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Chrysler Pacifica front 3/4 view

What’s Hot and What’s Not in the 2020 Chrysler Lineup

What to Buy and What to Stay Away From When it Comes to Chrysler in 2020

Published November 22, 2018

Chrysler’s sales still haven’t hit their lowest point in recent decades although they’re certainly on the path to doing so. One of two FCA namesake brands has managed to market only 188,545 vehicles in the U.S. during 2017 which is perilously close to their 2009 recession minimum of 177,015 units. What’s more, the first three quarters of 2018 aren’t exactly looking promising with total sales during the period amounting to 127,156 vehicles. This represents a drop of 11.5 percent compared to the same period in 2017 when the brand marketed 143,809 cars. With no substantial growth in 2020 Chrysler model numbers, the once mighty division’s woes are expected to continue for a while yet.

At the moment, the Chrysler book has only got two pages, metaphorically speaking. While the Pacifica minivan’s sales continue to grow, the 300 sedan is standing in place. With the latter of the two scheduled to get the ax in 2020, it’s evident that the FCA luxury division has already put a plan in motion – a plan that would, hopefully, see the Chrysler brand get back on track and recapture its former glory.

Instead of the iconic 300 nameplate, the Chrysler division will offer something more contemporary. Apparently, that’ll be nothing other than another people hauler based on the Portal concept unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This would convert the brand into a dedicated people hauling division with only minivans in its portfolio. That’s one way of giving newfound purpose to the faltering luxury badge. The introduction of at least a couple of luxury crossovers would be another, but the FCA brass probably aren’t prepared for the sales cannibalization issues that would evidently spring out from that particular approach.

It’s still too early to speculate on Chrysler’s future as a division within the FCA range, but at least we can focus on MY 2020 and its impact on the once-mighty brand.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 Chrysler Lineup

02. 2020 Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica stands out as one of the best minivans currently available on the market. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how the former Chrysler Corporation is actually responsible for their existence. The high-end minivan is currently available in both conventional internal-combustion-powered and plug-in hybrid forms. Both have their their own particular advantages, but there are no differences when it comes to utility. Regardless of choice, you’ll get up to 141 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats behind the front row folded. Although not class-leading figures, one has to take the Pacifica’s upscale demeanor into account. Also, Chrysler’s only remaining minivan after the Dodge Grand Caravan’s discontinuation comes with revolutionary Stow N’ Go seats (although not in hybrid form) and a built-in vacuum cleaner. Conventional models start from around $27,000, but the hybrid Pacifica warrants at least $40,000 to begin with. That makes it a tough sell in this competitive family segment despite boasting numerous advantages over its rivals.

The powertrain lineup is expected to remain in place for MY 2020. The conventional Chrysler Pacifica minivans draw inspiration from a 3.6L V6 engine that’s good enough for 287 horsepower by itself. It’s paired with a 9-speed automatic gearbox and comes exclusively in front-wheel drive guise. The Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid utilizes the same engine, albeit with a helping hand from a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This setup clocks out at slightly lower 260 ponies but provides 33 miles of electric-only range and much better fuel efficiency of 32 mpg combined compared to non-hybrid’s 22 mpg combined. Furthermore, the EPA rates it at 84 MPGe when the electric bit of its powertrain gets taken into account. The Chrysler Pacifica hybrid gets a CVT transmission and all-wheel drive is still nowhere to be found. FCA won’t be updating the Pacifica during MY 2020 – at least not to any meaningful extent – because why dabble with a superior product?

Pacifica minivan will remain the best of 2020 Chrysler models

01. 2020 Portal

Let’s get one thing straight before we proceed – there’s very little info about the future production model based on the Portal concept first previewed at the 2017 CES. With that out of the way, the Portal-based production vehicle will most likely be another minivan – and an all-electric one at that – as mentioned in the intro section already. It’ll apparently share the Pacifica’s underpinnings and likely occupy the outgoing Grand Caravan’s empty slot in FCA’s Windsor, Ontario assembly plant. In other words, the new FCA minivan will also be built alongside the Pacifica. The EV minivan will arrive sometime during 2020 at the earliest, but it’s still unclear whether that’ll be in time for MY 2020 or MY 2021. It’s also unclear in which agreement the Portal-based production model and Pacifica will coexist once the time comes. We do know that it represents an awkward replacement for the Chrysler 300 sedan which we apparently won’t be seeing after 2020.

The Chrysler Portal concept car was offered with a hefty 100 kWh battery pack straight from the gates. The lithium-ion unit is apparently sufficient for up to 250 miles of range which might look good on paper at this moment, but could already be somewhat inadequate by the time 2020 is upon us. The concept car’s battery stack was also compatible with 350 kW DC fast charging which is capable of providing up to 150 miles of range in a meager 20 minutes. Let’s hope the production model will at least retain the Portal concept’s specifications if not improve on them by some extent. Sadly, that’s pretty much everything there is to the forthcoming all-electric Chrysler minivan apart from the one last assumption. It’ll most likely cost more than the Pacifica hybrid given the highly-expensive EV technology behind it.

Chrysler Portal concept car from the 2017 CES

What’s Not in the New 2020 Chrysler Lineup

01. 2020 Chrysler 300

The modern iteration of the Chrysler 300 first appeared in 2005, while current-generation models stem from 2011. The reason they haven’t been redesigned for such a long time is they have no real future within the Chrysler lineup. The Chrysler 300 might very well sing its swan song during MY 2020. In any case, FCA won’t lift its finger to do anything about the luxury full-size sedan’s outdated underpinnings which it shares with the similarly venerable Dodge Charger. Plagued by a not-overly-exciting ride and handling, an outdated cabin and not-particularly-good safety scores, the Chrysler 300 showcases all the shortcomings of a previous decade’s car. Needless to say, that’s exactly how we expect to find it in 2020 when the 300 is scheduled to bow down. A special edition might look nice on paper and, together with a possible sub-$28,000 price tag for entry-level models, but by then the Chrysler 300 will be more than 10 years old.

Nothing is expected to change in the powertrain department. Most 300 sedans will retain their 292-horsepower 3.6L V6 engines which make 300 ponies in the S label thanks to a cold-air intake and different exhaust. They come in both rear and all-wheel-drive configurations. An optional 5.7L V8 develops 363 horses and 394 pound-feet of twist, but unlike the V6, it can only be paired with rear-wheel drive. Both engines are offered with a mandatory 8-speed automatic transmission which might be replaced by a more contemporary nine-speed unit just prior to the 300’s discontinuation. A proper send-off would be completed by a special edition model, but nothing official on that particular matter has yet been announced by FCA. Whatever happens in 2020, the Chrysler 300 as we know it will have to go. The Dodge Charger and Challenger will receive a new platform by then, but the 300 itself will likely go into its well-deserved retirement instead.

Chrysler 300 front 3/4 view

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Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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