By on December 2, 2016

2017 chrysler pacifica hybrid

The Pacifica Hybrid started production today at Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant, alongside the venerable Dodge Grand Caravan and plain-Jane gas-powered Pacifica. It’s North America’s first-ever hybrid minivan and, thanks to that technology, also the most economical.

But will it bolster the segment and restore the minivan’s faded glory in these uncertain times? 

The Environmental Protection Agency found that the Pacifica was capable of much better mileage than what the company had conservatively estimated, yielding a combined score of 84 MPGe. While the number may not be record shattering in the plug-in hybrid universe, it easily makes this version of the Pacifica the most efficient minivan currently in existence.

Further EPA testing found that the Pacific plug-in’s electric-only range was 33 miles and that it had a total driving range of 566 miles, both notably higher than Chrysler had suggested. The increase is made possible by a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor mated to a 3.6-liter V6.

IHS Markit estimates sales of the hybrid minivan to average about 8,500 units, which roughly matches Novembers’s non-hybrid Pacifica numbers. Despite a serious slump in the last few months, the minivan segment grew consistently throughout 2016 — making it one of the best years the class has seen in a decade. There may be more room for the Pacifica Hybrid in North America than we realize (or substantially less if the recent downturn becomes a trend).

Regardless of the segment’s direction, FCA has remained minivan faithful. The company invested $744 million to reconfigure the Windsor plant for the Pacifica and its plug-in variant and spent $2.6 billion in total on vehicle development.

“Building the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Chrysler Pacifica with the traditional gas powertrain and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid on the same assembly line requires the expanded application of World Class Manufacturing methods and tools to ensure we deliver world class quality in every vehicle we make,” Brian Harlow, FCA’s North America head of manufacturing, said in an official statement.

FCA claims the Pacifica Hybrid will begin to arrive at dealerships over the next several months. Pricing begins at a not-so-cheap $43,090, including destination, but comes much better equipped than the base LX model. Taking into account the $7,500 federal rebate offered on electric cars, the minivan’s drops to a reasonable $35,590.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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55 Comments on “FCA Hits the Gas on the Most Fuel-efficient Minivan in U.S. History...”


  • avatar
    jberger

    Most hybrids require much less in terms of service items like Tires, Brakes, Oil Changes, etc due to the nature of the Hybrid itself.

    Tires are harder for reduced rolling resistance so the outlast a more performance related tire.

    Energy from braking it recaptured via regeneration instead of being disposed only as heat which reduces the need for Brake Pads, Rotors, etc.

    Now will an FCA Hybrid benefit? Given their current reliability ratings it’s hard to see the hybrid increasing the service costs.

    While not immediately in the market for the hybrid minivan, it will high on the list of vehicles we have on the list in 18-24 months. Our Quest minivan currently averages 15-16 around town, (it’s much higher on the interstate). So the fuel savings around town will be a big improvement.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m kind of surprised FCA doesn’t have a belly draggin 3 row crossover. I imagine this tech + platform would move a lot more units in that form factor.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, they kinda do – the Durango. Granted, it’s not a mom-mobile like a Pilot, but there you have it.

      My question would be what division would actually sell such a vehicle. the Dodge and Chrysler lineups are both a mess.

      Jeep CUV, maybe?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I was thinking of something like the Highlander/Pilot/Pathfinder. Cherokee = too compact; Durango = too RWD; JGC = too baby Range Rover; Journey = too much of a completely shameless subprime BHPH turd. A 5+”2″ crossover- basically this thing with hinged rear doors (hence the term belly dragger) and the hybrid powertrain would sell like hot cakes. People are not strong enough to buy the minivans they need, so FCA should sell them the goofy pointless 3 row crossovers they think they want.

        I think the 3 row crossover is a much bigger scourge than compact 2 rows. Those make a lot of sense. 3 rows are ugly and not much more practical if at all.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Belly draggin” may refer to some other attribute and or an established meme of which I’m ignorant…

      But if that pathetic POS in the photo isn’t belly draggin then it’s draggin its belly. Reckon that comes with the ballyhooed mpgs.

