Pacifica Hybrid Test Drive



Sunday November 27, 2016 - Pacifica Hybrid Test Drive - I was at the LA Auto Show ride and drive and got to test drive the Pacifica hybrid from Chrysler.   Although it is called hybrid, it is really a PHEV.


The first thing they did was show me how to fold away the third-row seats.   Folding them away is quite easy but I did struggle a little putting them back up and could have used longer arms.  They also told me that the second row does not fold away at all but if you need the space you have the choice to remove them.


Then I climbed into the driver's seat ready to take off. Starting is the same as most plug-in cars, you step on the brake pedal and push the start button.  As I was getting ready to leave, someone in a Tesla Model S parked right in front of me.


The guy from Chrysler had me put the car into reverse.   The shifter on the Pacifica is a knob.  I turned it to the right to the spot marked R and the output from the backup camera is displayed.   There are several views including the standard view behind plus a view from the top.  The track of the wheels is indicated by lines on the view and the top view has a block drawn at the front and if the object in front shows in the block it is too close.  The guy from Chrysler thought the Tesla was far enough away to pull out but it looked touch and go to me so I decided to back up a little to be on the safe side. 


Pulling out I was quite gentle on the accelerator.  The minivan moved forward smoothly.   I had to maneuver through a pretty narrow entrance to get out onto the streets of LA but the minivan handled it quite nicely.


Moving into traffic I pushed the accelerator harder and the Minivan accelerated up to speed quite quickly.   The seating is comfortable, visibility appears to be good although the hood angles down so I couldn't see it at all.  The steering was responsive and the power steering gave me a nice feel; going exactly where I pointed it.  In fact, it didn't really feel like I was driving such a big vehicle.


Instrumentation is quite good too.  In front of the steering wheel is two dials, on the left one that shows the energy flow and the other is the speedometer.   In the center is an LED screen that shows various information including state of charge.  There are three values displayed.   The first is remaining EV range, the second is range with available gas, and total range.  It indicated there was 19 miles left.  According to the guy from Chrysler the EPA estimate for a fully charged car is 30 miles.


The minivan is driven by a 3.6-liter V6 while on the electric side a 16 KWh battery pack feeds a 2 motor set-up and the combination puts out a total of 260 hp.   The Pacifica Hybrid is expected to be rates with a combined fuel economy of 80 MPGe.  Recharging at 110V takes about 9 hours but level 2 charging can take as little as 2 hours according to Chrysler.


When I got on a straight road I floored it.  There was the slightest delay before the gas motor cut in then the Pacifica took off with quite hard acceleration. The delay was similar to what you would get on most automatic transmission cars.  when I stopped at the next light the engine ran for a few seconds then shut off with a noticeable shudder.


I made it back to the convention center on electric only after that. While the gas engine will come on under hard acceleration it was much easier to keep in EV mode than I am used to on the Prius Plug-in.


I've always said a plug-in Minivan should be a major vehicle in a family fleet.  The Pacifica should fit that bill perfectly.   The 30 mile EV range should be adequate for most families and for those that need more range the minivan can always be recharged during the day.


The Pacific Hybrid will be available in early 2017 with a base price of 41,995.  For those who can take advantage of it, the Pacifica Hybrid qualifies for the full $7,500 Federal tax credit.  


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