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2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Ownership: Thoughts From a Minivan Novice

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author photo by Lindsay Martell July 2018

I never thought I'd drive a minivan. Like, ever. I paid cash for my first car -- a well-worn, '97 Volkswagen Jetta. Years later, I moved on to a slightly less-worn (but still loved) Honda Accord. After the birth of my daughter in late 2012, I bought my first new car -- a sleek, silver RAV4, which I love, love, LOVE. So when Autotrader asked me to spend some time in a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, I was a little nervous, but wholly intrigued. Life is a grand adventure or it is nothing, right?

Minivans pepper the suburbs as much as heavy-duty trucks and compact hybrids, so I immediately felt like I fit in in the Pacifica. Here are the other reasons why:

Aesthetically Pleasing

The Pacifica Hybrid is pretty and surprisingly sporty -- both its interior and exterior. Seven people can fit, and I love the beautiful, comfy Nappa Leather-trimmed bucket seats, power 4-way driver lumbar adjust and multiple ways to adjust the driver seat and front passenger seat. The Tri-Pane Panoramic Sunroof is lovely, and it's always a huge plus to have tons and TONS of storage space (see below).

Seriously Spacious

I understood the true bliss of a minivan when I was juggling pool toys, wet towels, a cooler and my squirmy 5-year old the other day. It was a breeze getting in and out of the Pacifica, thanks to the hands-free power sliding doors that open with a simple kick below the sensors. My kid had plenty of room to ditch her wet things, while I walked around to the back of the car, kicked my foot below the power liftgate, and voila! Keyless and handless access. LOVE. In fairness, other vehicles have this feature as well.

My daughter, tickled with the novelty of such a roomy ride, insists on sitting in the "way-way-way back". It definitely seems like a loooong way to the driver's seat, and I sure felt like a big-time rookie in a big girl car.

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid's Stow 'n Go® Seating and Storage System lets you fold the third-row seats into the floor to make plenty of space for all your fun. I can't wait to stuff it full and take a road trip this fall. The really interesting thing here is that this is the plug-in hybrid version of the Pacifica, yet the battery doesn't eat up the useful storage space.

Tricked-Out Tech

I love the latest tech as much as any busy mom, but I'm sorta no-frills when it comes to gadgets. I want a decent navigation system, a solid back-up camera and, if possible, access to Apple Music. If the Pacifica could laugh, it would snicker at my luddite ways. It's stocked with top-notch tech, including the Uconnect 4C NAV with an 8.4-inch touchscreen display that worked breezily with Apple CarPlay when I plugged in my iPhone. It was a cinch to access my music, maps, texts (with the help of Siri, of course) and phone calls. It does have some issues connecting with Spotify, so I need to spend a little more time troubleshooting a few snags.

Other standout tech include the Uconnect Theater family entertainment system, which has dual 10.1-in HD touchscreens with a Blu-ray player, dual HDMI inputs, wireless headphones, wireless streaming, Bluetooth remotes and a handful of games and apps. My daughter is looking forward to firing up a flick on the aforementioned road trip in a couple of months.

Awesomely Fuel Efficient

This hybrid Pacifica has a money-saving, 33-mile pure electric range, an efficiency rating of 84 MPGe and a 566-mile total driving range. This is a game-changer for me. We recently moved from the Northeast to the Southeast, and I'm about as turned around as you can be in a new city. In our RAV, it wasn't uncommon to blow through a tank a week. Not so in the Pacifica. I've been driving it exclusively for the past two weeks, and I'm still about a quarter tank away from needing a fill-up. And with its ability to travel up to 33 miles on a single electric charge, I'm looking forward to plugging it in for my inaugural electric car charge experience. If you do lots of short trips, you could do it all on electricity most days.

The Safe Stuff

Some of the best tech is safety related. I'm a bit spatially challenged, so I love the 360-degree surround view camera system, the blind spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection. I'm living in an area with an insane amount of highway construction, so I can use all the help I can get.

Two weeks into my minivan experience, and I'm digging the Pacifica Hybrid. I have a lot to learn, but I'm soaking up its seamlessness, well, seamlessly.

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid starts at $39,995, and it qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Ownership: Thoughts From a Minivan Novice - Autotrader