      Outrageous. Incapable of handling anything rougher than a putting green. And what must the ride be like on a suspension of such limited travel?

      OMG… read jberger’s comment… harder tires too? Not going to be a serene experience.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “IHS Markit estimates sales of the hybrid minivan to average about 8,500 units”

    @Matt: I assume that’s 8500 units per year?

    Their estimate seems a bit optimistic, because it means this PHEV would outsell every other PHEV except the Volt and Fusion Energi.

    • 0 avatar
      jeoff

      This will comfortably seat 7 adults and their luggage at the same price as its non-hybrid equivalent and currently has no competitors in the market place as either a Hybrid or a PHEV. The Volt realistically can fit 4 and the fusion 5 while losing a significant amount of luggage space–and the fuel savings by going PHEV in a van is much more significant than in a small to mid-sized sedan. If these things are put together reasonably well, they should sell very well.

  • avatar
    MostlyNormal

    I hate leaving this comment because it’s so cynical.

    But.

    This is like trumpeting the fastest typewriter of 2016.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    How does that 84 MPGe translate into Plain Jane MPG? Prius is rated at what? 60?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    If gas was 5 bucks a gallon, these might be a decent seller.
    At the current 2 bucks, I don’t see it.

    If someone is able to utilize the full $7500 tax credit, what is roughly the cost increment between the “regular” and “hybrid” versions similarly equipped?

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Pacifica sales at my dealership are three times what the Town & Country’s numbers were last year. The $44,000 version sells very well also.
    It has the best style of any current minivan on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Could careless about mini vans (DINK here) but this actually looks GOOD. Compared to my SIL’s Quest the Pacifica is down right sexy.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        You only like it cuz the springs are broke.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          Is this not the stock height? Other picts look similar. Do they lower the hybrid model slightly for better MPGs?

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “Is this not the stock height?”

            Presumably so. I was only kidding to protect you from the ugly truth:

            They *want* you to take this hobbled, spavined beast out onto America’s shattered roads and slam your spine over every pothole and pebble until you encounter a heaved expansion joint it can’t surmount.

            Because FE bragging.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I’m pretty sure it’s stock height. And yea, it’s a looker. Looks better than any 3 row crossover IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            OldManPants:

            Have you driven a Pacifica Hybrid or even a regular Pacifica so that you can back up your assertions that it’s going to ride horribly? If not, how would you know?

            Most of the articles I’ve read on the Pacifica seem complimentary of the ride and handling, why do you think it would be radically different on the PHEV model? The Autoblog road test of the PHEV model posted today seems to indicate the ride and handling is comparable to the non-hybrid model, FYI.

            Don’t you think the engineers would have considered the extra weight of the hybrid components and adjusted the spring and shock rates accordingly? Or is it just because it’s an FCA product that it’s impossible for them to do anything right in your opinion and evidenced by your other negative comments in this thread?

            For the record so you know my “bias”, I just bought a 2016 Challenger in late September and I love it. The ride and handling balance is brilliant even over the battered roads here in SE Michigan. I find it even more remarkable considering my car has the “Super Track Pak” (STP) option with lowered ride height, bigger wheels/tires and stiffer springs/shocks. I was a little concerned at first since I couldn’t find a V6 car with STP to test drive locally, but it turned out to be an excellent choice given real world performance and the other content included with STP for the price.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @Wheeljack

            Spot on.

            Enjoy your new car.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “even over the battered roads here in SE Michigan”

            *nyuk*

            That’s practically Florida.

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      This surprises me. The Pacifica’s styling doesn’t really light a fire in my heart. I like the previous T&C’s boxy, utilitarian look. It’s a workhorse and it doesn’t make any excuses for what it is – it’s a van. Vans, even snazzy ones, don’t have to look like streamilined steam engines from the 1930s.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Most people like the extra style. No reason a versatile, flexible vehicle needs to look boring
        Odd that you would prefer it that way.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        I share your opinion for the boxy “traditional” style of the old T&C. If the Odyssey hadn’t been, in mine and my wife’s eyes, a better vehicle, we’d have the Chrysler. Though even more dated now, I still like it. New Pacifica is fine, but I like the box for some reason.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m considering my choices for my next car. I keep my (new) cars a minimum of 8-10 years and now that the kids are out of the house, a roomy cruiser isn’t a bad way to get around. I’m/we’re still fairly active with hobbies that require hauling and we still have a minivan (GM U-body) that sees a lot of action.

