As the 2017 model year emerged, Chrysler unveiled a fresh take on minivans, borrowing a name from the company’s recent past. Produced from 2004-2008, the original Pacifica was a large crossover model that never quite caught on with buyers. Three decades earlier, in contrast, Chrysler had launched the first minivans, setting off a long-lasting trend.
Arrival of this new Pacifica was accompanied by abandonment of the Town & Country – last of the original-type Chrysler minivans. In addition to a conventional gasoline engine, the Pacifica now comes with a plug-in hybrid powerplant.
What's New for 2017
The Pacifica Hybrid is a new addition to the existing Pacifica line.
Choosing Your Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
A modified version of Chrysler’s 3.6-liter gasoline V6 engine works in accord with two electric motors and a 16-kWh battery pack, which sits in the floor of the second row. Total system output is estimated at 260 horsepower. An electrically variable transmission (EVT) sends power to the front wheels. Unlike in most hybrid systems, both electric motors are capable of propelling the vehicle at the time, depending on conditions.
The Pacifica Hybrid has a plug-in feature that allows the battery to charge on an outlet when the vehicle is parked. With a fully charged battery, you can travel up to 30 miles using electricity alone, before the gasoline engine kicks in. Total driving range is about 530 miles, and the EPA gives the Pacifica Hybrid an equivalent fuel-economy rating of 80 MPGe in city driving. The battery pack can be recharged in as little as two hours using a 240-volt charging station.
A smartphone app provides relevant vehicle information, such as charge status and the location of nearby charging stations. A KeySense programmable key fob can place limits on vehicle speed and audio volume when certain people will be driving. With the rear seats folded, the Pacifica is capable of holding up to 64 4x8-foot sheets of quarter-inch plywood.
Two trim levels are offered:
Because the Premium trim level is so well-equipped, stepping up to Platinum isn’t so essential. Still, the extra safety technology alone might be worth the additional $3,000. Despite Chrysler’s claim that the Pacifica is a new breed of minivan, basic driving qualities and passenger comforts are quite similar to those of the familiar, traditional minivans that have been disappearing. The Pacifica Hybrid currently qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, and may also qualify for incentives from state and local agencies.
Though small vans existed before, Chrysler essentially invented the minivan market in 1984 with its Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Now, 33 years later, Chrysler is reinventing the minivan with its 2017 Pacifica Hybrid – a plug-in model with huge fuel-economy ratings and tons of features. But can this pricey proposition succeed in a market overshadowed by crossovers?
Pricing and Equipment
The base Pacifica Hybrid starts from a relatively pricey $43,090 (destination fees included), but since it sits near the top of the Pacifica range, the impressive list of features make it worth the investment. Standard features include:
3.6-liter V-6 engine and dual electric motors that combine to produce 260 horsepower.
Power sliding doors and liftgate
Keyless entry and ignition
Tri-zone climate control
Six-speaker audio system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen
Automated parallel and perpendicular parking
If this slew of features is not quite enough, the available $46,090 Platinum model turns this Chrysler minivan into a luxury cruiser with its upgraded leather, Blu-Ray player, household electric plugs, 18-inch wheels, and more.
Like many plug-in hybrid vehicles, the Pacific Hybrid is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid finally brings the latest in powertrain technology to the minivan segment with its plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Up to 33 miles of electric range, per the EPA.
EPA-estimated 84 miles per gallon equivalent is easily the best in its class.
A fine performer in all-electric mode and can hit up to 70 mph without using any gasoline.
The gasoline engine kicks on as needed for extra power.
Even in hybrid mode, the Pacifica still gets a respectable 32 mpg combined.
It can take up to 14 hours to charge on a standard 120-volt household outlet – the 240-volt charger drops this to just two hours.
Transmission drones a bit under heavy acceleration.
Tons of standard features and even more options.
Plenty of room for seven passengers and their cargo.
Seats are very comfortable.
The hybrid model loses the fold-in-floor second row of seats.
No eight-passenger option.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The IIHS rates the 2017 Pacifica Hybrid as a Top Safety Pick Plus – the institute’s highest honor. Even in its base trim, the Pacifica Hybrid has loads of safety features, like rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automated parking. To enjoy the full array of safety goodies that earned it this rating, including automatic emergency braking, buyers should go for the Platinum trim.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Buyers have to shell out serious cash to get the sort of technology that makes this the most fuel-efficient minivan. The $43,090 base price easily puts it out of reach for many minivan shoppers. It would be nice to see a lower-cost model in the future with fewer options for buyers who are simply looking to save on fuel costs.
The Bottom Line
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has revolutionized the minivan market. Its stunning fuel economy ratings, sharp looks, and premium features all add up to one of the best minivans available today. Unfortunately, its pricing will limit its popularity.
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