When Clean Fleet Report first reviewed the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid in 2017, we called it “the best seven-passenger choice.” This conclusion was more obvious than bold and remains for the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. This is the best choice for families seeking a vehicle that can seat seven, which includes adults (not little kids) in the third-row seat.
Before going any further, let’s get the “I will never drive a minivan” thing out of the way. After you test drive all the seven-passenger SUV and van options—and there are many—if a spacious cabin, ease of access and stellar fuel economy interest you, there will be only one choice.
Hybrid Is the Key
As the first and only hybrid minivan on the market, the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has earned its positive press and owner comments. What owners rave about is fuel economy greater than the EPA estimate. Our experience was the same.
In Photo 1, the dash read-out of 41.7 all-electric miles was at 99.1 mpg. The significance of this is that the Pacifica Hybrid is rated at an all-electric range of 33 miles. Photo 2 shows a 105.3-mile trip with 55.0 miles in all-electric and 50.3 miles in hybrid mode. In both photos the icon in the upper right corner indicates we drained the battery.
What is demonstrated by these two photos is that in real-world driving, the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will get you further down the road, at much less cost, than any other seven-passenger vehicle on the road. Might as well throw-in most cars on the road, regardless how many people they can seat.
How It Works
The front-wheel drive Pacifica Hybrid has a powertrain consisting of a gasoline-powered 3.6-liter Atkinson cycle V6 and two electric motors, all mated to a nine-speed automatic. Using 87 octane fuel, there is a total system of 260 hp combined. The EPA rates fuel economy at 19 mpg city/28 highway/32 combined with an impressive 84 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). MPGe is an EPA measurement of how far a car can travel, electrically, on the same amount of energy as is contained in 1 gallon of gasoline. In our 105.3-mile trip, documented above, Clean Fleet Report achieved a combined 46.0 mpg.
As stated earlier, no minivan or SUV equals these numbers. Not even close.
Common on all hybrids is a regenerative braking system, which recharges the Pacifica’s 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. Regenerative braking converts braking or coasting into electricity, with the battery charge and mileage range metered instantly by dash gauges. So, driving around town, stuck in stop-and-go rush hour freeway traffic or coasting down hills will recharge your battery.
The advantage of the Pacifica being a plug-in hybrid is that when the battery is fully charged, the first 33 miles you drive produce zero emissions. Clean Fleet Report experienced a far greater all-electric range of 47.1 miles.
After this all-electric driving range is exhausted, the Pacifica is powered by the gasoline/hybrid system. A welcome addition would be for Chrysler to add a small generator to replenish the Li-ion battery while driving in gasoline or hybrid mode. This way you could store a battery charge, allowing the ability to drive in all-electric mode at your discretion.
Plug-in charging can be scheduled for off-peak hours to save on electricity costs. The 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger will replenish an empty battery to the maximum 33 miles driving range in about two hours using a 240-volt Level 2 charger. Expect about 14 hours to charge with a regular 120-volt household outlet. The Pacifica Hybrid does not have a Level 3 DC fast-charger.
The bottom line is the Pacifica Hybrid has an estimated 570-mile total driving range. San Diego to San Francisco? Charlotte to Orlando? Yep, all on one tank plus a full electric charge.
Driving Experience: On the Road
Clean Fleet Report drove the 2019 Pacifica Hybrid Limited S, with a curb weight of 4,987 pounds. The ride was as smooth as would be expected for a two ton-and-a-half vehicle, with wind gusts or passing big rigs not having any affect on stability. The electric rack-and-pinion steering was tuned to leave sufficient road feedback, making cornering flat and in control. Any minor body roll from pushing on the tightest corners was easily manageable. A low center of gravity, thanks to the batteries being located under the floor, and the 235/60R/18 all-season Nexen tires, provided good grip. The overall drivability and behind-the-wheel time in the Pacifica Hybrid was a pleasant experience.
Stopping was straight, with the four-wheel power-assisted disc, anti-lock brakes being easy to modulate. As part of the regenerative charging system, more aggressive regenerative braking can be achieved by setting the drive mode to the L position. Doing so results in feeling the braking more than if in the D, drive mode.
Completing the stopping suite was brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control and Rainy Day Braking. Rainy Day Braking is a helpful technology that lightly applies the brake pads whenever the windshield wipers are turned on. This helps keep the rotors dry during wet weather for more efficient braking, aiding in shorter and more controlled stops.
Driving Experience: Exterior
The Pacifica Hybrid Limited S is a new trim level for 2019. The S appearance package includes gloss black accents throughout the exterior, including grille surrounds and eyebrow accents on the headlamps. There are gloss black Chrysler wing badges on the front and rear, with “Pacifica” and “S” rear badges. The 18-inch gloss black wheels are sharp.
The 2019 Pacifica Hybrid’s wide and low stance (5.1-inches of ground clearance) cuts a silhouette that makes people say it doesn’t look like a minivan. The smooth exterior design, with a very low 0.298 drag coefficient (Cd), begins with LED headlights that extend wide on the fenders. Fog lamps are set low in the fascia. Chrome accents? Well, there are none on the S model.
