2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Review

Plug-in hybrid power infuses the family minivan with some much-needed green cred.
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

With the 2017 Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler brings innovation to the minivan class it helped create. The Hybrid shares the same elegant design as the regular Pacifica, but with plug-in EV efficiency and reduced gasoline dependence. For a green-cred family hauler, it doesn't get any better.

The Pacifica is an all-new model. It's a replacement for the now discontinued Town & Country van and cribs its name from a Chrysler crossover wagon/SUV from the mid-2000s. The regular Pacifica debuted first, and now the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid hits the road. It's the first gas-electric plug-in hybrid minivan in America, and it's an idea that's long overdue.

Since most minivan duty involves short hops around city and suburb, a minivan is an ideal candidate for hybrid technology. The Pacifica Hybrid embraces this philosophy with up to 30 miles of electric range. In some scenarios, that's enough juice to drop kids at school, go to the office, run an errand at lunch, then return for the kids and evening soccer practice, all without dipping into the gas tank.

Chrysler says combined range for the gas-electric combo is 530 miles — serious road-trip distance. With regular charging, you can make gas station visits an occasional pastime. Using a Level 2 (240-volt) charging station (whether at home or using a public one), expect to be able to recharge the depleted batteries in about two hours. With a regular household outlet, though, expect it to be more like 14 hours. When you do need gas, a stout V6 engine kicks in to assume duty. The EPA estimates you'll get 32 mpg in combined driving, which is still by far the best in the minivan segment.

Other than its additional weight and a suspension fortified to support it, the Pacifica Hybrid shares the same footprint and features as its regular counterpart. That means you're getting the same crisp lines and elegant interior design, infusing the normally dowdy family taxi with much-needed style. But it does ask some sacrifices. Primarily, you give up Chrysler's popular Stow 'n Go seating feature, which normally allows you to sink the second-row seats into the floor flat and out of sight. In the Hybrid, the batteries take up that space. And yes, you do pay a lot more for the Hybrid compared to a regular minivan (though the offsetting tax credit does help a lot). But if you like the idea of a fuel-sipping minivan, this is the one to get.



what's new

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is an all-new model.

we recommend

It's tempting to view fully loaded models as excessive, but in the Pacifica Hybrid's case, it's a good deal. The base Premium trim comes with features that would satisfy most buyers, and it's a fine package if you absolutely must stick to the base price. But we think it's worth paying a bit more to get the loaded Platinum, which offers a rear-seat entertainment system, automatic cruise control, a 360-degree camera, navigation, upgraded leather, more safety features and driver aids, and hands-free sliding doors and liftgate. The daily-use value of these last two items is high.




trim levels & features

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a three-row minivan that seats seven passengers. It's available in Premium and Platinum trim levels. The Premium comes well-stocked for a "base" model with standard leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rearview camera, self-parking and a large touchscreen infotainment display. The Platinum ratchets up desire with hands-free sliding doors and liftgate, upgraded leather and a navigation system. For a classy family shuttle, it's hard to go wrong with either.

The Premium's standard equipment starts with a 3.6-liter V6 engine augmented with dual electric motors and an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Combined horsepower is 260 horsepower. Other features include 17-inch wheels, a 6.6-kWh onboard charger, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, foglights, power-sliding doors and liftgate, heated power-folding side mirrors, and keyless entry and ignition.

Interior features include leather seating, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, second-row power windows, and a 60/40-split folding third-row seat. Standard tech includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Bluetooth connectivity, voice commands, and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio, and USB and auxiliary input jacks.

Driver aids include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an automated parking system for both parallel and perpendicular spaces.

You'll get even more if you move up to the Platinum trim, though. It also has 18-inch wheels, hands-free operation for the sliding doors and liftgate, upgraded leather, a power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and the Uconnect Theater rear-seat entertainment system, which bundles a 13-speaker Alpine audio system, DVD/Blu-ray player, seatback video screens, a household-style power outlet and multiple USB ports.

The Platinum also has additional safety features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and a surround-view camera. Options are few. For the Premium, you can order a wireless device charging pad. For the Platinum, a panoramic sunroof is available.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our initial drive of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (3.6L V6 | plug-in hybrid | E-CVT automatic | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.5 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use4.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.5 / 5.0
Driving position4.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility5.0 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage5.0 / 5.0
Cargo space3.5 / 5.0

Technology

4.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.0 / 5.0
Driver aids3.5 / 5.0
Voice control4.0 / 5.0

Driving

Whether you want to evaluate using minivan or hybrid standards, the Pacifica Hybrid performs well. It's considerably heavier because of its hybrid componentry, but you won't notice it much in everyday driving. Acceleration is decent, and it's easy to drive.

Acceleration

There's only a total of 260 hp on tap from the V6-battery combo, but acceleration from a stop is brisk because of instant torque from the battery pack.

Braking

In regular driving, the brakes are easy to modulate with a short pedal travel and good feel and response for a vehicle with regenerative braking.

Steering

The steering is well weighted and easy to control with a good on-center feel, but it communicates very little about what the wheels are doing. In low road-grip situations, good steering feel can help bolster driver confidence.

