The plug-in hybrid Pacifica minivan: a professional road test

Pacifica hybrid photo
Video screen capture Alex on Autos

Alex on Autos gives you all the details that I failed to provide...

I've written a bunch about my experiences with the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan, and while (I think!) folks have enjoyed my real-world candor and experiences, a quick glance at the comments will tell you some folks are frustrated at my lack of technical detail and methodological rigor.

That's probably fair. But I know myself well enough to say I'm unlikely to become a top notch motoring journalist anytime soon. Luckily, Alex on Autos is here to make sure I don't have to. His review and road test provide a number of useful answers to questions that folks have asked me in the comments, including:

Cost: By Alex's calculations, a 33-mile trip in a fully charged Pacifica will cost the average American consumer $1.30 in electricity. Meanwhile the same trip with a depleted battery (i.e. hybrid mode) will cost $3.02, versus the $4.56 for a comparable non-hybrid minivan. Alex reckons this will save the average family in America $1,050 a year. This is, of course, all based on the vehicles' officially rated MPGs—but as I've noted in my super rigorous reviews, my real-world experiences are not far off.

Cargo capacity: I've already reported that we got three adults and two kids to the mountains with a whole bunch of beach toys and beer, but Alex goes one better. He demonstrates that if everyone is packing in carry-on size suitcases, you can genuinely get 7 people and their baggage in the car without too much trouble. (I guess the beer would have to go in the footwell?)

Acceleration: Hybrid-mode acceleration comes in at 7.1 seconds for 0-60, which is pretty comparable to the regular Pacifica.

Braking: Alex clocked braking at 138 feet for 60 to 0. This, he says, is considerably longer than most comparable minivans, but comparable to some of the larger SUVs and crossovers.

Handling and ride: Alex scores the Pacifica Hybrid as a B- for handling (due to extra weight) but an A+ for ride (due to extra height), meaning handling is slightly below non-hybrid counterparts, but that's compensated in terms of the superior comfort of the ride.

I will say there's nothing I'd particularly disagree with here. His experiences of range and efficiency sound very similar to mine, reporting somewhere between 26 and 38 miles of electric-only range in heavy mountain driving—depending, of course, on the topography and whether he is ascending or descending. Anyhow, that's enough of the spoilers. You'll have to watch the video to get the full review. (He also explains why the Pacifica's on-board MPG score is going to be different from something like the Chevy Volt. Watch and learn.)

Hopefully this makes up for some of my technological illiteracy/disinterest.

Oh, and finally, no word from Alex on the rumors of a recall and strange delays on deliveries, apparently due to a faulty diode in the power inverter. (I have a friend who is still waiting for his van with no word on when it's coming.) So keep an eye on Pacifica Forums if you're thinking of placing an order. I will say we have experienced no problems with ours, and have yet to hear back from our dealer on any kind of recall.

Tags: Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles

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