First Look Review: The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is smooth & comfy

  • America's only plug-in hybrid minivan completes seven years of production
  • Delivers 32 miles of EPA-estimated electric range
  • Priced from USD 53,230 (excl. USD 1,595 destination charges)
  • Now available at U.S. dealerships

It’s been four decades since Chrysler created the minivan segment, and the Pacifica Hybrid is the only one of its kind on the market. The company began manufacturing the plug-in hybrid minivan in December 2016, and by August 2023, it had built 100,000 of them. Recently, I saw the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid in the base ‘Select’ trim and explored it in detail. Here’s what I think about the plug-in hybrid minivan:

Design

Minivans are an endangered breed. If you ask me, the current designs leaning towards crossovers, like the Toyota Sienna and Kia Carnival Hybrid, have a more appealing look compared to the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Upon seeing the American minivan in person, I couldn’t help but feel that it appeared outdated with its classic shape and older design.

There are certain elements of the Pacifica Hybrid that I do like, though. The compact and curvy headlights bode well with the rather humble-looking character of the minivan. The shape of the greenhouse does remind me of aerodynamic high-speed trains like the Shinkansen and TGV.

My favorite part of the exterior is the sleek tail lamp that covers the entire width of the rear fascia and forms C shapes at the ends. It is encased in gloss black housing, and on top of that, there lies a prominently but discreetly placed brand logo. In my opinion, the rear-end truly shines because of these elements, especially when seen in the Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl-Coat shade at night.

Interior

As a six-foot tall person, I found entering the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was simple and required little effort, helped by the low floor and the tall monocoque. The driver’s door of minivans is often subject to abuse while closing through the application of excessive force. I wanted to know if the Pacifica Hybrid’s doors felt strong enough, and I learned that this was the case. I was also curious to see if the doors shut with a reassuring thunk like on a comparable SUV, and I found that while it’s not like in a luxury vehicle (that exudes a tank-like feel), it inspires confidence.

Once settled in the driver’s seat, I felt the fabric and trim pieces on the door panels, dash, center console, etc., to get a sense of their quality. I think the abundance of soft-touch material improves the feel of the cabin, but it doesn’t feel premium here.

The cabin is quite wide and has enough shoulder room, and as for the headroom and legroom in the front, even taller drivers can’t complain. Under-thigh support felt good. The low and fast-sloping hood meant I had no complaints about the visibility from the windshield. I would have liked a glass roof, which would have made the cabin airy, but I don’t see any problems with this design. The lack of a fully digital instrument cluster did make the cockpit area feel a bit outdated.

The UConnect 5 infotainment system comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen and includes features like wireless Apply CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and more. The buttons and knobs on the center console are of good quality and offer plenty of feedback.

The hands-free power-sliding doors allowed me to enter the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s rear cabin easily, something I found worth appreciating as I was carrying my DSLR rig in one hand and my camera bag in the other. While the captain’s chairs in the second row felt comfortable, I did miss the full reclining function and the ottomans of the Sienna and Carnival Hybrid.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid cup holders second row live image
One complaint that you’ll not hear is the lack of storage options in the Pacifica Hybrid.

The headroom was plenty, and the legroom and knee room also felt comfortable. I’d find the Uconnect Theater’s 10.1-inch touchscreens quite entertaining on long journeys, as they give access to some of my favorite TV shows and movies through Amazon Fire TV.

Accessing the third row wasn’t hard initially, as all I needed to do was just pull a lever on the respective second-row seat. However, slithering through that gap to get to the bench will prove a bit uncomfortable for six-footers.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid third-row seat live image
I think that the Pacifica has one of the most spacious third-row seating in the U.S. car market.

Comfort levels between the outboard positions and the center position slightly vary, with the former offering an armrest and slightly more even seat cushioning. Surprisingly, the headroom wasn’t an issue here for a tall person like me. As for knee room, my knees were brushing up against the seat back when I left them in my usual position, so I would feel cramped if there was a tall passenger ahead of me. Under-thigh support in the third row was acceptable for a third row, but taller passengers won’t prefer the knee-up posture of the seat.

Driving impressions

From the various media reviews I’ve read, I gather the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s combination of a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine with two electric motors is one of its biggest USPs. With 260 horsepower available from the plug-in hybrid system, the electrified minivan feels relatively lively for a vehicle of its type. The transition between the motors and engine could’ve been smoother, though, and the engine could’ve been less noisy at high revs.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side profile live image
If you drive the Pacifica Hybrid in a sedate style, as a minivan should be, you’ll begin to appreciate this car’s smooth and comfortable nature!

Unlike in the Sienna, all-wheel drive isn’t available in the Pacifica Hybrid, which makes it a less preferable choice for driving on snowy roads in the winter. Otherwise, it handles well and is easy to drive. The heavy weight of the traction batteries helps it behave well when turning into corners, keeping it smooth and focused on its path. The EPA-estimated electric range of 32 miles is pretty impressive, too.

Price

The prices of the 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid start at USD 53,230 and go up to USD 61,960. Destination charges are USD 1,595 extra. That makes it a ridiculously expensive minivan. The hybrid-only Toyota Sienna’s prices top out at lower than its most expensive – USD 53,145 (excl. USD 1,395 DPH fee), which gives an instant cash savings of nearly USD 9,000. I think many customers may find the difference to be enough spare money to make up for its lower fuel economy and the resulting higher fuel cost.

TopElectricSUV says

The 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a comfortable minivan and offers plenty of space and convenience. However, it lacks more modern features and the refinement of newer models like the Toyota Sienna, which is hybrid as standard, and the upcoming Kia Carnival Hybrid. On top of that, the plug-in hybrid system, as much as it sounds tempting from its EPA-estimated 32-mile electric range and 30 MPG figures, makes it way too expensive.

2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid FAQs

What is the 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid release date?

The 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is now available at U.S. dealerships.

What is the 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid price?

The 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s prices start at USD 53,230 and go up to USD 61,960 (excl. USD 1,595 destination charges).

Which models are 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rivals?

The 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid competes with the Toyota Sienna Hybrid.