Finally! It’s here! The first plug-in hybrid minivan, and it’s everything I want it to be in a minivan and a plug-in hybrid.
First, let me say that I have driven the gasoline-only version of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan and loved it. The gas-only version starts around $28,595 and gets an EPA estimated fuel economy of 18 city / 28 highway. I got 18 miles per gallon (MPG) when I drove the minivan.
I am left wondering why anyone would buy a 2017 Chrysler Minivan gasoline version. The plug-in version that I drove around the Topanga Canyon, Santa Monica pier, and Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) got 38 miles per gallon.
The product people, engineers, and designers gave us an overview of the plug-in minivan, including the two electric motors, and the one-way clutch.
John Gibson talked to Driving the Nation about the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric vehicle. He spoke of the gasoline getting old, and why there was a difference in the warranty between States. We found out that it takes fourteen hours to fully charge the minivan if you use 110-volt, and two hours if you use level two charging.
I have to admit, I already had my mind made up, and was just waiting for the money and mpg numbers to confirm the fact that I would buy a plug-in hybrid Pacifica.
The second-row seats are not stow-n-go because Chrysler had to find somewhere to put the 16-kWh battery pack. The third row is still an easy to fold stow-n-go seat. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s advanced powertrain is given an estimated 30 miles of all-electric range, 530 miles of total range and 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in city driving.
I could tell you all about the dual-motor eFlite electrically variable transmission (EVT) that is mated with a specially modified version of the upgraded 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine that can produce 287 hp (214 kW) @ 6,400 rpm with 262 lb.-ft. (355 N•m) @ 4,000 rpm (there were no numbers given for the torque that combined the gas and electric), but the big news is the low-end torque the battery pack produces that gets you up those hills with power left over. That is the difference in drivability between the gasoline version, and the plug-in hybrid minivan, the low-end torque is fabulous!
I drove the Platinum edition ($44,995), but there is also a Premium version ($41,995). With the $7,500 federal tax credit the Pacifica hybrid can start as low as $34,995. Depending on how much you make, whether your income is less than 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit, you can receive from $1,500 and more. I look at the difference in price, and the fact that I got 38.7 mpg versus 18 mpg on the gas version and it becomes a no-brainer to me.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will be available in dealer showrooms beginning in the second half of 2016 and is built at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Expect the minivan to be marketed heavily in California where Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations are strict, and the car companies have to buy credits if they don’t make a vehicle that meets them. Some people think it’s unfair, until they go through the San Joaquin Valley on a bad day and the air is as thick as air in China. I happen to love the regulations because it brings out such beautiful cars as the Chrysler Pacific plug-in hybrid.