Hybrids aren't new, but marrying ultra-efficient, occasionally all-electric propulsion with a minivan body is. The 2018 Chrysler Pacific Hybrid is the first of this breed. With prices starting at $41,090 (including $1,095 Destination Charge and not including a $7,500 federal income-tax credit nor state credit where applicable), this fuel-sipping family hauler's MSRP is in line with its gasoline-only foes, making it an excellent buy for families with a green streak.
A note about those federal income-tax credits: customers that finance their Pacifica Hybrid will need to claim the $7,500 credit when it comes time to file their taxes. In a lease, though, the lessor will usually take the tax credit (or part of it) off the top of the total amount, reducing the leasee's payments.
What's New for 2018
Chrysler has realigned the trim names of standard and hybrid models – including creating the cheapest of the latter, the Hybrid Touring Plus – but while doing so it also rejiggered the standard and optional feature lists to the point that every trim level is practically new this year equipment-wise. Also new, as standard, is an upgraded version of Chrysler’s Uconnect 4 system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, the SafetyTec Group of electronic safety features, two new paint colors – bringing the total to nine – and other appearance-enhancing trim.
Choosing Your Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
The Chrysler Pacifica has six gasoline-fueled trims (listed separately), three of which share trim names with the Pacifica Hybrid. Those trims, however, share neither equipment levels nor MSRPs as each Hybrid costs significantly more than its namesake. A hybrid powertrain adds $7,400 to the Touring Plus, $6,500 to the Touring L, and $1,300 to the Limited compared to the gas-only powertrains. That’s why before one can pick the trim of their Pacifica Hybrid, it’s important to know what that they are gaining and losing in adding “Hybrid” to their Pacifica’s name.
According to fueleconomy.gov, the Hybrid gets a combined rating of 32 mpg to the gasoline-only Pacifica’s 22 mpg, resulting in a savings of $2,250 in five years over the average new vehicle for the former while the latter costs $1,500. More specifically, the Hybrid’s annual fuel cost – including gasoline and electricity – is $900, which is a full $750 less than non-Hybrids. And the cost to drive 25 miles – thanks to an electric-only range of 33 miles – is $1.30 on a single charge and $1.91 on gasoline alone. The non-Hybrids cost more than double that, at $2.78. And despite its fuel tank being smaller by 2.5 gallons, the Hybrid has a range of 570 miles compared to just 418 for its sibling. And what makes its efficiency all the more remarkable is the fact that the Hybrid weighs an additional 613 pounds.
Both Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid offer 3.6-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 engines, but the standard model features automatic stop/start and puts 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Hybrid version is an Atkinson-cycle V6 with two electric motors – one to drive the wheels in electric-only mode and one to charge the battery and help the gasoline engine under high load. All that gear produces a combined 260 hp, and – as with most hybrids – it channels its power through an electric continuously variable transmission.
Also like most hybrids – plug-in or otherwise – the Pacifica puts its batteries beneath the floor, an arrangement that hurts it more than usual. Firstly, the hybrid is down a seat (to seven), and it cannot have FCA’s famed Stow ‘n Go feature for the second row, as the underfloor is filled with batteries. But all is not lost, as the Hybrid features dual bucket seats in the second row. Passengers can reposition one seat apart from its neighbor, leaving an aisle in the center. A seat can also be pushed towards the center, abutting its neighbor and expanding the aisle next to the sliding door to aid third row entry and exit.
Also MIA on Hybrids is the ability to tow, a spare tire, and one of its more important selling points – especially for parents of small children – its Stow ‘n Vac integrated vacuum. Instead, buyers get two ways to charge the onboard battery – regenerative charging via its four-wheel disc brakes and a plug-in charging port for its 6.6-kilowatt-hour onboard battery charger with a standard 110-volt cord and available 240-volt capability – and a “pedestrian warning speaker,” the function of which is self-explanatory as the Pacifica Hybrid can run silently on the battery alone for up to 33 miles.
The Pacifica Hybrid line comprises three trim levels:
The Pacifica Hybrid trio has MSRPs that span just $5,000, with each price increase carrying enough standard equipment to more than justify the extra cash. And considering the fact that you can buy a top-shelf Limited for $38,590 thanks to its federal tax credit, it is more than a match for everything in class (and most anything that can seat seven, period), especially when you consider its improved fuel economy and electric-only range. While the Hybrid Touring L is a nice upgrade on the base Touring Plus, the Limited trim is the one to get based on its standard – and exclusive – infotainment and electronic safety systems alone.