex have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Chrysler Pacifica is safer than the Flex:

Pacifica

Flex

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

2 cm

11 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

20 cm

23 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.2/.8 kN

2.8/2.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pacifica the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Flex was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Pacifica has a standard 730-amp battery. The Flex’s 650-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

The Pacifica’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 254) than the Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Pacifica Hybrid is faster than the Ford Flex (base engine):

Pacifica

Flex

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

8.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.8 sec

5.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Flex FWD (87 city/76 hwy MPGe vs. 16 city/23 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica Hybrid running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Flex FWD (29 city/30 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica gets better fuel mileage than the Flex:

MPG

Pacifica

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

Flex

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/23 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 turbo V6

15 city/21 hwy

The Pacifica Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 32 miles. The Flex must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the Pacifica Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Flex doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Pacifica’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Flex doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chrysler Pacifica uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Flex Limited requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Chrysler Pacifica higher (7 out of 10) than the Ford Flex (3). This means the Pacifica produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Flex every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chrysler Pacifica, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Flex.

The Pacifica Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Flex doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Pacifica’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Flex:

Pacifica

Flex

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.8 inches

The Pacifica stops much shorter than the Flex:

Pacifica

Flex

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

136 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

157 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Pacifica’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the Flex (121.6 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Pacifica is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Flex.

For better maneuverability, the Pacifica’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Flex’s (39.7 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Pacifica has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Flex uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The front grille of the Pacifica uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Flex doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Pacifica uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Flex doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

The Pacifica offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Flex can only carry 7.

The Pacifica has 9.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Flex (165.1 vs. 155.8).

The Pacifica has 3.5 inches more front hip room, 5.4 inches more front shoulder room, 9.8 inches more rear hip room, 4.9 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.2 inches more third row legroom, 8.4 inches more third row hip room and 10.4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Flex.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pacifica’s middle and third row seats recline. The Flex’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

The Pacifica’s cargo area provides more volume than the Flex.

Pacifica

Flex

Behind Third Seat

32.3 cubic feet

20 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

87.5 cubic feet

43.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

140.5 cubic feet

83.2 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Pacifica easier. The Pacifica’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 24.3 inches, while the Flex’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

The Pacifica’s cargo area is larger than the Flex’s in every dimension:

Pacifica

Flex

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

23.2”/57.5”/92.5”

16.5”/47”/83.3”

Max Width

49.3”

46”

Min Width

48.8”

40.5”

Height

47.6”

40”

The Pacifica has standard Stow ‘n Go™ second and third row seats (except second row on Hybrid), which fold flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Flex only has a third row seat which folds into the floor. The Flex’s second row seat doesn’t fold into the floor and eats up cargo room.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Pacifica’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Flex doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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The Pacifica’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Flex’s (3600 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

The Pacifica’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Flex does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Pacifica’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Flex’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Pacifica Touring-L Plus/Limited’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Flex’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Pacifica’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Flex’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Pacifica Hybrid has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Flex doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Pacifica’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Flex’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Pacifica (except Hybrid Touring) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Flex doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the Pacifica Limited is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Flex’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Pacifica Limited has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Flex has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Pacifica has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Flex SEL/Limited.

The Pacifica (except Hybrid Touring)’s optional ParkSense Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, steering and operating the brakes. The Flex Limited’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pacifica is less expensive to operate than the Flex because it costs $300 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Pacifica than the Flex, including $188 less for a water pump, $12 less for a muffler, $16 less for fuel injection, $140 less for a timing belt/chain and $200 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Pacifica second among minivans in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Flex isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Pacifica was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 3 years. The Flex has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Chrysler Pacifica outsold the Ford Flex by almost six to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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