When Chrysler introduced the new Pacifica minivan as a replacement for its Town and Country model, it also said there would be a plug-in hybrid version, marking a new first for minivans.
The standard Pacifica has done well for Chrysler, earning both acclaim and sales due to its modern look, smart features and general practicality.
The Pacifica Hybrid builds on all the winning features of the standard Pacifica, but adds a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, complementing its V6 engine with electric propulsion.
While the hybrid drivetrain gives the Pacifica Hybrid superior fuel economy, its main downside is the elimination of fold-flat middle row seats. To gain the entire cabin cargo area, owners will need to remove the middle row.
Although the Pacifica Hybrid weighs about 600 pounds more than its gasoline-only counterpart, the drive experience still feels smooth.
The plug-in hybrid drivetrain gives the Pacifica Hybrid about 30 miles of pure electric range, enough for most suburban errands. When the battery runs down, it switches smoothly to full hybrid mode, affording hundreds of miles of range.
Chrysler only sells the Pacifica Hybrid in two well-equipped trims, Premium and Platinum. Base price starts at $14,000 over the gasoline-only version's base price, but the equipment level is much greater.
Smooth body styling gives the Pacifica modern appeal.
The Pacifica Hybrid is front-wheel-drive only.
A 16 kilowatt-hour battery pack sits low in the center of the minivan, increasing stability.
Power sliding doors make for easy cabin access to middle and third row seating.
The charging port sits on the left front fender.
The Pacifica Hybrid can be charged from a 110-volt outlet or a 220-volt outlet through a standard electric vehicle charging plug.
The engine combines with two electric motors for an estimated 260 horsepower.
Fuel economy in gasoline-electric mode comes in at about 32 mpg, but electric drive time will increase that number.