If you’re one of those minivan deniers, you need to get behind the wheel of a Pacifica. Not just any Pacifica – the plug-in Hybrid version in the Pinnacle trim.
So far in 2022, the Chrysler Pacifica is the best-selling minivan in North America. This is a testament to the tenacity of the original producers of the genre of vehicle.
Certainly, there’s been discussions about the minivan’s legacy. If you trace its development to the original formula, then the Pacifica can lay claim to the lineage that began in the fall of 1983 with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager.
Legacy aside, there is also the chatter about the minivan’s relevance as a family transport. Since the 1990s, it was all about the SUV and how its image certainly helped boost its profile since then. Because people wanted to ride high and only needed a certain amount of room for everything, the minivan continues to be looked at as an alternative to the SUV.
If you’re one of those minivan deniers, you need to get behind the wheel of a Pacifica.
That’s what I did. Want to know why I would invite the doubters – and the haters – to the Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle?
First of all, it is what keeps the Chrysler brand in business. Sure, Toyota, Honda, and Kia offer their own arguments against the Pacifica. Stellantis counters with a distinct design that has been enhanced and a choice of drivelines. The second point alone is something neither of its competitors offer at all.
If you want to isolate the segment in terms of electrification, then it’s only the Chrysler and the Toyota. Since plugging in a vehicle is the new wave, some may give the Pacifica the advantage. On paper, at least.
When the Pacifica was first introduced, it was seen as the minivan as an elevated form of transportation. Design-wise, it broke the mold. That alone has kept the Pacifica relevant as its rivals stepped up their game.
The Pacifica’s design remains elevated and relevant. It is an elegant minivan – something you normally do not call a minivan. The chromed 18-inch wheels do the trick. As does the Pinnacle badging and added chrome trim.
Still, it is a Pacifica. The mid-cycle refresh did wonders for this minivan. That is why it is distinctive above the rest.
The same could be said about the interior. You appreciate the throw pillows in the second row, along with the quilted leather in a contrasting color. You also appreciate the interior space all around for up to seven human beings.
There are a few complaints. The first two rows of seats tend to be a bit firm. They are supportive, however. The pillows are also firm, perhaps densely packed. Because the battery pack lies underneath the second row of seats, they do not Stow’n Go as in the regular V6 models. You have to move them to get more flat cargo space out of the Pacifica Hybrid.
The driver gets a digital screen in-between two analog gauges. They also get a nice steering wheel with all of the familiar Chrysler switchgear. The transmission knob is still there, controlling the continuously variable transmission connected to the hybrid driveline. Storage is abundant all over the minivan.
About that hybrid driveline, it combines a Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 with two electric motors. That put out a total combined 260 horsepower. You can charge the battery through a J1772 port in front of the driver’s door. A Level 2 charger can recharge the battery to full in two hours, giving you around 30 miles of all-electric range. The aforementioned CVT sends power to the front wheels.
Keep in the mind that the battery is not completely drained. The V6 does keep the Pacifica Hybrid motivated with some regeneration from the brakes. In all, I observed an average of 29.0 MPG with mostly the gasoline engine delivering power to this minivan. With juice in the battery, I saw up to 31.9 MPG registered in my time with the Pacifica Hybrid.
In all, the ride quality of the Pacifica Hybrid was lovely. Very smooth and absorbent over rougher patches of road. Handling is fine. There may be some roll and lean at limit. It should be no problem dealing with a seven-passenger load on long riad trips.
Also, the turning radius was just fine. There is a strong on-center feel with great response from its thick-rimmed wheel. Brakes are good with a solid feel at the pedal. The Pacifica Hybrid yielded solid stops in both normal and panic situations without the “hybrid lag.”
As for how much this all costs, well…I have now seen a minivan scale over the $60,000 threshold. The sticker price on this 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle tester came to $60,067. There are three Pacifica Hybrids available, starting at $46,978 with three trim levels available. If you rather not have to plug one in, the Pacifica lineup is available in four trims starting at $37,095.
What I got from this mid-cycle refresh of the Chrysler Pacifica is the effort for Stellantis to keep the minivan relevant in our marketplace. Not because of the remaining competition, but to ensure consumers that the lineage of the genre is maintained and honored.
Add the element of fusing luxury with sustainability. And, doing so at a price point that is more attainable with loads of value.
To sum it all up, you get the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle – a vehicle that ticks all of the boxes for families.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Stellantis North America
All photos by Randy Stern