2019 Chrysler Pacific Hybrid Limited Review

An efficient and luxurious family mobile with a high price tag


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Seriously big inside, the sportiest-looking minivan on earth, the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market, tons of great tech and safety features.
Negatives: A smidge of increased efficiency comes at high price, still a minivan at the end of the day.
Bottom Line: The Pacifica Hybrid presents a unique option for minivans, but it's not quite worth the high price tag for a little bit more efficiency. The 33 miles of electric only range seems like a small gain for a $50K minivan. You're better off with the standard Pacifica, which costs quite a bit less.
Chrysler really did revisit the minivan formula with the Pacifica, and the minivan is a very good one, despite not having the most space. But it is seriously roomy inside, and now that there's a Hybrid version, the efficiency is impressive. Too bad it will cost you a lot more than the regular gas-powered Pacifica. In Limited trim level, you get a ton of features, but the top-spec Pacifica Hybrid crests $50K with options, which is a lot to stomach. We drove it for a week to see if this is the premium family minivan to get. Read on for the detailed review.
 

Driving Experience

7.3

 

For anyone to expect a remarkable driving experience from a minivan equates to misguided priorities. That said, the Pacifica Hybrid delivers in terms of family comfort rather than in the area of driving dynamics. It does what it needs to without fanfare.

Ride Quality: It feels like a minivan. It's soft, comfortable, and without a hint of drama. The shock aborption is ample and compliant.

Acceleration: The Pacifica Hybrid has a CVT automatic, and it's actually a very good one. We didn't like the gas-powered Pacifica's 9-speed automatic becuase it's latent responsiveness, but the CVT is quite good and very smooth in its operation. 0-60 comes in just under 8 seconds, which is slower than every minivan out there, including the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, and even the regular Pacifica.

Braking: The regenerative brakes are progressive but have some mushiness in the pedal feel. Overall, the braking distances are about average.

Steering: Steering is on center but lacks feedback and is too light in effort. It's about what we'd expect from a minivan.

Handling: It's floaty and vague, and the Hybrid carries 500 extra pounds over the gas-powered Pacifica. Don't come into a corner hot.

Technology

9.3

 

There's a lot to love about the Pacifica Hybrid's level of technology, especially in Limited trim. It has virtually everything a family needs to stay peaceful and connected. There's an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and voice commands, which all work very well.

Infotainment System: Uconnect might not be the easiest system to use, but it's still great. Most controls for the infotainment are through the touchscreen, but they're all fairly intuitive, and the screen responds well. The rear entertainment system is excellent, with easy inputs, streaming, and some sweet wireless headphones. Our kids didn't want to get out.

Controls: Chrysler did a great job in the Pacifica. All physical controls are big and easy to use, including the climate controls, steering wheel buttons, and the rotary shifter.

Styling

8.4

 

The Hybrid offers a different look, and we like it because it sets itself apart from the standard Pacifica. Though it's far from looking athletic, the darker touches give it an almost sporty look.

Front: The blackened upper and lower grilles and foglight surrounds look great for a minivan, especially combined with the slender headlights and the flowing LED signature.

Rear: It's pretty much the same as the standard gas-powered Pacifica but with dark badging and reflector surrounds. It's a clean look that nicely mates with the front.

Profile: The sheer size gets visually reduced thanks to the elimination of chrome and the addition of dark alloy wheels.

Cabin: It's dark inside, but the overall look and feel of the cabin are very nice. It feels much more upscale than a Toyota Sienna, and the materials quality (even the plastics) are well done.

Comfort

9.7

 

The Pacifica Hybrid is even more comfy than its gas counterpart thanks to the ditching of the second row Stow 'n Go seats (due to battery placement). Overall, the Pacifica model provides excellent levels of occupant comfort thanks to great space and seating appointments.

Front Seats: Big and supportive with great adjustability, the front seats are just right for long trips with the family.

Rear Seats: They now slide and recline, and the cushions are more plush thanks to the absence of the Stow 'no Go feature, which eliminates some storage but makes for great passenger comfort.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): When in EV mode, the Pacifica hybrid is very quiet, no matter the speed. But in gas mode, it sounds like it's been worked like show pony, and its engine sound clunky.

Visibility: Huge glass all around equates to excellent 360-degree visibility.

Climate: Large vents and huge volumes of airflow make for an ideal climate for occupants. The three-zone automatic system works well. Heated and ventilated front seats are quick to ramp up.

Safety

9.5

 

The pacifica is a very safe vehicle having attained solid scores from both testing bodies. It's also very well equipped in Limited trim when it comes to safety features, including accident avoidance tech.

IIHS Rating: The Pacifica gets the Top Safety Pick rating thanks to "good" scores in crash tests (aside from "acceptable" in the passenger small overlap front, "marginal/poor" headlights in some trims, and "marginal" for LATCH).

NHTSA Rating: The federal government gave the Pacifica model five stars in crash tests.

Standard Tech: Our tester came standard with Blind Sport and Cross-Path Detection, as well as ParkSense Rear Park-Assist with Stop.

Optional Tech: Our Limited trim model had the robust Advanced SafetyTec Group, which comes with 60-Degree Surround-View Camera System, Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning Plus, ParkSense Front and Rear Park Assist with Stop, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Advanced Brake Assist, and Automatic High Beams. It's a great package that should make owners feel very safe, indeed.

Storage/Cargo

9.5

 

Even though the Pacifica Hybrid doesn't have second-row Stow 'n' Go folding seats, it's still really big inside and according to stats doesn't alter its hauling capacity.

Storage Space: There are plenty of storage spaces throughout, including a sliding door armrest and a deep floor tray between the two front seats.

Cargo Room: The Pacifica Hybrid has 32.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet behind the first row. That's a little smaller the Odyssey by a few feet and nearly ten cubes smaller than the big Toyota Sienna.

Fuel Economy

6.8

 

The Pacifica Hybrid is an interesting vehicle since its plug-in capability provides 33 miles of electric range on a full charge. If you drive conservatively enough, you can avoid the pump all week if you plug in at night and drive a short commuite. EPA ratings are 32 mpg after the electricity runs out. Our mileage, oddly, was lower than the gas version when we tested in back in 2018.

Observed: 24.0 mpg.

Distance Driven: 29.7 miles

Audio

9.2

 

Our tester came with the optional 20-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system that offered up excellent sound with strong bass and no distortion. It's one of the few pleasures a minivan driver can experience, so it's well worth the upgrade.



Final Thoughts

It's hard to stomach the big price increase for a vehicle that's not much more efficient than the gas version. But if you have meticulous driving habits and don't have to drive very far every day, it might just be the right minivan for you if you're willing to pay the premium. Its big, comfortable, and even a little bit attractive with the special trim bits. Just don't expect a lot of fun behind the wheel or envious looks from anyone but other minivan drivers.
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