2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited Review - Comfort Cruising

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited Fast Facts

3.6-liter V6 combined with dual electric motors (260 total system horsepower; torque N/A)
Electrically-variable automatic transmission, front-wheel drive
30 combined (EPA Rating, MPG); 82 combined (MPGe)
8.0 city, 7.9 highway, 8.0 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km); 2.9 Le/100km
Base Price
$45,845 (U.S) / $53,571 (Canada)
As Tested
$49,835 (U.S.) / $59,105(Canada)
Prices include $1,495 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 to $2,895 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.

Minivans are rarely sexy, but that won’t stop companies from trying to make them attractive, with varying degrees of success.

The gang in Auburn Hills decided that eye-pleasing design might help the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid capture sales. With that whole “hybrid” thing thrown in for a good measure of green cred.

The approach mostly worked, at least within the limitations that the van shape imposes on creativity. The Pacifica Hybrid is, dare I say, stylish.

It’s also quite competent, overall.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain combines a 3.6-liter V6 with dual electric motors and what Chrysler calls an electrically variable automatic transmission for 260 total horsepower. The van is front-wheel drive.

The system operates smoothly and seamlessly, but don’t expect this van to be a burner – it’s on the slower side when it comes to acceleration. It’s not quite a driver’s van, either – the handling is competent enough for suburban motoring, and it’s not completely devoid of personality, but it’s not as dialed in as a Honda Odyssey.

The ride, though, is another matter, walking the fine line between being comfortable and being too soft. Chrysler manages to avoid the latter – the ride is smooth while just firm enough. It’s a pleasant highway cruiser.

Which, really, is all a minivan really needs to be. We “car people” love so-called “driver’s vans” because we like to believe we won’t have to completely give up driving fun in the face of utility, but most minivan buyers don’t care a whit about that. A comfortable, compliant ride and enough steering feel to remind them that they aren’t dead inside just because they drive a minivan is all they really need.

The Pacifica delivers that. And it does so while looking good inside and out and offering up controls that are easy to read and use. Not to mention that in a very un-FCA/Stellantis move, most materials feel nice or at least class/price appropriate. Everything here just works easily.

I didn’t get a chance to plug in – charging where I live is difficult, to say the least, so I tend to rely on dead dino juice when testing a PHEV. For those who are curious – which is to say, probably all of you – the van gets an 82 MPGe combined city/highway rating and a 30 mpg combined city/highway rating when run on gas only. A 240-volt Level II charger will recharge the battery in as little as two hours. Regenerative braking is part of the system, and Chrysler promises a range of over 500 miles between fuel-tank fill-ups. The electric-only range is up to 30 miles.

Standard features included adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and rear cross-path detection, parking sensors, lane-departure warning plus, full-speed forward-collision warning plus, pedestrian/cyclist detection, rearview camera, brake assist, rain-sensing wipers, sliding second-row bucket seats, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, wireless device charging, navigation, 10.1-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot, panoramic sunroof, satellite radio, 18-inch wheels, LED head- and taillamps, power-folding mirrors, hands-free sliding side doors, a hands-free power liftgate, and a roof rack.

Options were limited to the $2,495 Theater Family Group (in-car camera, BluRay/DVD player with USB port, seatback video screens, wireless headphones, 115-volt outlet, and more). With destination ($1,495) the $45,845 base price became $49,835.

That’s not money to sneeze at, and one can get a family hauler, either minivan or crossover, with three rows for less. But you get what you pay for, and a well-thought-out/well-executed package is what you get here.

Now, if that could be said for certain other models in the Stellantis family…

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Tobiasfunkemd Tobiasfunkemd on Oct 21, 2021

    We own this exact model and trim level. We previously owned a 2014 Sienna LE AWD - we averaged about 19 mpg in the Toyota, while this gets easily 30 mpg without a charge. My wife uses battery only during the week, and with our level 2 charger it takes about 90 minutes to get to 100%. The interior is head and shoulders above Toyota - feels more luxurious and more refined.

  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Oct 25, 2021

    Just spent a weekend driving a rental gas-only 2020 Limited all around the Raleigh-Durham, NC area, much of the time with 5 or 7 people aboard. Positives: Airy space and great upscale atmosphere for passengers in all three rows, incredible level of feature content, nice styling for a van, comfy front seats, quiet and smooth ride. Negatives: 9-speed transmission likes to add unnecessary roughness to driving, Stow-N-Go second-row seats aren't comfortable for adults, handling has a lot in common with a '75 Mark IV, materials weren't holding up all that great after 43k miles of rental-car use. The hybrid would address the first two complaints, but would worsen handling (more weight) and wouldn't change material durability. By comparison to this van, my 2016 Highlander with 62k miles of kid abuse looked significantly newer inside.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.