2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Performance


#3 out of 6 in 2018 Minivans

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.6

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid accelerates quickly and gets top-tier fuel economy estimates for a minivan. Its handling is poised through turns and its ride is smooth, which will keep your passengers comfortable.

  • Whether you want to evaluate using minivan or hybrid standards, the Pacifica Hybrid performs well. It's considerably heavier because of its hybrid componentry, but you won't notice it much in everyday driving. Acceleration is decent, and it's easy to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • "Drop the minivan stereotypes because the Pacifica is fun to drive." -- Motor Trend (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Pacifica Hybrid comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine and two electric motors that combine to make 260 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic, is standard. The electric motors generate ample torque as soon as the gas pedal is pressed, providing quick acceleration, especially when pulling away from a stop. At highway speeds, the gas engine provides extra power for merging and overtaking traffic.

You can plug in the Pacifica Hybrid to get up to 33 miles of range using electricity alone and 84 mpg-equivalent. When the charge runs out and the gasoline engine kicks in, fuel economy drops to 32 mpg combined. Both figures are excellent for a minivan. The gas-only Pacifica is second best in the class, earning 22 mpg combined.

The standard level 1 charger and a 120-volt outlet will charge the hybrid batteries in around 14 hours. With an available level 2 charger and a 240-volt outlet, the batteries will be full in just about two hours.

  • "There's only a total of 260 hp on tap, and the Hybrid weighs more than a regular Pacifica. Even so, acceleration from a stop is brisk thanks to the added low-end torque output of the electric motors." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel-drive Pacifica Hybrid has a smooth ride, even over bumpy stretches of pavement. While this minivan isn't exactly sporty, it is stable and composed around turns. That's important when you're transporting your most precious cargo and you need to swerve around an unexpected hazard. The laid-back steering makes it easy to cruise at high speeds and maneuver at low speeds.

Like most hybrids, the Pacifica Hybrid has regenerative brakes that use the spinning momentum of the wheels to recharge the batteries while simultaneously slowing the van before traditional brakes take over. Regenerative brakes are frequently derided as feeling mushy when the pedal is pushed, though the Pacifica Hybrid's feel much more like traditional friction brakes.

  • "The Pacifica Hybrid goes down the road comfortably and with poise. It's seldom bothered by small or large road imperfections. Dipping a wheel into a pothole sends a shudder through the cabin, but there's little jostle when the wheel returns." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2017)
  • "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 (2017)

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