2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid



Chrysler, the company that “invented” the front wheel drive minivan, has recently added to its Pacifica lineup, a plug in hybrid version. Even though it has V-6 power plant, it is considered an electric vehicle on a number of fronts. With two large electric motors and lots of batteries, it qualifies for a $7500 Federal tax credit, and in Hawaii is treated as an electric vehicle, which means free street meter parking and airport parking. Also a single driver can drive in the HOV lane. But clearly and more importantly, it is rated at 82 m.p.g. when operated in the electric mode. Even the gas only fuel mileage rating is a reasonable 30 m.p.g. After a plug in and when fully charged, it can go on electric motivation for 32 miles. The total powertrain has a gas powered 3.6-liter V-6 with two electric motors resulting in a total of 260 horsepower. Power goes to the front wheels through a continuously gear less transmission. With this combo acceleration is a reasonable 0-60 time of 7.8 seconds. The base price starts at about $40,000.

This minivan is not super tall, and the lines are not boxy looking and are generally smooth. The front grill is relatively small and nicely shaped with a large opening at below the grill. On the sides are some indents and a small spoiler above the liftgate. In total, the styling says minivan, but in a good looking way.

Since carrying people and items is largely what a minivan is about, access from the outside is easy. Having the key in your possession lets you in by merely pulling the door handle. Likewise, the power sliding side doors can be opened with buttons on the key or a tug of the handle. The rear power liftgate can be opened with another button or the key. Once inside buttons in the middle of the front ceiling can used the open and close the side doors or the liftgate.

With the hybrid package, the seating arrangement is for a total of seven occupants in a 2, 2, 3 passenger set up. Because the hybrid batteries are under the floor, the regular Pacifica stow and go feature is gone. The stow and go feature is between the first and second row of seats and involves lifting up part of the floor that has a big puka for storage of items. Nevertheless moving around to row three can be handled a number of the ways. Hop in and go between the row two seats or slide the row two seats fully forward and go behind them to row three. Also a button can pushed to move the front seats fully forward to make the room between the seats greater. Once inside room is reasonable, but with a little less legroom in the row three. And if you really want more carrying space the second row of seats can simply be removed entirely. In our high end model two video screens were in back of the front seats so the rear occupants can watch a movie or play games. The cooling system in the rear is easily controlled with a ceiling temperature control and ceiling airvents. With the liftgate open and all the seats up, there is a deep puka that can carry 4 large suitcases and other items, and if even more carrying room is needed, the seat backs can be dropped with a pull of straps.

The driver and front passenger have comfortable seats with each having a small individual armrest that can be lifted out of the way. An eight inch plus colorful video screen is in the center of the dash. By touch various features can be used from the navigation system to the stereo. When in reverse, the screen shows a 360 degree view as well as a rear view. For the more traditional users, large buttons and dials handle the automatic three area climate system and the radio functions. The gearshift lever is gone, and a simple round dial takes care of gear selection. In the dashpod, a smaller video screen can provide information about the electric mode vs. the gas mode of power by indicating the number of miles traveled with each. Also the status of the battery charge can also be seen. Buttons on back of the steering can handle the stereo sound and channels without having to touch the other dials.
Because of the emphasis on the electric motivation, the interior of the van lacks any real noise when proceeding at modest speeds. And when the gas motor jumps in, it is still quite quiet. With the gear less transmission, there is no sense of shifting. The suspension handles rough surfaces quite well and cornering is not difficult at all.

With version of the minivan, Chrysler has provided a fuel efficient family mover. Added are many of the benefits of an electric vehicle without range anxiety.

Tech Specs

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Model: 7 passenger minivan
Base price: $39,995, as tested $50,005. $7,500 federal tax credit available.
Powertrain: 3.6 liter V-6, two electric motors, 260 horsepower, continuously variable (CVT) gearless transmission. Front wheel drive.
Fuel economy: 82 m.p.g equivalent average in electric mode, on gas only of 30 m.p.g. average.
Performance: 0-60: 7.8 seconds.
High beams Quiet inside. Useful family mover interior. Unique minivan hybrid.
Low beamsCould use some ceiling handles to help move in and out rear compartment.