    Something like this with a hybrid powertrain and lots of room is very appealing to me. With the reduced cost of fuel and (I would assume) maintenance, this could be a really good long term vehicle.

    While I’m glad FCA came out with this van, I still wonder why none of the Japanese makers sought to bring over their hybrid minivans? I really would have imagined Toyota would have had a good way to introduce one.

  • avatar
    nlinesk8s

    I have to wonder if manufacturers “lower” cars for publicity photos. The Pacifica pictured wouldn’t make it over the speed bumps in the mall parking lot. Does it have a “hump” function?

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Looks really good and the EV range is impressive. But as one commenter already noted with gas @ $2 a gallon the fuel savings won’t be huge. Same thing I told a buddy the other day when he said i just be laughing all the way to the bank with my Volt. I’ve burned a little over 20 gallons of gas to go 9500 miles.

    A few things that may sway buyers besides fuel costs:

    As others have noted, brakes should last almost indefinitely if it’s driven right. The aluminum rims on my 2013 Volt still look like brand new after 45K miles. No brake dust w/regenerative braking.

    Fewer oil changes. Again how few depend on how it’s driven

    The biggest seller will probably be how it drives while in EV mode. Once people taste electric bliss during a test drive over an ICE model that right there may close the deal.

  • avatar
    colin42

    I have to admit out of all the cars release over the past 2 years this is the one I’ve been looking forward to most. I have a volt today and it really is too small for my family of 4 even though we have squeezed into it for vacation trips. No one else offers an affordable comfortable size plug in hybrid vehicle.

    Now this might not make financial sense with gas price being so low but I’ve developed an irrational dislike for visiting the gas station.

    You can complain as much as you like about the tax credit, but just like Trump not paying income tax each year while the law allows this credit I and everyone else will take it.

    And from that point if the total purchase price of this is similar to a non hybrid with equivalent equipment why wouldn’t it sell?

    That being said, although I been looking forward to this van’s release I won’t be 1st in line to get one, as I’m a single car payment at a time kinda guy, and even then I’d be more likely to lease one due to the concern with FCA tech.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    As a new empty-nester, sometimes I miss the minivan, I like getting 40+ mpg in my c-max though. When the time comes to replace the C-Max, who knows? Maybe an 84 MPGe Pacifica might be in my future.

  • avatar
    Chetter

    Anyone know if this thing would qualify for an NY Clean Pass? If so, it will be on my short list.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Our Odyssey averages 15-17 mpg in the hills of Western PA and 90% city driving. While I’d rather see diesel power for real world torque, a diesel minivan in the US is a non-starter. So if Chrysler can give me the equivalent of 25mpg city or better, that’s a real improvement. We only drive about 10k a year, so it wouldn’t solely be worth it for fuel savings, but for the extra low-end of the electric motors.

    I’ll be very interested in Pacifica when the Oddys lease is up in 6 months

  • avatar
    furiouschads

    This is a great package. I have a Volt. Electric is great for short trips that are terrible for gas engines–like school drop offs, soccer practices, grocery/mall runs.

    If they programmed it like GM did with the Volt, it will have great stop light peel-out capacity.

    The tax credit makes them cost-competitive so ordinary buyers can give them a chance (if dealers do their job too). Gas engines benefit from decades of government subsidies so the credit helps even the playing field.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “great stop light peel-out capacity”

      With those school kids, grocery bags or soccer herd aboard?

      Jesus… car guys.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “This is a great package. I have a Volt. Electric is great for short trips that are terrible for gas engines–like school drop offs, soccer practices, grocery/mall runs.”

      That’s were a Volt really shines is those short trips where an ICE never has the chance to warm up fully. I said last week that I think a lot of people will buy these hybrid vans after they drive them in EV mode an experience electric bliss. The smooth, quiet, effortless torque is relaxing and addicting.

      Quiet is the “new” cool BTW!

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