Handling

Considering the Pacifica Hybrid's substantial weight, handling is fine as long as you don't do your best Mario Andretti impression. Body roll is kept in check, and it makes it around corners well, even if the steering doesn't feel all that precise. Midcorner bumps are dispatched with few issues.

Drivability

Selecting L mode noticeably ramps up the regenerative braking force when lifting off the gas pedal; staying in normal D mode makes for more natural braking feel. The handoff from regen to mechanical brakes is imperceptible.

Comfort

edmunds rating
There's a lot of room in the Pacifica, but the seating position in the second row can be a little tight. Seat bolsters that are overly firm compromise comfort, too. The ride quality, however, is smooth and calm.

Seat comfort

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All three rows have firm padding. The front seats are highly configurable, but neither the second nor third row reclines or slides fore or aft. The second-row seats are suitable for average-size adults and smaller, but they don't slide forward or back so long-legged passengers may need to squeeze.

Ride comfort

edmunds rating
The Pacifica goes down the road comfortably and with poise. It's seldom bothered by small or large road imperfections. Dipping a wheel into a pothole sends a shudder through the cabin, but there's little jostle when the wheel returns.

Noise & vibration

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There is minimal road noise and a small amount of wind noise created by the sideview mirrors at highway speeds, though we detected some rattles on occasion. The plug-in hybrid's automatic CVT makes a typical engine noisy drone at full acceleration.

Climate control

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Climate can be controlled through knobs and buttons on the dash or through the touchscreen. Both ways are relatively easy to use. The air-conditioning does a good job of keeping the entire cabin cool on hot days. Three-zone climate control is standard.

Interior

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Whether you're making the daily commute or spending a long weekend on the highway, the Pacifica Hybrid's cabin is a pleasant place to be. Judged strictly by the numbers, the Pacifica Hybrid is marginally smaller than rivals, but it feels just as spacious as class leaders.

Ease of use

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The controls inside the Pacifica Hybrid are intuitive and easy to use. The buttons are large and easy to locate within arm's reach of the driver. Touchscreen controls are laid out well with frequently used commands available from the main home screen.

Getting in/getting out

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The front-row seats are a bit high, but there's a low floor and high ceiling to help out. The sliding rear passenger doors provide a generous opening for ingress/egress or for loading child seats, and there's a large gap between the second-row seats to access the third row.

Driving position

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Highly adjustable front seats and a tilt-and-telescoping wheel make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. The steering wheel feels large, solid and hefty.

Roominess

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From the front seats, the Pacifica Hybrid feels relatively large, with ample headroom and hiproom. Legroom in the second and third rows, however, is just average. Competitors including the Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona beat it by a few inches.

Visibility

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Massive windows, big mirrors and clear lines of sight mean virtually zero blind spots. A rearview camera comes standard, and a 360-degree surround-view camera is optional.

Quality

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At first glance, the Pacifica Hybrid presents an upscale vibe with nice soft-touch surfaces. On closer inspection, though, things are less than perfect, with crooked stitching on the steering wheel and door panels, for example.

Utility

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The Pacifica Hybrid isn't the largest in class, but it only falls behind leaders such as the Honda Odyssey by a few cubic feet. The Hybrid doesn't offer Stow 'n Go seating in the second row since the battery pack is right below. The seats can be removed, though. The third-row seat still folds into the floor when not in use.

Small-item storage

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Center console storage is large enough for big water bottles and a few snacks. There are small pockets everywhere in the cabin, including cupholders, cubbies and magazine slots. Got a million little things? They'll all fit here.

Cargo space

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Based on the spec sheet, the Pacifica is near the bottom of the class for cargo capacity with 32.3 cubic feet behind the raised third row and 140.5 cubic feet with the rear rows folded. In real-world application, though, the Pacifica is still pretty useful.

Child safety seat accommodation

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The rear sliding doors provide great access for loading car seats. There are two sets of LATCH anchors in the second and third rows, but accessing them isn't the easiest.

Towing

Chrysler does not recommend towing with the Pacifica Hybrid. Get a truck.

Hauling

It has enough cargo space to fit an 8-by-4 sheet of plywood — even up to 64 quarter-inch sheets of plywood, according to Chrysler. Forget the truck. For repeated runs to the home improvement emporium, this will do.

Technology

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Pacifica Hybrid's Uconnect is one of the easiest infotainment systems to use, thanks to a large (8.4-inch) touchscreen display, clear graphics and controls. Lack of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is disappointing.

Audio & navigation

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Uconnect is one of the best systems in the class. The controls are easy to understand with a convenient menu on the lower portion of the screen for main commands. Navigation info can be displayed on the center screen or within the gauge cluster for easy viewing.

Smartphone integration

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Easy to plug in, boot up and index music quickly via USB ports. No problems connecting devices via Bluetooth, either. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't offered, but Uconnect's device integration isn't a bad alternative.

Driver aids

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A rearview camera is standard. Adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane departure warning and intervention and a 360-degree camera are optional. ACC is overly sensitive, often creates a large following distance, then brakes hard when there's a minor slowing. KeySense system enables limits for teen drivers.

Voice control

edmunds rating
Comes standard with voice controls for audio, phone calls and voice text reply.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.