2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is All the Efficiency and Comfort It’s Cracked Up To Be

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (Aaron)

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is nothing short of ground breaking. It’s got all of the things expected of a top-shelf, modern minivan with oodles of interior comfort, plenty of seating space, easy-access through sliding doors, and more. It’s also got a plug-in hybrid powertrain that achieves 84 mpg. It’s hard to ignore that.

The manufacturer says

Cut back on your gas station detours. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gets 84 MPGe25 when using both electricity and gas.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Chrysler
  • Year, Model: 2017 Pacifica Hybrid
  • Class, Type: Plug-in Hybrid Minivan
  • Propulsion system: PHEV gasoline-electric
  • Base Price: $41,995
  • Availability: Now

Overview

Chrysler and its sister company Dodge began the minivan movement decades ago with the best-selling vans in the segment, the Town & Country and Caravan/Grand Caravan. With those models now discontinued, Chrysler looked to replace them with the new Pacifica, which debuted last year. The Hybrid model, a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid, debuted shortly after.

Minivans are a singularly well-suited segment for large families and those with a lot of people and/or stuff to haul. They eschew the trend towards thirstier sport utilities and add a lot of comfort and convenience to the mix. With the Pacifica Hybrid, all of that is there plus the extra awesomeness of being able to ignore the pump more often.

Combined range for the PHEV powertrain is 530 miles with a full charge and a full tank. Charging takes about two hours with a 240V level 2 charger and about 13-14 with a 110V plug. The V6 engine is very efficient, being an Atkinson cycle variant of the standard V6 found in many Chrysler vehicles including the standard Pacifica minivan. The engine is capable of 32 mpg on its own, so it’s no slouch on fuel efficiency even without the hybrid bits.

The good news is that driving the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is just like driving the standard Pacifica, which itself is an excellent machine. Handling is good, confidence is high, and the van is quiet on the road. The Hybrid model is a bit heavier than the gasoline-only version, but most of that weight is slung down the middle of the van, between axles, and some suspension tuning means it doesn’t affect the drive quality at all.

The interior of the Pacifica is nicely done with seating for 7 or 8, depending on configuration. All seating can fold down to allow an immense amount of cargo to be put into the van when required. Full 4x8 foot sheets of plywood or sheetrock, for example, can lay flat on the floor with all doors closed for transport. In the Pacifica Hybrid model, the middle row of seating doesn’t fold into the floor as with the gasoline model, but can be removed with a lever pull and some muscle. The floor space used to fold down the middle row in the standard minivan is taken up by batteries in the Pacifica Hybrid.

That is basically the only immediate difference between the Pacifica and the Pacifica Hybrid, other than the extra fuel port for plugging in. At 84 MPGe, that’s not much to lose.

We noted that while driving the 2017 Pacifica Hybrid, we were impressed by its feel on the road and by the ease with which it handles transitions from highway to around town, swapping between gas engine and motor without any pomp or change in driving feel. The regenerative braking works well too.

What we like

Very good build and design with excellent ergonomics.

High fuel efficiency both on paper and in the real world.

What we don't

When running all-electric, the van is a bit quiet coming out of the driveway, which may be a safety issue in some neighborhoods.

Driver’s information display is sometimes a bit too busy.

Conclusions

We really enjoyed the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and can see where it would have a lot of appeal to consumers in many markets. As a family vehicle, it’s top notch with excellent ergonomics and a high degree of usefulness. It’s the most efficient large vehicle we’ve tried in a while and certainly one of the more affordable PHEVs we’ve tried recently. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has a lot to offer a family in need of efficient transportation.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of about 300 miles were put on the vehicle with varied passenger loads in various spring-summer weather conditions.

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