The roof has rack rails, a body color-keyed shark fin antenna, a tri-pane panoramic sunroof and a built-in spoiler over the rear hatch, leading to the LED tail lights. The low lift-over means loading items as large as a 4×8 sheet of plywood into the interior bed is an easy task.
Driving Experience: Interior
Clean Fleet Report drove the 2019 Pacifica Hybrid Limited S with the optional Customer Preferred, UConnect Theater packages and the Advanced Safety Tech Group. The cockpit layout is simple and clean, with soft touch materials on the dash and door panels. The easy to find and reach cruise, telephone and audio controls are housed on the leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel. The heated and ventilated Nappa leather front seats are adorned with an embroidered “S” to indicate the S trim level. The front seats are eight-way power adjustable with memory.
Clean Fleet Report are big fans that the radio had on/off knobs for volume and channel selecting, and the climate control wheel was a different size than those of the radio. The simplicity of the dash layout made easy-reading of the gauges and the full-color driver information display. The center cluster includes charging and battery information, displaying the power flow from battery to the engine; engine to the wheels, and back into the battery during regenerative braking.
Another nice touch on the dash, which opens up cockpit space and reduces clutter, are the gear selector (a large wheel) and the electronic parking brake (piano switch), located side-by-side and next to the radio knobs. The well thought-out dash is elegant in its design, as is the complete interior.
The UConnect Theater Package included an 8.4-inch touch screen for 3-D GPS navigation and the rear-view camera display. A great sounding Alpine audio system, with a 760-watt amplifier and 20 Harmon Kardon amplified speakers, controls the AM/FM/HD, with SiriusXM (one-year subscription included.) There is a Blu-ray/DVD player with an USB video port. You also get Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, aux-in jacks, multiple USB ports, 115-volt power outlet and Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free telephone. The 4G LTE Wi-Fi is a must for keeping those second-row passengers occupied (and quiet) on long family road trips.
For the second row (in captain’s chair configuration), passengers get individual high-definition multimedia 10-inch seat-back video screens with HDMI ports. The three-channel, wireless headphones and Bluetooth touchpad remote controls make for an uncluttered entertainment experience. The third-row passengers get a USB charge port and cup holders. Those third-row seats quickly and easily flip forward and down, hiding under the floor. When down, the storage space is impressive and very usable.
The list of convenience features on the Pacifica Hybrid Limited S is what would be expected. You get power everything, including twin sliding doors, rear lift gate and exterior mirrors. The power panoramic sunroof opens the skies through-out the cabin, while the second-row passengers get side window sunshades.
Clean Fleet Report’s 2019 Pacifica Hybrid came with a good combination of safety features, including 12 air bags, remote keyless entry, push button and remote start, hill start assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, rear parking assist with auto stop, anti-theft engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system and the before-mentioned four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist.
The optional Advanced Safety Tech Group package included rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and the very helpful surround view camera system. This system provides a 360-degree bird’s-eye view on the 8.4-inch screen, as if looking down at your car’s positioning. This is extremely useful when parking.
The Pacifica Hybrid has not been rated National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, the non-hybrid Pacifica has earned these top safety ratings from each organization. NHTSA 2019 Pacifica and IIHS 2019 Pacifica.
Pricing and Warranties
The 2019 Pacifica Hybrid Hybrid comes in three models, with these base MSRP.
Touring Plus — $41,995
Touring L — $44,995
Limited — $45,545
The 2019 Pacifica Hybrid comes with these warranties.
- Battery — 10 years/100,000 miles
- Hybrid System — 10 years/100,000 miles
- Basic — Three years/36,000 miles
- Powertrain — Five years/60,000 miles
Observations: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited S
Knowing that most minivan owners are running in-town errands and hauling their kids and their kid’s friends everywhere and anywhere, the Pacifica Hybrid is engineered to go the first 33 miles on pure electricity. This range conceivably means that all those short trips could be made without burning any gasoline. As long as the Pacifica Hybrid is plugged-in each night, you are ready again for another fun day of sports practice and grocery store runs.
But the Pacifica Hybrid isn’t just for around town jaunts. Where it really shines is on the open road, where the family can go hundreds and hundreds of miles in extreme comfort. With available rear seat personal video screens with wireless remotes and headphones, and storage space to handle whatever a family would want to carry, hearing the words, “Hey honey, grab the kids and let’s head for the mountains” is no more daunting than driving to the corner store for milk and eggs.
Chrysler has made getting into the fuel economy, class-leading Pacifica Hybrid a three-model choice. There is a $3,550 price difference between the Touring Plus and Limited models. Opting for the Limited trim line is worth the investment considering the additional features that are packed into this package. If you really want to max-out your Pacifica Hybrid, order the S package and the panoramic sunroof. The Pacifica Hybrid qualifies for federal and state tax credits, so your final price could be significantly lower than sticker.
The “I will never drive a minivan” statement loses much of its steam and credibility after actually driving the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
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Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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