New Car Review

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: First Drive Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$21,925
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$20,467
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$23,777
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$24,777
RELATED READING
See all Chrysler Pacifica articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Aaron Gold November 2016

Chrysler says the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the first electrified minivan sold in the U.S. We say it's a brilliant way to transport a family of seven while returning the kind of gas mileage that'll make Prius owners feel green -- with envy, that is.

The Minivan, Electrified

We covered the highlights of Chrysler's all-new Pacifica minivan in our First Drive Review: It has sleek lines, a comfortable ride, smart technology and good value for money. The Chrysler Pacifica is a well-thought-out vehicle, and the Hybrid shows that same attention to detail.

Technically, the Pacifica is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Plug in, charge up, and the Pacifica goes about 30 miles almost entirely on battery power (we say "almost" because if you really goose the go-pedal, the gas engine cuts in to lend a helping hand). Once the battery is (mostly) depleted -- or if you don't bother to plug it in -- the Pacifica operates like any other hybrid, with the electric motor assisting the gasoline engine.

During our test drive through Tinseltown, the Pacifica delivered the promised 30 miles from its battery, and we found that one must be rather deliberate with the accelerator to activate the gas engine. An "efficiency coach" gauge shows a green bar that grows and turns yellow as you get closer to demanding gasoline-augmented help. With one eye on this gauge, it's easy to keep up with traffic and still drive primarily on battery power. According to the trip computer, our mostly electric test run yielded 75 miles per gallon.

From Electric to Gas

Once the battery runs low, the Pacifica switches to hybrid mode. We cruised down the Pacific Coast Highway watching the gauge dwindle -- 2 miles left on battery power, then 1, then 0 -- but we never heard or felt the switch. Indicators on the dash told us the gas engine was now active, but other than that, the changeover was completely seamless. During our hybrid drive, the Pacifica Hybrid returned an indicated 40 mpg -- very impressive for a 7-seater. No matter which power source was active, the Pacifica was exceptionally quiet, a nice parallel to its soft ride.

One criticism we have is that the driver cannot manually select hybrid or electric mode, as most PHEVs allow -- the Pacifica always uses its battery first before switching to gas power. There are times when it's better to delay electric operation. Say you live in the sticks and work in the city. In this situation, it would be most efficient to drive the highway in hybrid mode and switch to battery power for stop-and-go city traffic. The Pacifica Hybrid won't let you do that, and in our opinion, this is a major flaw.

How It Works

The Pacifica Hybrid's powertrain uses a power-split transmission, a design similar to that of the Toyota Prius. (For those who are mechanically inclined, it's a planetary gearset with inputs from a gasoline engine and two electric motors.) The engine is an Atkinson-cycle version of the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 found in the regular Pacifica and numerous other Chrysler, Dodge and RAM vehicles. Between engine and motors, total powertrain output is 260 horsepower. The Pacifica Hybrid is zippy and responsive around town, but when we floored the accelerator to grab an open spot on the freeway (when in Los Angeles, drive like an Angelino), the Pacifica Hybrid didn't feel quite as quick as we would have hoped.

Like most hybrids, the Pacifica uses regenerative braking. When you step on the brake pedal (or turn the rotary shift knob to "L"), the electric motor works as a generator, recharging the battery and creating resistance that slows the car. The Pacifica Hybrid automatically blends regenerative and regular (friction) braking -- unless you really jam on the pedal, most of the braking down to 10 miles per hour or so is regenerative.

The Pacifica's battery can be charged using a 240-volt Level 2 EV charger (you can buy one at Home Depot for as little as $400 plus installation). Level 2 charge time is just 2 hours, far superior to the 14-hour charge time from an ordinary household outlet, and you can program the Pacifica to charge at night when electric rates are lower.

Pacifica vs. Pacifica Hybrid

Visually, the Pacifica Hybrid isn't much different from the gasoline-powered version -- aside from a unique grille and wheels, the two versions are nearly identical. Inside, the Pacifica Hybrid gets a unique dashboard with hybrid-specific gauges, and the infotainment system includes screens that illustrate how the hybrid system operates and track your fuel economy.

The 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack (designed by LG and built by Chrysler) lives in compartments under the second-row floor. This means the hybrid does without those fancy Stow N Go seats that fold into the floor, but that's fine with us -- we've always found them a bit small and uncomfortable, and we prefer the Hybrid's more supportive second-row seats. These can be removed, and when you combine then with the third-row seat that folds down flat into the luggage well, it's possible to turn the Pacifica into a 2-seat cargo van.

A Cost-Effective Alternative

Chrysler offers the Pacifica Hybrid in Premium and Platinum trims. Premium models include leather seats (heated in front), a power lift gate and a blind spot monitoring system, while the Platinum version adds navigation, a premium stereo, adaptive cruise control, semi-automated parking and other goodies. Prices for the two models are $43,095 and $46,090 respectively (including a $1,095 destination charge), but since most buyers will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, out-of-pocket costs are $35,590 and $38,590. Some states have incentives that will lower the price even further.

At these prices, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid isn't much more expensive than similarly equipped non-hybrid minivans. Given the potential cost savings -- especially if one takes advantage of the Pacifica's plug-in potential -- there's little reason not to consider the Pacifica Hybrid as a fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly alternative to other 7-seat vans and SUVs.

To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle's manufacturer.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$21,925
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$20,467
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$23,777
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
Used 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
$24,777
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.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: First Drive Review - Autotrader