Chyrsler Pacifica

Style

While minivans will never be considered sexy, reviewers say that the Chrysler Pacifica is the most elegant midsize van available. It uses sleek lines—taking some design cues from the latest wave of crossovers. The Pacifica uses lightweight materials to reduce weight by about 250 pounds compared to its predecessors. The plug-in variant is identical to the gas and hybrid versions, except for the charging port positioned in front of the driver’s door.

There’s a choice of eight colors, including Maximum Steel, Ocean Blue, and Velvet Red. You can add 17-inch polished aluminum wheels for $795.

Or spend the same amount for the suite of style upgrades in the all-black S Appearance package. This package tricks out the Pacifica with 18-inch black wheels, black noise badging, black applique for the rear fascia, and body-color door handles and exterior mirrors.

Performance

The Pacifica Hybrid combines a 3.6-liter V6 with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) plus two electric motors to generate 260-horsepower. That’s plenty of oomph to move the sizable Pacifica away from stoplights with a burst of speed. Onramps are handled with ease. The high torque from electric propulsion is readily available—overcoming any penalty from carrying its 500-pound battery pack.

By utilizing a one-way clutch system, there is greater flexibility to use the motors in various ways. Notably, they can work together to deliver power and torque—with the robust V6 joining at any point in the drive cycle.

The Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid is whisper-quiet in all-electric mode. The V6 gas engine comes into use with minimal noise, but it can be loud when reaching higher speeds. While there’s juice in the battery, the Pacifica can stay in all-electric mode even at highway cruising speeds.

Reviewers praise the Pacifica for its handling and driving dynamics. The batteries help provide a low center of gravity to reduce body roll. The suspension is firm, providing confidence through corners. The minivan also earns high marks for responsive brakes that avoid the mushy brake-feel from many hybrids. The steering is calibrated for ease-of-use, rather than providing much feedback from the road.

When maneuvering the large vehicle into parking spots, the Pacifica’s ParkSense system uses sensors and beeps to guide you. That’s very helpful for such a large vehicle. However, some drivers believe that the parking system can be overly sensitive, giving false warnings on inclined driveways.

Efficiency/Range

The hybrid Pacifica is by the most fuel-efficient minivan available today. The EPA rates the Pacifica plug-in hybrid at 82 MPGe while using its 16 kilowatt-hour battery pack to provide 32 miles of all-electric range. You can expect to achieve that level, or close to it, in real-world driving.

Total combined efficiency for typical American commuters and soccer moms is in the low 40-mpg range—a feat for the minivan segment.

The combined electric-plus-gas range is a road-trip worthy 520 miles. Its overall efficiency is a vast improvement over modern gas-only minivans, whose combined EPA ratings peak at 22 miles per gallon.

Even after the battery is depleted, the Pacifica plug-in hybrid provides 30 miles per gallon—an eight mpg bump from the pure gas version.

Charging

The Pacifica-with-plug fully charges in about two hours when a 240-volt supply of juice is supplied to the onboard 6.6-kW charger. Plug into a standard 120-volt outlet and expect a charge from empty to full to take 12 hours.

Sorry, no Quick Charging, which isn’t necessary considering the relatively small battery pack that can be filled in two hours via a Level 2 charger.

The charging port is conveniently located above the front, driver-side wheel-well.

Chyrsler Pacifica

Passenger/Cargo Room

The Pacifica has the most abundant total interior storage space in the minivan market, although this version of the minivan seats seven (not eight). Due to the placement of the battery, the plug-in hybrid doesn’t have the popular Stow-n- Go seats that fold into the floor. Otherwise, the interior space is left intact from the gas-powered version.

The cabin has impressive fit and finish. Cloth upholstery and a power-adjustable driver’s seat are standard. You can opt for leather seats, heated or ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and hands-free power sliding doors.

There are 32.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the last row. Or fold down the third-row bench seats to open up 87.5 cubic feet of space, nearly 10 more cubic feet than some rivals in the class. Without the Stow-n-Go, the middle seats have to be removed manually, which then creates a maximum cargo load of 140.5 cubes.

A single seating configuration features two captain’s chairs in the second row and space for three in the back. The cabin has lots of bins, pockets, and hooks.

The front-row bucket seats are on the stiff side, but they’re comfortable and spacious. You’ll find ample legroom in the second row, although the third row is best suited for children.

The Pacifica Hybrid has four complete sets of LATCH connections. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the system a Marginal rating based on difficulty in finding the tether anchors. It’s also tricky attaching the car-seat straps.

The Pacifica is loaded with cool features, including a modern infotainment system and a built-in vacuum cleaner. A seven-inch color information display and an 8.4-inch touchscreen allow the driver to access navigation. Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity are standard.

The quiet cabin makes for minimal shouting between rows. Or crank up the sound system with the Harman Kardon system available in the Limited trim. The overhead DVD system costs $995.

Safety

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid earned NHTSA’s top five-star ratings in every category—except Overall Rollover, for which it earned four stars. It performed similarly well in IIHS evaluations, getting dinged only for Structure and Safety Cage (and difficulty with installing child seats as mentioned above).

The Pacifica Hybrid comes standard with an arsenal of advanced driver assistance features, including a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The Limited trim adds automatic high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a surround-view parking camera, front parking sensors, automatic parking assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

The $995 Advanced Safety Packs brings parking assistance.

Previous model-years in 2017 and 2018 experienced recalls for the gas engine not starting properly after operation in electric mode.

Chyrsler Pacifica

Price

The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica starts at $41,490.The top-of-the-line Limited edition tops out at $48,035 before adding any premium packages and goodies. The midrange Touring L brings leather seats, heated front seats, remote start, and a power liftgate—striking a good balance of value and features.

While the plug-in version can cost $10,000 more than the gas-powered Pacifica, that’s before calculating the $7,500 tax credit and other local incentives. You’ll also need to consider the fuel savings of the 82 MPGe plug-in model compared to pricey gas-pump fillups when driving the 22-mpg version.

Optional features include navigation, a panoramic sunroof, and a 13-speaker Alpine or a 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. There are two rear-seat entertainment options: a single back-row DVD screen or a whole theater package that comes with two 10-inch seatback touch screens, a 115-volt power outlet, three additional USB ports, a Blu-ray and DVD Player, HDMI inputs, and wireless headphones.

The Pacifica Hybrid is sold in dealerships in all 50 states.

Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $41500
Est. tax credit: $7500
Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
Body type: Wagon/Van
Seats: 7
EPA Range: 32 miles electric + gasoline
Battery size: 16 kWh
Charging rate: 6.6 kW

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