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2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: New Car Review

One of the best things about the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is that, other than its hybrid propulsion system, it’s nearly identical to the gasoline-fueled Pacifica. The only negative about the Pacifica Hybrid is that it isn’t 100 percent identical. Chrysler engineers sacrificed the convenient Stow N’ Go second-row seats, converting that section of the floor into a storage area for the hybrid battery pack. Environmentally conscious buyers looking for roomy family transportation probably won’t be put off by this, but the loss of Stow N’ Go certainly robs this minivan of a sizable chunk of its versatility.

With the whining about the loss of Stow N’ Go out of the way, there’s precious little to complain about. The Pacifica that spawned this hybrid is a terrific minivan. Because it’s a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the Pacifica Hybrid can go an estimated 33 miles on electricity only. It’s the only minivan out there that can make that claim. In fact, it’s the only hybrid minivan. That in itself is a big deal.

What’s New for 2018?

Chrysler added a Touring Plus model to the hybrid grades, upgraded the Uconnect 4 interface system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on all grades and added two new paint colors (Copper Pearl Coat and Ocean Blue Metallic).

What We Like

Nicely crafted cabin; Uconnect 4 on all grades; third-row Stow N’ Go and SafetyTec standard on all grades

What We Don’t

No second-row Stow N’ Go and advanced safety/driver-assist technologies not available on lower grades

How Much?

$41,340-$45,935

Fuel Economy

Conspiring to turn out a combined 260 horsepower, the hybrid system consists of a version of Chrysler’s highly campaigned 3.6-liter V6, tuned as an Atkinson Cycle, and a pair of motor/generators. An electric CVT ushers thrust to the front wheels. In combined city-highway driving, the hybrid system provides a government-estimated 84 MPGe in electric-gasoline driving. When the electric batteries haven’t been charged, the system still delivers 32 miles per gallon city/33 mpg highway/32 mpg combined. That’s still markedly better than the regular Pacifica’s 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The Touring Plus ($41,340) includes as standard LED fog lamps, automatic headlights, fold-away power heated outboard mirrors, 17-inch aluminum wheels, 3-zone automatic climate control, 12-volt power outlet, cruise control, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, trip computer, power windows, power locks, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, third-row Stow N’ Go seat, eight airbags, SafetyTec Group, backup camera, remote keyless entry, security alarm and Uconnect 4 with six speakers, an 8.4-in touchscreen, satellite radio capability, Bluetooth, voice command, HD radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Options: power liftgate, KeySense, vehicle tracking system and single rear overhead DVD player.

The Touring L ($43,340) adds a power liftgate, roof rack, grocery-bag hooks in cargo area, remote start, retractable side window shades in the second- and third-row seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, full-length floor console, universal garage door opener, heated front seats and leather seating. Options include 17-in polished aluminum wheels, upgraded Uconnect 4 with navigation, single rear overhead DVD player, KeySense and vehicle tracking system.

The Limited ($45,935) beefs up the standard goodies with turn indicators in outboard mirrors, hands-free sliding side doors/liftgate, Advanced SafetyTec Group, 17-in polished aluminum wheels, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated steering wheel, 8-way power front passenger seat, premium leather seats, ventilated front seats, 20-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and Uconnect 4 with navigation. Among the options are power panoramic sunroof, 18-in polished aluminum wheels, KeySense and a vehicle tracking system.

Safety

Neither the government nor IIHS have crash tested the Pacifica Hybrid. Every Pacifica comes with eight airbags, a backup camera and SafetyTec Group, which includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist. Optional on the Limited is the Advanced SafetyTec Group with forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, front/rear park assist with full stop, 360-degree surround view camera and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Behind the Wheel

Despite being heavier and delivering less horsepower than the regular Pacifica, the Pacifica Hybrid accelerates with determination. That’s thanks to peak torque that’s immediately available because of the electric motor. When the all-electric range has been reached, the system switches from electric to regular hybrid mode seamlessly.

With the batteries under the second-row seats, the Pacifica Hybrid has a bit lower center of gravity than the gas-only Pacifica. It feels more stable in the corners. The extra heft also smooths out the ride a bit more, too. Not that the regular Pacifica’s ride quality isn’t good, but the Hybrid’s is just a bit better.

As far as passenger comfort, this is a premium cabin. Most materials are top-notch and things are nicely bolted together. It’s about as convenient as you can make a minivan.

Other Cars to Consider

The solitary hybrid minivan, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, has no peers. But here are couple of other hybrids to ponder.

Lexus RX 450hL — Although it costs between $5,000-$10,000 more than the highest-end Pacifica Hybrid, the 450hL has a third-row seat and is loaded with luxury features.

Acura MDX Hybrid — Capable of seating up to seven, the well-appointed MDX costs notably more than the Pacifica Hybrid, but offers AWD.

Autotrader’s Advice

Most of the standard gear separating the Touring Plus from the more expensive Touring L are more along the lines of pampering rather than need. Well contented, the Touring Plus provides a wide array of features and as many advanced safety options as the Touring L. If you can live without a power liftgate and heated leather-covered front seats, the more affordable Touring Plus is the way to go.

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