The best minivan
Price is the only complaint about this hybrid minivan
The minivan market is shrinking at a steady pace, and buyers are still averse to the idea of relying on alternative fuels to get around, but this new version of the Pacifica could be the best people-mover on the market. It’s also one that just so happens to burn less fuel than a Honda Civic does on the highway.
My week behind the wheel saw the vehicle consume 16 litres of gas over 400 kilometres of driving — returning an incredible combined average of 5.2 L/100 km. Bear in mind this behemoth weighs 2,262 kg.
More amazing still, I traveled a greater distance on electrons (238 km) than I did on fossil fuel (165 km).
Despite a somewhat disappointing electric-only range (53 km), the Pacifica Hybrid is extraordinarily efficiency. Its gas engine has been combined with a continuously variable transmission that features a dualmotor electric drive system, as well as a 16-kWh battery pack.
With a total range of roughly 900 km on a full charge and a tank of gas, most folks will barely burn any gas during the daily commute with regular charging, instead sticking to a diet of nothing but electrons until the battery is depleted.
Whether in the muffled whir of hybrid mode or the near silence of all-electric driving, the ride quality is about as smooth and compliant as a large luxury sedan. The hybridized Pacifica rolls over road imperfections like they’re barely there.
The Pacifica packs enough room for seven people and their stuff. Second-row legroom stands at 992 millimetres, while the last row still gets a respectable 929 mm. There’s 915 litres of space with all seats upright, while folding the third row into the floor opens up 2,478 L. Removing the second row reveals an epic 3,979 L of space.
Only available in two leatherlined trims, the only gas-electric minivan on the market leaves little to be desired in terms of creature comforts. Tri-zone automatic climate control and an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system are both standard. The interior is thoughtfully designed, with clever little cubbies and crannies for everything from a smartphone to an umbrella.
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid might be not only the best minivan I’ve ever driven, but also the best plug-in hybrid. I can’t think of a better way to move a family.