Old standards with new look at auto show

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)


DETROIT (WOOD) — Going to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is a lot like buying a lottery ticket.

You know your chances of winning are slim, but at least you get a chance to daydream of what it would feel like to sit in a vehicle with a souped-up set of wheels. Even standing still, real car lovers can hear the roar of the exhaust, feel the power of hitting the gas and imagine heads turning when cruising down the street.

Then reality hits: you need something to haul the kids and the groceries.

The good news is that this year, NAIAS has something for you.

>>Photos: North American International Auto Show

One offering is the latest generation of Chrysler minivan.

Chrysler’s much anticipated replacement for the Town and Country minivan is bound to get a lot of attention.

“We have now a push button entry so the kids won’t even have to pull the door handle anymore. And if that doesn’t work, we have with the wave of your foot underneath, if your hands are full, you can open the door that way,” said Matt McAlear, who is part of the minivan team at Chrysler.

McAlear told 24 Hour News 8 the Pacifica is a new vehicle from the ground up.

“This vehicle is longer, it’s wider, it’s lower to the ground,” he said. “It has best in class power, 287 horse power Pentastar V6. It doesn’t handle like anything you’ve driven in the past in the minivan segment.”

Chrysler officials hope the new take on an old favorite, which resembles a crossover, helps revive the slowing minivan market.

“It is a segment that’s undergoing its own evolution,” said IHS auto analyst Mike Wall. “Heavy competition from crossovers. But boy, Chrysler does a phenomenal job designing minivans. It’s been kind of a secret sauce that Fiat Chrysler really owned to a great extent. Certainly, Toyota and Honda are in there with very strong, competitive offerings. But that’s about it.”

Just a few steps from the Pacifica display, another redesigned family hauler is on display; GMC is unveiled the new Acadia before NAIAS opened to the public.

The Acadia still boasts seating for up to 7, but it’s lighter than the previous generation Acadia.

The new vehicle will move production form Delta Township near Lansing to Spring Hills, Tenn.

And for fans of the current Dodge Caravan, it’s not going away because of the Pacifica. FCA Chrysler will continue to produce it.

The North American International Auto Show Show at the Cobo Center in Detroit opens to the public Saturday.

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