Only hybrid minivan available. Great gasoline-only fuel economy. Intuitive infotainment system.
Droning CVT transmission. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
- Bottom Line
If you're searching for a minivan with the best features and fuel economy on the market, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has no equal.
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the follow-up to the popular gas-powered version, is not only the first and only hybrid minivan available in the US, but also a plug-in hybrid car that can run on battery power for up to 33 miles. If you exceed its electric range, the 3.6-liter V6 engine kicks in, and it delivers an impressive EPA estimate of 32 mpg for combined city/highway driving—by far the best in the minivan segment. While it largely has the same good looks and great features of its gas-powered sibling, it lugs additional weight from the batteries. And, of course, the price is higher, although tax credits can help offset the extra cost. If you want a minivan with the best features and fuel economy on the market, the 2017 Pacifica Hybrid has no equal, and earns our Editors' Choice.
//Compare Similar Products
Pricing and Design
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is available in two trim levels, both with a 3.6-liter V6 engine supplemented by dual electric motors to produce 260 horsepower. An automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) transfers power to the front wheels. Its 16kWh lithium-ion battery is recharged by the gasoline engine, regenerative braking, and by plugging in. Recharging a fully depleted battery at a 240-volt home or public charging station takes two hours or up to 14 hours using a supplied 110-volt power cable.
The Premium trim starts at $41,995 and comes generously equipped with 17-inch wheels, a 6.6kWh onboard charger, automatic halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, fog lights, heated and power-folding side mirrors, special eHybrid badging, active grille shutters, capless fuel filling, remote start, and keyless entry and ignition. It also has power-sliding doors, an eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, tri-zone front/rear automatic climate control, second-row power windows, and a 60/40-split fold-flat third-row seat.
Driver assists include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors with backup collision prevention, hill-start assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automated parallel and perpendicular parking. In-cabin tech consists of Bluetooth for phone and audio, a 7-inch instrument panel display, voice recognition, a Uconnect 8.4-inch touch screen with Uconnect Access connectivity, and a six-speaker audio system with AM/FM HD Radio, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs, and steering wheel controls.
The Platinum trim we tested starts at $44,995 and comes with 18-inch wheels, a retractable roof rack, hands-free sliding doors, power fold-flat third-row seats, upgraded leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, accent stitching, and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Tech add-ons include navigation, an Alpine 13-speaker/506-watt audio system, and the Uconnect Theater rear seat entertainment system with a DVD/Blu-ray player, two 10.4-inch seat-back screens, three-channel headphones, a 115-Volt power outlet, dual HDMI ports, and second- and third-row USB ports. Additional driver assists include front parking sensors with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, auto high beams, lane departure warning, and a surround-view camera.
Our test vehicle also had an optional $1,795 tri-pane panoramic sunroof with a motorized shade. With a destination charge of $1,095, the total sticker price came to $47,885.
While some view minivans as the style equivalent of mom jeans and fanny packs, the Chrysler Pacifica is one of the best-looking slabs of sheet metal available. Its crisp lines and elegant angles separate it from more boxy competitors. The interior is equally tasteful, especially the leather-wrapped Platinum trim we tested. One downside: the Pacifica Hybrid doesn't offer fold-flat second-row stow-and-go seats like the gas-only version because the battery pack is right below the floor, although the middle seats can be removed.
Interface and Connectivity
The Uconnect infotainment system has long been one of our favorites for its intuitive interface. Even though the 8.4-inch touch screen uses small icons, they're easy to access and can be added to a menu bar at the bottom of the screen. The screen can also be used to keep tabs on miles driven in electric and hybrid modes, set up a delayed charging schedule to take advantage of lower utility rates, and monitor the power flow between the engine, motor, and battery, as well as power consumed in electric-only mode. We also really like the screen's in-dash owner's manual that provides detailed information, including vivid photos, the ability to store favorites, and a search function.
The Chrysler Uconnect Access connectivity platform includes popular streaming apps such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Slacker, and a convenient, voice-activated Yelp local search function that's tied to the navigation system. Uconnect Access is free for the first year of ownership and includes telematics features such as roadside assistance, stolen-vehicle notification, and onboard Wi-Fi. A Uconnect Access app provides the usual remote engine starting, door locking/unlocking, or flashing of headlights, as well as hybrid-specific features, including battery level and range, current charge level and status, and the location of public EV charging stations and their distance.
The 7-inch instrument is another great attribute carried over from other Chrysler vehicles. It has crisp and clear graphics, and the center section of the display is customizable. It also shows important hybrid and EV info such as battery level and range, and includes an Efficiency Coach feature that indicates how accelerating and braking are affecting fuel economy. Two things that neither screen offers: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Performance and Conclusions
Although the Pacifica Hybrid is almost 250 pounds heavier than the gasoline model and has nearly 30 fewer horsepower, we didn't notice any discernible difference between the two in terms of performance. From a dead stop, acceleration actually felt quicker due to the instant torque from the battery pack, and it's also decent throughout the rest of the power band.
The Pacifica Hybrid drives comfortably and with confidence, and has a smooth ride quality. It's also quiet, although we noticed an annoying rattle from the rear of the vehicle and the automatic CVT makes a characteristic drone when the engine is pushed hard.
We found that we could mostly rely on battery power for driving around town, and after several highway trips we still achieved an impressive over-30-mpg fuel economy. The Pacifica Hybrid is also great for long trips, since the electric motor and gasoline engine together are good for 530 miles of driving before plugging in or filling up.
While the popularity of SUVs and crossovers have somewhat diminished the appeal of minivans as family-oriented people-movers, the much-maligned but highly practical vehicles have had staying power. Chrysler invented the minivan more than three decades ago, and now it's reinvented it with the 2017 Pacifica Hybrid. If you need to move up to seven people in the most fuel-efficient, comfortable, and tech-packed way possible, the Pacifica Hybrid is a standout among minivans—and our Editors' Choice for the segment.
By Doug Newcomb Columnist
Doug Newcomb is a recognized expert on the subject of car technology within the auto industry and among the automotive and general media, and a frequent speaker at automotive and consumer electronics industry events. Doug began his career in 1988 at the car stereo trade publication Mobile Electronics, before serving as editor of the leading consumer magazines covering the topic, Car Audio and Electronics and Car Stereo Review/Mobile Entertainment/Road & Track Road Gear, from 1989 to 2005. In 2005 Doug started his own company, Newcomb Communications… More »
More Stories by Doug
- 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
If you're looking for segment-topping hybrid fuel economy over thrilling performance, the Hyundai Io… More »
- Can the Senate Get it Together to Pass Self-Driving Car Regs?
In a rare display of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill this week, the House passed the SELF-DRIVE Act, … More »
- 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid