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Kuyper: Pacifica's hybrid unique in minivan market

A 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower V6 engine is mated to a shiftable nine-speed automatic transmission in the three-row, seven-passenger 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. The engine works in concert with a lithium-ion battery pack to create a minivan that can average 30 miles per gallon of fuel usage.
A 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower V6 engine is mated to a shiftable nine-speed automatic transmission in the three-row, seven-passenger 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. The engine works in concert with a lithium-ion battery pack to create a minivan that can average 30 miles per gallon of fuel usage.

Chrysler’s Pacifica continues to impress. After replacing the Town & Country as the company minivan in 2017, the Pacifica improved in amenities, features and power appointments.

By adding a plug-in hybrid powerplant to the lineup, the three-row, front-wheel-drive Pacifica became the most economical of minivans on the market. The plug-in hybrid is good for 30 miles without the gasoline engine kicking in. If the driver exhausts the hybrid component, he or she does not have to worry. When “empty,” the battery system seamlessly and automatically engages the gasoline engine.

Employing the battery exclusively means drivers can do short trips to drop children off at school, take them to neighborhood activities and do a little shopping without paying a dime for gasoline.

Recharging can take from two to 14 hours depending on use of a 120- or 240-volt electrical outlet.

On trips using only gasoline, the Pacifica is capable of averaging 32 mpg on the highway with several persons aboard and some cargo. Driving habits, weather, road conditions and vehicle maintenance play a part in usage.

Fuel usage for non-hybrid minivan competitors is in the 20 to 25 mpg range.

Sight lines are good, seats are sumptuous and leg room is adequate. A class-exclusive “Easy Tilt Seating” system lets passengers access the third row with the lift of a lever.

Chrysler’s patented Stow ’n’ Go feature is missing in the hybrid model, as that space is taken up with the lithium-ion battery pack.

Although the tested hybrid was a seven-seater with captain’s chairs in the second row with an aisle between, the gasoline-only Pacifica can be ordered as an eight-seater.

The hybrid components paired with a 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower double overhead cam V-6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission can tow a 3,600-pound trailer.

The tested seven-seat hybrid Pacifica was a loaded Limited (replaced the Platinum name as the top-of-the-line model) with an asking price of $44,995. The price for the Platinum/Limited has not changed in the past two years.

Although the Limited is loaded, the less-expensive Touring L hybrid model also includes remote start, leather trim, keyless entry, dashboard pushbutton start and stop, hands-free telephone, hill start assist and a sound system, including AM-FM-satellite radio, compact disc and MP3 players, auxiliary ports besides the USB port and zoned climate controls.

The latest in satellite radio, infotainment system, Bluetooth, hands-free phone technology is on board. See a dealer for details.

Beside the usual power windows, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and door locks, the Limited also includes power liftgate, three-zone sunroof and shade.

A rear-seat entertainment system is part of a $1,595 option package. The advice is to buy it. The UConnect theater package with wireless streaming has two screens in the front-seat headrests. It is part of the 20-speaker, 760-watt, Harrmon Kardon sound system. That option package also replaces 17-inch alloy wheels with 20 inchers and adds a 120-volt auxiliary power outlet, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, a 360-degree surround view camera system, Blu-Ray DVD player and a half dozen safety features such as lane departure and collision warnings, parallel and perpendicular park assist and adaptive cruise control.

Pacifica is unique as there is no other plug-in hybrid minivan on the market.

There are two differences between the hybrid and the gas-only Pacifica. The hybrid is limited to seating for seven, not eight. And the hybrid cannot store the second row seats into a cavity. They can be folded but not stored to create a flat floor from tailgate to front seats

FAST FACTS

Vehicle: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

Type: front-wheel-drive, seven-passenger, three-row minivan

Price: $44,995

Power: 3.6-liter, 260-horsepower double overhead cam V-6 engine, two synchronous AC electric motors for lithium-ion battery pack

Transmission: nine-speed shiftable automatic

Towing: 3,600 pounds

Fuel: regular unleaded

Fuel tank: 16.5 gallons

Weight: 5,125 pounds

Wheelbase: 121.6 inches

Length: 203.6 inches

Width: 79.6 inches

Height: 69.9 inches

Leg room: 41.1 inches front, 39 inches rear

Cargo: 32.3 cubic feet all seats in place, 98.5 cubic feet maximum

Tires (Michelin Premium 235), wheels (seven-spoke aluminum polished): 18-inch

Brakes: discs

Assembly: Windsor, Ontario Province, Canada

Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles, 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain, 5 years/100,000 miles roadside assistance

Information: www.chrysler.com/Pacifica

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