2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Review

If you need a fuel-efficient vehicle with seven seats, look no further than the Pacifica Hybrid.
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Before 2017, there weren't many choices if you wanted good mileage from a vehicle with three rows of seating. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid was pretty much the only game in town. However, there's not much cargo room behind the third row in any three-row crossover, and adults don't fit easily into the legroom-challenged rear seats. The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid solves both of these problems, with a spacious seven-passenger layout and a cleverly concealed battery pack.

The Pacifica Hybrid is actually a plug-in hybrid, which means you can charge the hybrid battery pack with an external power source to get up to 33 miles of all-electric driving 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. 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.

You only give up two things when choosing the plug-in Pacifica Hybrid over the standard minivan. The gas-only Pacifica features a seat management system called Stow 'n Go for the second and third rows. With it, both rows of seating fold neatly into the floor to create a flat load space behind the front seats. The Hybrid's 16-kWh battery pack occupies the empty space below the second row that allows those seats to be folded in the normal Pacifica. Additionally, a second-row bench is not available, so you can only seat seven in the Pacifica Hybrid.

Other than these minor drawbacks, the Pacifica Hybrid is pretty much the same as the standard Pacifica. There's the hybrid powertrain, of course, but you get the same high-quality interior materials, intuitive user interface and comfortable ride. And because the base Touring Plus Hybrid matches up with a midtrim Pacifica from a features standpoint, every Hybrid is fairly well-equipped. In fact, the fully loaded Limited isn't significantly more expensive than the Touring Plus, though this says more about the Hybrid's high starting price than the top trim's comparatively low upgrade cost. If you can look past the Pacifica Hybrid's base cost and lack of second-row Stow 'n Go, you'll be rewarded with a handsome minivan that offers cargo and third-row room superior to what you'll find in any rival.



What's new for 2018

A new Touring Plus trim level joins as the entry-level Pacifica Hybrid model, while last year's trims, the Premium and Platinum, have been renamed Touring L and Limited, respectively. Blind-spot monitoring, an upgraded Uconnect infotainment system, HD radio and newly available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the board. A 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is added to the Limited's list of standard features, and the rear-seat Uconnect Theater system can stream video from connected Android devices. The navigation system now comes with 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity.

We recommend

We don't normally recommend buying the most expensive trim available, but in the case of the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, we think the fully loaded Limited offers the most bang for your buck. It doesn't cost much more than the Touring L, but it adds a substantial number of features. For not a whole lot more than the L, you get upgrades such as premium leather seating, an automated parking system, advanced driver assistance features, and a rear entertainment system with seat-mounted screens for the kids.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a three-row minivan that seats seven passengers. It's available in three well-equipped trim levels: Touring Plus, Touring L and Limited.

Under the hood of every Pacifica Hybrid is a 3.6-liter V6 engine augmented with dual electric motors (260 horsepower total); the system is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels. It can travel about 33 miles on electric power alone. After that, the V6 and normal hybrid operation take over. A 240-volt power supply can fully recharge the 16-kWh battery pack in about two hours.

Standard exterior features on the Touring Plus include 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillights, foglights, power-sliding doors, heated mirrors and keyless entry and ignition. Inside, you'll find an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), a driver information display, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, second-row power windows and a 60/40-split folding third-row seat.

Technology features include an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, voice commands, and a six-speaker audio system with HD and satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary jack. Standard driver aids include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. A power liftgate is available as a stand-alone option.

The Touring L adds the power liftgate, along with roof rails, remote engine start, an upgraded center console, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, and second- and third-row window shades.

Both Touring models can be ordered with a navigation system (which also adds 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity) and a rear-seat entertainment system, which includes a DVD player and an overhead display screen.

Upgrades to the top-level Limited are numerous. On the outside, the Limited adds automatic high beam control, automatic wipers, chrome trim, and hands-free operation for the sliding doors and liftgate. Inside, you'll find an auto-dimming mirror, adaptive cruise control, upgraded leather, a power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an automated parallel and perpendicular parking feature, the navigation system, a 20-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, and second- and third-row USB ports.

Passengers in back will also appreciate the Limited's added Blu-ray player, seatback video screens, a household-style power outlet, and wireless streaming from connected Android devices. Additional driver aids are also included, with front parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and a 360-degree parking camera added to the list. A panoramic sunroof and 18-inch wheels are optional.

Standard on the Limited and optional on the other models is a secondary driver key that Chrysler calls KeySense. Intended for younger drivers and valets, this key starts the car is a mode that limits top speed and volume, keeps all driver aids activated and restricts user-defined satellite radio channels.



Trim tested

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

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Pacifica Hybrid has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Pacifica Hybrid.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall

Comfort

3.5 / 5

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

Interior

4.5 / 5

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

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, and the Hybrid weighs more than a regular Pacifica. Even so, acceleration from a stop is brisk thanks to the added low-end torque output of the electric motors.

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 it's easy to maintain stability on the highway. But it communicates very little about what the wheels are doing when you're going around turns. 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

Shifting to L 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.

Comfort3.5

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

Seat comfort3.0

All three rows have firm padding, so you may not find the seats to be quite as comfortable as those on other minivans. The second- and third-row seats recline but don't slide forward or back for comfort. The second-row seats are just large enough for adults; the third row is most suitable for kids.

Ride comfort4.0

The Pacifica Hybrid 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 & vibration4.0

There is minimal road noise and only a small amount of wind noise created by the sideview mirrors at highway speeds. You get the bonus of quiet all-electric operation at low speeds, though the Hybrid's CVT makes the V6 engine drone noisily at full acceleration.

Climate control4.5

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.

Interior4.5

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 use4.5

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 out4.5

The front seats are mounted 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 position4.5

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 in your hands.

Roominess

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 by minivan standards. The third row is positively roomy against a Highlander Hybrid.

Visibility5.0

Massive windows, big mirrors and clear lines of sight make it very easy to see out of the Pacifica Hybrid. Blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera come standard, and a 360-degree surround-view camera is optional.

Quality3.0

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

The Pacifica Hybrid isn't the largest in class but 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 due to the battery pack. But the seats can be removed. The third-row seat folds into the floor when not in use.

Small-item storage5.0

The 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

Though not as roomy as gas-only minivans, the Pacifica Hybrid offers more cargo space than competing hybrid or EV crossovers. You get a massive 32.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which fold flat at the touch of a button.

Child safety seat accommodation3.5

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, according to Chrysler. For repeated runs to the home improvement emporium or just helping a neighbor move house, this will do nicely.

Technology

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.

Audio & navigation4.5

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

It's easy to plug in, boot up and index music quickly via the USB ports. No problems connecting devices via Bluetooth either. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard for 2018.

Driver aids3.5

A rearview camera, blind-spot monitor and rear parking sensors are 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.

Voice control4.0

The Pacifica Hybrid 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.