2023 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

The driving experience of the Pacifica Hybrid is definitely where it shines.
The driving experience of the Pacifica Hybrid is definitely where it shines.

by Stuart Grodinsky | January 26, 2023

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When it comes to flexibility and ultimate utility, there is still nothing that can hold a candle to the almighty minivan. In a sea of SUVs and CUVs full of compromises to meet the image their owners want to hold, the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a secret weapon. Seating for seven is nothing novel these days, but having legroom, headroom and cargo room for everyone certainly is something to flex about.

The Hybrid model has three available trim levels, with the Limited in the middle with a base MSRP of $61,190, plus $395 for the Velvet Red Pearl paint equipped on our test vehicle.  Standard on the Limited is a dual pane sunroof, powered sliding doors and liftgate, lots of tech, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay in the 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 system and a bunch of interior accents to make it feel more luxurious.

Our test model had two additional packages added on, one for looks, and one for the family peacekeeping. The S Appearance Package ($895) added unique leather S seats, black 18-inch wheels and accents as well as an S badge to give the van a more sporty look. For the kids, the Uconnect Theatre Family Group has a price tag of $2,595 and adds built in Amazon Fire Touchscreen TVs to the first row headrests, second and third row sunshades and a plethora of USB and HDMI ports. Up front for mom and dad, this package adds the handy dandy FamCam so they can keep an eye on everyone without craning their necks.

Bringing this van home for a week was certainly an interesting comparison, as we have just added a Jeep Grand-Cherokee L to the driveway for family duty, which, also being a Stellantis product has very similar tech as well as the same wonderful 3.6L engine. As far as family haulers go, the minivan certainly takes the cake for most scenarios without really feeling like a compromise.

Let’s talk about the powertrain for a minute, as this is certainly the biggest difference from the minivans of old. The 3.6-liter V6 engine on its own puts out plenty of power to move this rolling bubble around. Attached to the engine is the eFlite Electrically Variable Tramission (EVT) powered by a 16-kWh battery under the second row that adds an extra surge of power that makes the sporty looks match the driving feel.

Chrysler does not publish official specs for the powertrain, but rumour has it that the combined output of both the engine and electric motors is 260 horsepower. Looking at these kinds of numbers is not as meaningful when you are talking about a plug-in hybrid, since the torque is off the charts compared to a traditional gas engine, and driving even just in full electric mode is definitely a zippier experience than a gas-only model that would tout 287 horsepower instead.

There are a few downsides to the hybrid model. First off, that battery makes the stow-and-go second row feature disappear. Instead, like all of its competitors, the seats just slide and tilt all the way forward when you need maximum cargo space. Having the plug-in option also removes the possibility of getting all-wheel-drive, something that certainly takes the Pacifica out of the running for a lot of buyers.

The driving experience of the Pacifica Hybrid is definitely where it shines. Part of the stigma against owning and driving a minivan is the ‘soccer-mom’ look, but it also comes down to a typically underpowered and bloated feeling drive. This is not the case with most modern minivans, and especially with the Pacifica Hybrid. Rolling around in EV mode is like driving one of those high-powered go-karts, but with six other people along for the ride. It is silent, quick, and surprisingly nimble.

Demanding more power or exceeding the 51 kilometer range kicks on the engine, giving even more oomph, but without any extra fanfare. In fact, it was quite hard to tell if the engine was on most of the time, as the transition is very smooth and the sound deadening in the vehicle is excellent. Under full EV mode the Pacifica Hybrid is rated for 2.9Le/100km combined fuel economy, while under hybrid mode it rates at 8.0, 7.9, and 8.0L/100km in city, highway, and combined settings respectively. It’s pretty fantastic for such a large vehicle, and significantly better than the non-hybrid version.

Being the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market puts the Pacifica Hybrid in a class of its own for now, in an already small market. The minivan class only a few players with the Kia Carnival being a new entrant as the Sedona is phased out. Long-standing members of course are the Honda Odyssey and the recently updated Toyota Sienna, which even in AWD form bests the Pacifica in fuel economy thanks to its dedicated hybrid powertrain.

After spending a week with the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, I am questioning our society’s general love of the three-row SUVs. Save for the lack of all-wheel-drive and rugged looks, the Pacifica Hybrid beats our new Jeep on every level for family practicality, utility, comfort and certainly price. When our Jeep inevitably gets stolen from our driveway, you just might see it replaced by a minivan… if I can convince my wife.

See Also:

2022 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L AWD

2022 Kai Carnival SX

2022 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

Vehicle Specs
Segment
Plug-in Hybrid Minivan
Engine Size
3.6L V6 hybrid
Horsepower (at RPM)
Torque (lb-ft.)
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
8.0/7.9/8.0
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
7.4
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Stuart Grodinsky

Staff Writer

An engineer by trade, Stuart is a go-to for many technical questions within our team. Aside from writing and working on his 5.0L Ford Mustang, Stuart also loves home renovation projects and spending time with his wife and two kids.

Current Toys: '97 Corvette, '21 Grand Cherokee L Overland, ’17 Outback 3.6R Limited

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