2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited Review - Comfort Cruising
2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited Fast Facts
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]
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- Styles I had a PHEV, and used to charge at home on a standard 3-pin plug (240v is standard here in NZ). As my vehicle is a company car I could claim the expense. Now we are between houses and living at the in-laws, and I'm driving a BEV, I'm charging either at work (we have a wall-box, and I'm the only one with an EV), or occasionally at Chargenet stations, again, paid by my employer.
- Dwford 100% charge at home.
- El scotto Another year the Nissan Rogue is safe.
- John R 4,140 lbs...oof. A quick google of two cars I'm familiar with:2017 Ford Fusion Sport - AWD, twin-turbo 2.7 V6 (325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque)3,681 lbs2006 Dodge Charger RT - RWD, naturally aspirated 5.7 V8 (340 horsepower and 390 lb. -ft. of torque)4,031 lbs
- FreedMike Ford "Powershudder" DCT? Hard pass...with extreme prejudice. The only people who liked these were the class-action lawyers. With a manual, it'd be a different story.
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.
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.