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.
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Power sliding doors and liftgate
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Leather upholstery
  • 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.

Performance Pros

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

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.

Performance Cons

  • 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.

Interior Pros

  • Tons of standard features and even more options.
  • Plenty of room for seven passengers and their cargo.
  • Seats are very comfortable.

Interior Cons

  • 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.