Going above and beyond: the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
When it comes to the ultimate people mover, the Chrysler Pacifica is hard to beat. Yes, it’s a minivan, I know, but it’s one of the best minivans out there, placing it right up there with the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. In fact, there is a version of the Pacifica that easily makes it top both of its Japanese competitors: the Pacifica Hybrid.
The Pacifica Hybrid carries nearly every feature that you would find in a normal Pacifica, but benefits from being incredibly fuel-efficient thanks to its hybrid technology. Even more, it’s a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), meaning it can travel as much as 33 miles without using a drop of gasoline. If and when you exceed that range of 33 miles, the Pacifica Hybrid takes on the role of a regular hybrid – automatically switching from its electric motors (there are two of them) to a special version of the popular 3.6liter Pentastar V6 engine.
Charging time for a dead battery to reach a 100% charge level takes about 13 1/2 hours on a standard 110-volt outlet. If you’re lucky to be able to plug the Pacifica Hybrid into a 220-volt power source, charging time takes right under 2 hours.
But let’s not forget that the main purpose of a minivan is to haul families and all their belongings around that is where the Pacifica shines. Standard on every Pacifica is a three-zone climate control system so the front and middle rows can each control the temperature. And there are lots of USB and auxiliary ports scattered throughout the cabin to keep every electronic gadget charged. Higher end models include features such as Blu-ray players and a tri-pane panoramic sunroof.
In fact, everything that makes the regular Pacifica so appealing can be found on the Pacifica Hybrid – with two exceptions. First, the second-row Stow ‘n Go seating, where seats can be stowed into the floor – is not available on the Pacifica Hybrid due to the hybrid’s massive battery pack. In a smart move, Chrysler opted to place the batteries below the second-row floor (and give up the Stow ‘n Go option) rather than place them in the back and have them eat up valuable cargo space. Second, the optional vacuum cleaner is not available in the hybrid model, so you’ll have to find another way to clean up those Goldfish crackers.
Those are 2 small prices to pay for a minivan that is rated at 82 mpg.
The behind the wheel driving experience of the Pacifica Hybrid, as expected, is hardly exciting. But it does drive nice, visibility is excellent, and the ride is comforting. There is plenty of power from the hybrid powerplant and that power is quite smooth.
An added perk I discovered during my time with the plug-in Pacifica Hybrid is the ability to park it in an electric vehicle parking space, which usually happens to be close to the entrance of the establishment you’re visiting. And if you’re lucky, they will offer free charging. Shopping and getting free electric miles for your vehicle is a win-win in my book.
Finally, I understand the minivan stigma is still strong out there – regardless how good you make it, some people just won’t be caught driving one. But no matter how you look at it, there is really no denying that it is the most practical vehicle when it comes time to pack up the family and hit the road. Not even a full-size SUV can match the comfort and ease it is to load a minivan. And as good as the Chrysler Pacifica is, (and it’s pretty good), the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid just makes it that much better by saving on fuel costs. Maybe that’s why Car and Driver has named the Pacifica to their 10Best Trucks and SUVs list multiple times.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited
Base Price: $45,845.00
Price as Tested: $50,230.00
Layout: front-engine / front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.6 liter V6 eHybrid
Transmission: 9 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 260 hp
EPA Fuel Economy: 82 MPGe
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