As if the Chrysler Pacifica wasn’t good enough with a conventional powertrain, through 2020 it had the distinction of being the only minivan on the market with the availability of gas/electric hybrid power. That bragging point disappears with the arrival of the ’21 Toyota Sienna, but the Pacifica has done a few things that secure its place as a Consumer Guide “Best Buy” in the class.
From a late and limited start in 2020, all-wheel drive expands to all gas-engine trim levels. There is a new premium Pinnacle trim level with unique interior touches, an updated infotainment system, and a considerable expansion of standard safety-tech features. Freshened exterior looks top it all off. Following is a look at some of the things we like about the Hybrid Limited that we had the chance to test:
6 Cool Things about the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Freedom of choice
The Pacifica Hybrid is not a one-size-fits-all vehicle. Though certain features of their gas counterparts are excluded (power-folding third-row seats, “Stow ‘n Go” middle-row seats that fold into the floor, and others), the front-wheel-drive plug-in van is available in all four available trims: Touring, Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle. CG’s well-equipped Limited started at $47,340 with delivery, and came to $49,835 with the Uconnect Theater Family Group option added.
Ranging far and wide
Chrysler claims a prospective range of 500 or more miles from the combination of 3.6-liter V6 and electric motor that’s good for 260 system horsepower. Fully charged, the lithium-ion battery can provide up to 32 miles of all-electric driving, and regenerative braking keeps up sufficient power for conventional hybrid operation the rest of the time. EPA city/highway mileage estimates are a collective 80 MPGe and a gas-only 30 mpg. It takes a little more than two hours to fully charge the battery on a 240-volt charger. Our testing of this particular Pacifica Hybrid encompassed the two opposite ends of its potential fuel economy. In a 73.6-mile drive that consisted of about 50/50 city/highway driving, we were able to take full advantage of the electric driving range and managed an impressive 79.6 mpg. We also took a 500-plus-mile highway road trip with only 25-percent city driving. We didn’t have the opportunity to plug in to recharge the battery on this trip, so we couldn’t take advantage of much pure-electric driving–and the majority of highway miles meant we weren’t getting as much benefit from the hybrid system either. All of this brought our fuel economy down to 22.0 mpg on the road trip, which brought down our total test-average mileage as well. For a more typical Pacifica Hybrid test (where we were able to take better advantage of plug-in charging and the hybrid system), click here.
All Pacificas come with a new generation of Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system. Displays are colorful and easy to find and work on the 10.1-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility is now wireless, and owners with Alexa-enabled devices can use them from home to vehicle or within the vehicle.
Standard in the Pinnacle, and available for Limiteds as part of the entertainment-package option, is “FamCam,” an overhead interior camera that allows front-row occupants to visually check on second- and third-row passengers. Pinnacle and Limited consoles include wireless charging pads. Pedestrian automatic emergency braking is new, and it joins a half dozen formerly optional electronic safety and driving aids as standard equipment.
Room and comfort
There’s ample leg- and headroom for passengers in the front and middle rows. Passage to the third row is easy between the second-row buckets—which are more comfortable than the fold-up seats in Pacificas with Stow ‘n Go. The third-row seats will accommodate adults. With the rear seats retracted and the middle seats removed, there’s 141 cubic feet of cargo area.
While it may not be as quick off the line as its gas-engine compatriot, or as secure against road noise on the highway, the Pacifica Hybrid rides smoothly and handles easily. Transitions from electric to gas power are fairly subtle.
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
|V6 plug-in hybrid
2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited
Miles driven: 606
Fuel used: 25.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 24.1 mpg
Driving mix: 30% city, 70% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 82 MPGe/30 mpg (city/highway combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $45,845 (not including $1495 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Uconnect Theater Family Group ($2495; includes FamCam interior camera, Blu-ray/DVD player, dual seatback video screens, video remote controls, wireless headphones, and more)
Price as tested: $49,835
2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)
Cool Things about the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica
Cool Things about the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica