Chrysler Pacifica Minivan: Conventional or Hybrid?

The Chrysler Pacifica is a minivan, a front-wheel-drive model with room for seven or eight. It’s also the only model in its segment offered as a hybrid, which gives it a distinct fuel efficiency advantage over the competition. Whether considering the standard or hybrid version, the Chrysler Pacifica is one of the most modern vehicles of its kind.

Now in its third model year, the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid return unchanged.

Design: exterior & interior

Minivans began replacing wagons in the 1980s as the family vehicle of choice. Interior flexibility and ample storage compartments were among the chief selling points of this new breed of vehicle.

For the next two decades, a variety of manufacturers joined in with their own entries, but no company has been as successful as Chrysler.

The current crop of minivans has evolved as these models have grown in size, added weight, and expanded amenities. Like competing models from Toyota, Honda, and Kia, the Chrysler Pacifica is a four-door model with a huge liftgate. The front doors are hinged just like in a sedan. The rear doors ride on a track and slide back to the rear roof pillar for ease of access to the second and third rows.

Among the distinguishing characteristics of the Chrysler is its long, narrow upper grille and larger lower grille. The teardrop-shaped headlamps are accented by LED lights. Front to back, the long profile features a high beltline, a falling roofline, and handsome character lines and chrome embellishments.

Inside, Chrysler quickly demonstrates why its minivan is second to none. Standard models feature “stow ’n go” seating, where the second- and third-row seats fold completely into the floor. In hybrid models, the second-row seats don’t stow as the electric battery is located under the floor beneath that seat.

The front seats are plush and supportive, giving the driver a commanding presence of the road. Standard cloth seats with eight-way power driver support are found on most models. Upgrades include leather seats with front passenger adjustment. Other available features include full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, three-zone climate control, multiple storage compartments, and more than a dozen drink holders.

Chrysler offers the standard Pacifica in six trims, with prices ranging from $26,995 to $44,445. The Pacifica Hybrid is available in three trims, with prices starting at $39,995 and reaching $45,395. Hybrid shoppers may be eligible to claim a $7,500 federal tax credit and whatever state and local incentives are available.

Technology & safety

What’s a new car if it’s devoid of the latest technologies? A very sad place to be, that’s what. Fortunately, Chrysler equips most models with a suite of tech features, beginning with an available 8.4-inch color touchscreen display. The tablet-like layout offers clear and crisp controls and is easy to use.

Other features include Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto smartphone compatibility, satellite and HD Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, six speakers, and multiple USB ports. Upgrades include navigation, a rear entertainment system, and 13- or 20-speaker audio systems.

Families will be naturally drawn to the DVD entertainment system with its single rear overhead DVD player. You can also upgrade to the Uconnect Theater with Wireless Streaming, which brings in a pair of 10-inch seatback touch screens, wireless headphone, and video remote controls. Enjoy peace of mind while driving as your children watch their favorite movies.

Top-trim models offer an Advanced SafetyTec Group package with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and advanced brake assist. This package also has parking assistance and warning, and supplies a surround view camera for an expanded view around the vehicle.


Conventional and hybrid Pacifica models alike have a 3.6-liter V6 engine. The standard model makes 287 horsepower and sends power to the front wheels by means of a 9-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid makes 260 horsepower and utilizes a continuously variable transmission.

The hybrid also adds a battery pack, which allows it to run on electric-only power for up to 33 miles. A plug-in port located on the driver’s side near the front wheel well supplies an easy connection to replenish the battery. Full charges are completed within a few hours.

Both models offer ample step-off acceleration and generous passing power. Handling is spot on, the ride is comfortable and braking is firm on the conventional model, although it feels squishy in the hybrid. When the electric mode is selected, the hybrid system shuts down the engine and cruises along on electric power. Under hard acceleration, the engine comes alive and joins the electric motor to hasten the Pacifica. Our real-world testing of both models reveals the efficiency edge of the hybrid, which averages about 30 mpg to the 22 mpg for the standard model.

Our recommendation

While both the conventional and hybrid model share many features and amenities, our pick here is the hybrid. Its higher starting price shouldn’t be a negative factor as the base trim level for the hybrid equals the middle trims of the standard model. Further, federal and state tax assistance will lower your costs further.

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