Chrysler Pacifica vs. Ram 1500: Is a Minivan the True Champion Hauler?

In a recent article, Cars.com notes that minivans have an image problem. This has been true for years, likely since the segment's inception. If you drive a minivan, you must be a "mom." Even recent ads for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica that try to spice it up by featuring comedian Jim Gaffigan focus on his "dad brand."

But what about an average Joe with or without kids?

Often the first utility vehicle we go to is a pickup truck. While it's undeniable that a heavy-duty pickup can tow circles around a minivan, if you're looking for a light-duty truck for casual trips to the garden center or hardware store, or as a family vehicle, there are a few reasons the minivan might be the better utility.

1. More cargo space, without compromising passenger seating.

The Pacifica is designed to fit 4x8-foot sheets of plywood in the cargo area, and offers a total volume of 140.5 cubic feet when rear seats are folded. By comparison, the Ram 1500 only offers an 8-foot bed length if you go with the Regular Cab, which can only squeeze a maximum of three passengers. Fine if you're antisocial and don't like giving people rides, but otherwise the Pacifica is the more versatile hauler.

2. More cargo security.

If you're hauling anything valuable, you might not want it to be rained all over, or scattered across the highway, or straight up stolen. Because the minivan's cargo space is on the interior of the vehicle, it's protected from the elements, you don't have to worry about whether your tie-down straps are secure enough, and an opportunistic thief will have to put in more effort than peeking into your truck bed and taking whatever they want.

3. Easy cleanup.

The advantage of a truck bed is hauling things you don't want inside the cabin space. Fortunately, the Chrysler Pacifica has a built-in vacuum cleaner—a feature you won't find in a pickup. You still might prefer a truck bed if you're hauling something like loose topsoil, but the Pacifica makes it easy to remove the evidence of dirtier cargo.

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