The Car Of My Dreams Is Finally Here: The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan – Forbes
Hybrid-electric cars have been around for nearly 20 years, but I’m not surprised they’re not big sellers. If you want people to buy hybrids, don’t give them itty-bitty, egg-shaped wind-up toys. Instead, create a hybrid that truly suits their lifestyle, one that gets great mileage but is also big and flexible enough to carry their kids, their pets and all their stuff.
Now, at last, that vehicle is here: the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan.
I’ve long been a fan of minivans, despite their dowdy reputation. There simply is no other vehicle that’s as comfortable and useful. When our first kid went off to college, we traded our minivan for an SUV and instantly regretted it, in a million little ways.
Chrysler knows what minivan buyers want; they’ve led the segment since introducing the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager back in 1984, and the Chrysler Town & Country six years later. The Pacifica, which went on sale last summer, is the modern-day successor to those early pioneers. It’s a superb vehicle, with a long list of innovative features, including hands-free sliding doors and liftgate, power-operated Stow-and-Go seats, and lots of active safety features like parking assist, forward collision braking, and lane-keeping assist. Thanks to a stiffer, lightweight chassis that improves handling, it’s also a dream to drive.
Now, add an efficient hybrid powertrain, and I’m in heaven.
The Pacifica Hybrid is actually a plug-in hybrid that operates as a pure electric car for 33 miles until the battery is depleted and the gasoline engine kicks on. Then it switches into conventional hybrid mode, with a total range of 566 miles. Chrysler doesn’t call it a plug-in because it doesn’t want minivan owners to freak out with range anxiety. But since research shows that the majority of minivans are driven less than 30 miles a day, that shouldn’t even be a concern.
With a 240-volt Level 2 wall charger (about $700 plus installation), the Pacifica’s 16-kWh battery pack can be fully charged in about two hours. On a standard 120-volt household outlet, it can be charged overnight (about 14 hours).
Even if you never plug it in, you’ll probably still get about 28 miles per gallon operating as a conventional hybrid. That compares to the overall 22 mpg you’ll get with Pacifica’s standard gasoline-powered V6 (18 mpg city/28 mpg highway).