Miles driven: 592
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||A-|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|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.|
|Engine Specs||260-hp 3.6-liter|
|Engine Type||V6 plug-in hybrid|
Real-world fuel economy: 59.8 mpg
Driving mix: 75% city, 25% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 82 MPGe/30 mpg (city/highway combined)
Fuel type: Regular gasoline recommended
Base price: $58,050 (not including $1595 destination charge)
Options: Special paint ($495), folding-mirror delete (-$73)
Price as tested: $60,067
The great: Plug-in hybrid efficiency, capability of all-wheel drive; excellent array of family-friendly convenience features
The good: Spacious cabin with upscale trimmings; pleasant road manners, especially quiet at highway speed
The not so good: No Stow ‘n Go seating in hybrid, luxury-vehicle pricing
Shoppers would be hard pressed to find a vehicle category more competitive than the minivan segment. There are just five minivan options for 2022, and all of them are worth a look. But there is just one van we awarded Best Buy status for ’22, and that’s the Chrysler Pacifica.
Of the five minivans available this year, only two, the Pacifica and Toyota Sienna, are offered as hybrids. And, only one, the Pacifica, is offered as a plug-in hybrid. Interestingly, the Sienna is available only as a hybrid, while the Pacifica can also be had with a conventional V6 engine. More on that in a moment.
For 2022, Pacifica gains an improved cabin air-filtration system and available Amazon Fire TV. Amazon Fire allows passengers to connect to streaming services to watch shows via the available rear-seat entertainment systems.
We evaluated a Pacifica Hybrid in top-tier Pinnacle trim. New for 2021, the Pinnacle is so well equipped that the only extra-cost options are premium paint colors and dealer-installed accessories. Almost anything that can be packaged in a Pacifica comes standard on the Pinnacle.
Inside Pacifica, infotainment is relayed by the maker’s Uconnect 5 system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration (with the ability to connect two phones simultaneously), Amazon Alexa voice control, Uconnect Market, and more, plus a 10.1-inch touchscreen.
Where the Pinnacle reaches its peak is inside. Caramel-colored Nappa-leather seats with a quilted surface pattern welcome up to seven passengers. Middle-row captain’s chairs are complemented with matching throw pillows that function as lumbar supports. The seats’ upscale look would be wasted if they weren’t comfortable, which they are—even in the third row—though the height of the middle seats struck this tester as a tiny bit low. Other cabin details of the new model are Caramel contrast stitching on dark surfaces like the dash pad, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and console; satin-chrome accents; woodgrain bezels around the instrument cluster and door releases; Berber carpet; and suede headliner.
The Pinnacle’s Integrated Ultra Console is distinct from the front-seat storage units found on other Pacificas. Along with a padded-top covered bin between the seats, there’s an open-side space at floor level that’s big enough to hold a purse. Behind the lid for the central bin is a slot that middle-row occupants can use, and a drawer with tray and two cup holders slides out of the back of the console at floor level.
Extensive standard equipment found in the Pinnacle includes heated and ventilated 8-way power-adjustable front seats, heated steering wheel and second-row seats, wireless charging pad in the console, navigation, Wi-Fi hotspot, 18-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, SiriusXM satellite radio and connected services, triple-pane panoramic sunroof, integral “Stow ’n Vac” vacuum cleaner, second-row streaming entertainment system with screens built into the front seats, and brand-new “FamCam.” A tap on the touchscreen activates an interior wide-angle overhead camera that allows front-seat occupants to see what is going on in the rows behind them—handy for adjudicating territorial disputes of the “he keeps touching me” variety.
Exterior features are 20-inch polished alloy wheels with gray-painted pockets, LED projector headlamps, hands-free liftgate and sliding side doors, and a platinum-chrome “Stow ’n Place” roof rack. Safety/driver-assistance technologies run to parallel and perpendicular parking assist, surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection, lane-departure warning, and forward-collision warning with pedestrian/cyclist emergency braking.
Naturally, there is plenty of room for passengers and cargo. Unlike other non-hybrid Pacificas, the Pinnacle lacks the “Stow ‘n Go” second-row seats that fold into the floor, but its captain’s chairs have the “Easy Tilt” feature that clears access to the third row. (Passage between the seats is easy, too.) Middle seats track fore and aft, which can open up enough legroom for a couple of adults to contentedly occupy the third row. In the Pinnacle, a power assist gets the 60/40-split rear seats to jackknife and drop down to form a capacious flat-floored cargo area. Though infotainment functions can be worked fairly directly through the touchscreen on the new rig, external volume and tuning dials are handy for radio operation, while external buttons and a dial for fan speed permit hands-on operation of the dual-zone climate system.
On the driving-dynamics front, all Pacifica models are available with fully automatic all-wheel drive—indeed, it is standard on penultimate Limited and top-of-the-line Pinnacle models. We found the hybrid system to be largely unobtrusive, though power delivery is somewhat less smooth and less linear than found in non-hybrid systems.
The hybrid powertrain merges the standard Pacifica’s 3.6-liter V6 with electric assist and a CVT automatic transmission. A 16-kWh battery provides a promised 32-miles of electric-only range, after which Pacifica operates like a conventional hybrid. The system provides good power and excellent economy, provided operators are diligent about plugging in. In mild weather we enjoyed electric-only range of as much of 40 miles, and never less than 36.
Over roughly 600 miles, plugging-in when convenient to do so, we averaged almost 60 mpg. Most consumers should be able to operate on electricity alone during a normal week of commuting and local driving, and still enjoy extended-range driving when the opportunity arises.
At just over $60,000, the Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle doesn’t come cheap. Though expensive for a minivan, our lavishly appointed Pinnacle is best considered a luxury vehicle, as which, its price seems more reasonable. For more cost sensitive minivan intenders, a lower trim level Pacifica can he had for much less money.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle Gallery
Click below for enlarged images.
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