2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Performance


#3 out of 6 in 2017 Minivans

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.8

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is not only one of the most fuel-efficient minivans money can buy, but it's also one of the most thrilling behind the wheel. Its hybrid powertrain delivers plenty of grunt for daily driving. The ride is smooth and comfortable, and it's decently nimble around corners, especially compared to some other minivans that lumber through turns.

  • "Drop the minivan stereotypes because the Pacifica is fun to drive." -- Motor Trend
  • Handling remains good, though there is a bit more noticeable body roll due to the added weight. It wasn't enough for me to be dissuaded though; I really enjoyed piloting the Pacifica Hybrid around." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The all-new 2017 Pacifica Hybrid is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine paired with two electric motors that combined generate 260 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic, is standard.

The Pacifica Hybrid is in fact a plug-in hybrid, which means you can charge it at home and drive up to 33 miles using only electricity. Using the standard level 1 charger and a 120-volt outlet, the battery pack will be fully charged in around 14 hours. Opting for the available level 2 charger and a 240-volt outlet will recharge the batteries in around two hours.

No other minivan is as fuel-efficient as the Pacifica Hybrid, which gets up to 84 mpg-equivalent (learn What Mpg-e Means). The gas-only Pacifica is a distant second for fuel efficiency, getting 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Unlike most plug-in hybrids, you can't choose between regular hybrid mode or electric-only mode. Instead, the vehicle automatically switches between power sources to provide the right amount of power as you drive. While the system seamlessly switches between modes, some drivers might miss the option to choose based upon their driving habits.

In the city, the electric motors deliver brisk acceleration for pulling away from a traffic light, while on the highway the gas engine gives you more power for merging with traffic.

  • "Though the Pacifica Hybrid is substantially heavier than a standard version, it doesn't drive that way. In electric mode, in city traffic, this minivan is downright quick, squirting away from intersections with a silent whir. On the highway, the blended plug-in hybrid powertrain is designed to activate the gasoline V-6 whenever extra oomph is prescribed. Everything works seamlessly, and because the Pacifica Hybrid ditches the standard model's 9-speed automatic transmission, there is no waiting for a downshift." -- New York Daily News
  • "The hybrid system is designed to automatically and seamlessly engage the gas engine when needed; no action is required by the driver. If it weren't for graphics showing where power is coming from, the changing power source would be imperceptible." -- Motor Trend
  • "One criticism we have is that the driver cannot manually select hybrid or electric mode, as most PHEVs allow -- the Pacifica always uses its battery first before switching to gas power. There are times when it's better to delay electric operation. Say you live in the sticks and work in the city. In this situation, it would be most efficient to drive the highway in hybrid mode and switch to battery power for stop-and-go city traffic. The Pacifica Hybrid won't let you do that, and in our opinion, this is a major flaw." -- Autotrader

Handling and Braking

You may not think of minivans as very thrilling to drive, but the Pacifica Hybrid's combination of a low-mounted battery pack (giving it a low center of gravity) and well-tuned suspension makes it one of the lithest minivans on the market. Even if you don't plan on taking the minivan to a track – please don't try to – the Pacifica Hybrid's sharp handling will help keep the van on its wheels and not its side should you find yourself needing to suddenly dodge something in the road. The power steering is particularly sharp, which makes it easy to maneuver around parking lots or to stay centered in your lane at higher speeds.

Most hybrids have regenerative brakes rather than traditional friction brakes. Regenerative brakes use the vehicle's forward momentum to help recharge the battery pack. In many models, regen brakes feel squishy or grabby. In the Pacifica Hybrid, though, they feel much more like traditional brakes, and they deliver plenty of stopping power.

The Pacifica Hybrid has front-wheel drive, so if you need the added traction you get from all-wheel drive, consider the Toyota Sienna, which is the only minivan available with all-wheel drive.

  • "The hybrid's ride and handling are much the same as that of the gas-powered Pacifica. Chrysler engineers increased spring rates to accommodate the hybrid's claimed 613-pound weight gain, and it appears to have done the trick, as the hybrid's smooth ride and confident body control were similar to the standard model's. As with the nonhybrid, steering is light and vague on-center, but this minivan is easy to maneuver around town and requires few corrections to keep tracking straight on the highway." -- Car and Driver
  • "As we said of the gasoline-powered Pacifica, it's possibly the best-handling minivan thus far made. … You will notice that this large and practical minivan doesn't necessarily plow its way through corners unless you really push it hard. Fore and aft motion is likewise nicely controlled compared to previous Chrysler minivans. You're not going to autocross it but you at least won't have to worry about it flopping over on its door handles in mildly spirited cornering." -- Autoweek
  • "Normally, such systems produce artificial brake pedal feel and inconsistent braking response, but not in this Chrysler. It stops smoothly and supplies natural pedal feel and modulation." -- New York Daily News

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