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  • 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Platinum

    Posted on November 3rd, 2017 ninarussin

    Minivan is the go-to car for active lifestyles

    By Nina Russin

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    Minivans are ideal vehicles for outdoor enthusiasts for the same reasons they appeal to young families: large, configurable interiors hold everything from soup-to-nuts. Chrysler- the automaker that invented the minivan in the early 1980s- continues to lead the way in features that make these vehicles the perfect base camp.

    Chrysler’s newest minivan family- the Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid- meld cargo versatility with sexy exterior design and, for the first time, a green option.

    Combining a 3.6-liter V-6 engine with an electric motor, the Pacifica Hybrid can travel up to 33 miles in pure electric mode. Total range is 556-miles, according-to the automaker. The idea is to give owners enough range to operate in pure-electric mode during the weekly 9-5, without the range limitations of electric vehicles.

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    Engineers modified Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 engine to Atkinson cycle, keeping the intake valves open longer during the engine’s four-stroke cycle for better fuel efficiency. The battery pack recharges on 120-volt household current in about 14 hours, or two hours using a 240-volt plug-in.

    The upscale Platinum grade priced from $44,995 comes loaded with family-friendly convenience features including keyless entry and start, hands-free sliding side doors, hands-free liftgate, tri-zone climate control, Uconnect infotainment system with navigation, satellite and HD radio, Bluetooth interface and sliding second-row seats that make access to the third row easier.

    Third-row seats fold into the floor to extend the cargo bay. Because of the battery pack’s location under the second row, those seats do not fold into the floor as with the gasoline-powered Pacifica. They are, however, removable.

    Two option packages on the test car add blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert, front and rear park assist, a surround-view monitor, parallel and perpendicular park assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beam lighting control that dims the lights when cars approach from the opposite direction, rain sensitive wipers, premium audio system, seatback video screens, a Blu-ray DVD player, headphones, 115-volt power outlet and tri-pane panoramic sunroof.

    Final MSRP including the $1095 destination charge is $47,885.

    Test drive in Southern Arizona

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    Over the past week I drove the new Pacifica Hybrid around Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley including the cities of Chandler, Gilbert and Scottsdale. The minivan delivered on Chrysler’s promise of exceptional fuel economy, good power and performance and a quiet, comfortable interior.

    Because electric motors develop peak torque at very low speeds, acceleration off the line and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range drivers use merging into high-speed traffic is exceptional. The transition between electric and gasoline modes is invisible to the driver. The continuously-variable automatic transmission delivers smooth acceleration: better, in this writer’s opinion, than the nine-speed automatic transmission in the gasoline version. Regenerative braking extends the minivan’s electric range by recharging on the go at speeds above 8 miles-per-hour.

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    A thin-film-transistor display in the gauge cluster shows the driver the state of battery charge, as well as whether the vehicle is operating in gasoline or electric mode. An efficiency coach display helps the driver to operate the minivan in the most economical mode possible.

    The Pacifica Hybrid’s four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and coil springs with twin-tube shock absorbers in the back, delivering a comfortable ride for occupants in all three rows. Integrated rebound springs in the rear prevent the car from rolling in the corners.

    An electric power steering system provides more assist at low speeds for maneuverability. A 39.7-foot turning diameter: about two-inches longer than the Toyota Sienna minivan but still adequate for maneuvering into tight parking spots or making the occasional U-turn. On-center steering response is soft, but drivers should feel well in control if forced to make an emergency evasive maneuver.

    The optional surround-view camera is a must for parents with small children who might find their way into one of the driver’s blind spots. Unlike rearview systems, the camera shows an overhead view that includes the vehicle’s entire perimeter.

    Four-wheel disc brakes stop the Pacifica in firm, linear fashion.

    Pacifica engineers did an excellent job of minimizing noise intrusion to the interior, making it easy for occupants in all three rows to converse or enjoy infotainment options.

    Athlete-friendly interior

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

    For athletes that need to haul a lot of gear and use their vehicles for sleeping during stage races, nothing beats a minivan. With third-row seats folded into the floor, the Pacifica easily meets our bicycle friendly option. Chrysler engineers made the Hybrid model’s second-row seats lighter than the seats in the gasoline car since they cannot fold into the floor. Even so, it takes a good effort to remove them. Bottom line, if you plan to sleep in the car on a regular basis buy the gasoline Pacifica, but if fuel economy is more important, opt for the hybrid.

    The Pacifica Hybrid’s hands-free sliding doors and liftgate make it easy to load large cargo inside. Lift-over height is relatively low as compared to high-profile SUVs.

    Eight-way power adjustments on the driver’s seat enabled me to position the seat high enough for a clear forward view, with ample lower lumbar support for extended drives.

    I found both the gauge cluster and center stack screen easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions. Infotainment controls are easy to reach from either front seating position and intuitive to operate.

    Chrysler uses a rotary shift knob, clearing up space in the center console for additional storage. The console bin and an open bin in front of the console are great places for storing smaller items such as a backpack or computer bag, keeping them within the driver’s reach.

    Standard safety

    The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid comes with eight airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, daytime running lamps, automatic headlamps, LED tail lamps, capless fuel filler and a tire inflater kit.

    Chrysler builds the Pacifica Hybrid at its Windsor, Ontario Canada assembly plant.

    Like: The new Pacifica Hybrid combines attractive exterior styling with a spacious, configurable interior, plus excellent fuel economy.

    Dislike: Due to the battery pack location, second-row seats cannot fold into the floor.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Chrysler
    Model: Pacifica Hybrid Platinum
    Year: 2017
    Base price: $44,995
    As tested: $47,885
    Horsepower (gasoline engine only): 287 HP @ 6400 rpm
    Torque (gasoline engine only): 262 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 84 MPGe, 32 mpg (gasoline engine only)

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