Driving Impressions : 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Limited HybridBy: Mark Moskowitz MD
Despite the popularity of the SUV, the minivan is not dead. A number have gone by the wayside along with their manufacturers. Among them are the Mercury Monterey, the Oldsmobile Silhouette, the Pontiac Montana and the Saturn Relay. Chevrolet's entries are no more and Nissan abandoned its Quest in 2016.
Dodge sold over 150,000 Grand Caravans in 2018 and Chrysler sold more than 118,000 Pacifica's. Honda is a player as well with sales of over 100,000 Odysseys per year.
Chrysler has managed to stay relevant. It revived an old name, the Pacifica, and adopted a new chassis and style in 2017. The same model year brought the Pacifica Hybrid. The latter operates with a detuned Pentastar V-6, 2 electric motors and a 16 kWh lithium ion battery pack. The hybrid system and battery are both warrantied for 10 years or 100,000 miles.
The baseline Pacific Hybrid Touring Plus lists for $40,425. Driving Impressions tested the top of the line Hybrid Limited with a base price of $45,395, just a tick above the $44,445 cost of a strictly gas-powered Pacifica Limited. Add in the government tax credit of $7500 and the hybrid begins to look like a bargain.
The styling is smart. Swage or character lines break up the sides with a longer one extending through the door handles onto both front and rear fenders. A lower line is limited to the doors and is accented in chrome. Gloss black frames surround the windows and seem to disappear in direct sunlight or at night giving the impression of continuous glass from the A to D pillar.
People buy minivans for their room and this one seats seven adults comfortably. An interrupted console in the front allow occupants plenty of knee room. Middle seat buckets are standard. A split bench occupies the back and either or both sides can be folded into the floor with a touch of a button. A flat floor behind the two front seats can be achieved by manually folding the middle seats into the floor of the gas-powered Pacifica. Battery storage prevents this in the hybrid. Multiple closed and open compartments are available in the console, dash and doors.
A 240-volt power station can charge the battery in 2 hours. The charge from a standard socket can take up to 14 hours. Pure electric range is 32 miles but it's never pure. Expect the Pentastar to kick in when appropriate. One could not and should not expect to drive this distance on an empty gas tank! Interestingly the electric range increases with around town driving thanks to regenerative braking.
Though the hybrid carries more weight, both versions are similarly quick with 0-60 times of 7.4 seconds*. And there was plenty of power to pass at interstate speeds.
A few optional electronic niceties should be mentioned. $995 bought the Advanced Safety Tec Group. Among its features are lane departure warning with assist, forward collision warning with assist, parallel and perpendicular park assist and high beam control. The adaptive cruise control held a constant speed even on steep descents. Also included was a surround view camera system which could only be accessed through sequential maneuvers on the touch screen. A programmable or dedicated switch to activate the camera would be appreciated.
A pair of 10 -inch screens occupy front seat backs. They allow wireless streaming and separate simultaneous broadcasts.
While specific results for the hybrid are not available, the gas-powered Pacifica achieved a four star rating for rollover protection and five stars for drivers and passengers in frontal and side crash testing.