It’s been almost 35 years since the Chrysler company released the Dodge Caravan, and when it arrived on the market, it redefined what a family vehicle should be. It gave us space, utility, and most of all, needed transport for larger families. It’s also responsible for making the traditional station wagon all but extinct. And while the concept of the minivan has taken many shapes over the years, no one has ever done it better then the company who invented it, as evidenced by the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Exterior
When the Pacifica was released in the beginning of 2017, Chrysler once again made the automotive world take notice. Gone were the boxy slab-sided lines of the previous generations, and in their place now resides an organic shape free of sharp edges. The body is smooth, with cascading panels that give it a soft elegance never before seen in this segment. The sliding door tracks, for instance, are now hidden from view. The rear hatch utilizes the perfect amount of blacked-out trim and tint, which make the Pacifica appear smaller than its overall length would dictate. The 18-inch alloy wheels wearing 235/60-series tires fit perfectly under the wheel arches, and when seen covered in Chrysler’s Billet Silver Metallic, the Pacifica is quite handsome.
Unlike other manufacturers, Chrysler has not slathered the Pacifica with hybrid badges. Instead the designers included a tasteful small teal leaf on the front charge port, a Hybrid badge on the lower portion of the rear tailgate, and teal Chrysler logos both front and rear. One of the nicest design elements incorporated into the Pacifica (aside from the wave-pattern grille) are the use of an oversized windshield and a low beltline, that when combined, supply great outward visibility to all those inside. The front end is smooth, with integrated auxiliary driving lights in the lower front fascia, brushed trim and projector beam headlamps. Up top, there are nicely incorporated roof rails, and a small lip spoiler that sits atop the automatic rear lift gate. All in all, Chrysler has done an exceptional job with the Pacifica’s overall styling.
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Interior
With room for seven, Stow n’ Go third row fold-flat seats along with a versatility factor that goes unmatched in the segment, the 2018 Pacifica Hybrid is able to whatever chore you choose to throw at it. It’s a vehicle that exists solely to make your life easier and more comfortable. Enter the cabin, and you’re treated to a variety of leather-covered surfaces, soft-touch plastics, and touches of brushed and high gloss finishes. Along with all day comfort and support, the 12-way adjustable front seats offer heat and ventilation. As this is the hybrid, the second row loses the Stow n’ Go capability (the batteries have to go somewhere), but can be removed all together if the need arises. Thankfully the third row seats fold flat and allow for up to 87.5 cubic-feet of cargo space or 140.5 cubic feet is available with the second row removed.
Our test Pacifica was equipped with the optional UConnect 4C Theater and Sound group, which means it included a 115v AC outlet, the Harman Kardon 20 speaker stereo with 760-watt amp, and a Blu-ray/DVD player, as well as seatback video screens. And with access through Chrysler’s UConnect 8.4-inch touchscreen Nav display, staying connected is a piece of cake. This is where, aside from a standard backup camera, you’ll find access to your music and entertainment options, vehicle settings, three-zone climate control system, available 4g Wi-Fi, and the UConnect Hybrid pages.
As you’d expect, the dash of the Pacifica Hybrid is laid out differently than that of standard models. Set dead center is a large digital screen that has configurable readouts for a host of information. Things like speed, overall range, fuel economy, battery life and EV range, trip meter and even your radio stations can all be seen here and are accessed via the steering-wheel-mounted controls. To the right sits a large analog fuel gauge and to the left, a hybrid coach that lets one know exactly how much power and or regenerative braking forced is being utilized. Another nice touch is the hands-free access to either the sliding rear doors or the rear lift gate.
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Performance
There are those who will always scoff at the idea of owning a hybrid, but once you driven one and have gotten a taste of their outstanding fuel economy, my bet is you’ll never go back to a traditional gas powered vehicle. The Pacifica Hybrid utilizes a 3.6L V6 eHybrid Engine and 16kWh battery to generate 287hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Power is put down to the front wheels through what may just be the best CVT transmission I’ve ever come across. This allows the Pacifica Hybrid to achieve EPA rated mileage figures of 33 mpg on the highway, 32 mpg in the city, and 32 mpg in combined driving, or 84 mpge overall. As this is also a plug-in, up to 33-miles of electric range is also available on a full charge, which boosts the overall range to a whopping 566-miles between fill-ups.
Put your foot down and the Pacifica Hybrid will reach 60 mph in just under 7.5-seconds. It accelerates with authority, and handles beautifully, thanks to a lower center of gravity. When it’s time to hit the brakes, it stops confidently, and without a hint of drama. Charging is as simple as plugging into either a standard 120v home outlet or 240v Level 2 charge station. Keep in mind though that it can take up to 14hrs to charge on a 120v, whereby a 240v will take just over 2hrs. Once on the road, the Pacifica is a joy to drive, thanks to great outward visibility and a very quiet cabin. If there is one downside however, it’s the rotary shift knob on the dash. While it works fine, a traditional shifter would be preferable.
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Safety
Chrysler was just as committed to safety as it was to producing what seems to be the nicest minivan currently on sale. Some of the safety features include: Electronic Stability Control, Anti-lock Brakes, Hill Start Assist, Daytime Running Lights, Advanced Multistage Front Airbags, Driver Knee Airbag, Passenger Inflatable Knee-Bolster Air Bag, Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags and Side-Curtain Airbags in all rows. An optional SafetyTec Group can be added to lower trim models and includes Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection, along with ParkSense Rear Park Assist with Stop.
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Overall
Make no mistake; the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and non-hybrid models are easily some of the best minivans currently on sale. They offer unmatched utility and fuel economy, along with a multi-configurable interior that’s tough to hard to beat. Plus, with an MSRP of $26,995** for the base L model, to just under $50k** for a loaded Pacifica Hybrid Limited, Chrysler has made sure there are models to fit your every need and budget.
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $49,575.00, excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.