At its launch, Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid immediately raised the bar for minivans by offering the highest fuel economy ever for this class of family-friendly vehicles, along with 33 miles of all-electric driving on battery power and an overall range of 570 miles. At the time its 3.6-liter Pentastar eHybrid made the 2017 Wards 10 Best Engines list. Now this plug-in hybrid powerplant has earned the distinction again as one of Ward’s 2018 10 Best Engines.
Apparently, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid owners are also pretty impressed with this vehicle. In a group of 100 customers participating in a series of monthly ownership experience surveys, 90 percent said they would recommend the Pacifica Hybrid to others. Some 47 percent reported more all-electric driving range than expected with 22 percent saying they’re getting ‘much more’ range. Fully 97 percent of these owners shared they had decided on their Pacifica Hybrid purchase before visiting a dealership.
“Receiving this award, especially for the second time, validates our early conviction – as do reports from our customers," said Bob Lee, head of Engine Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering at FCA North America. "We knew this was a special project when we were asked to develop the most fuel-efficient minivan ever."
Altogether, the Chrysler Pacifica lineup has earned an impressive of 72 industry awards related to quality, styling performance, and safety. Plus, the model has earned the EPA's best possible environmental rating 0f 10, which quantifies a vehicle's greenhouse gas emissions and impact on climate change. And here's more perspective: Compared to the Chrysler Town & Country minivan it replaced, FCA says that over its lifetime a Pacifica Hybrid will result in lessening emissions equivalent to driving an average U.S. passenger vehicle more than 50,000 miles.
The Pacifica Hybrid is powered by an electric motor coupled to an eFlite electrically variable transmission. Power is supplied by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack positioned beneath the minivan's second-row floor, which means interior volume is not impacted. Charging the battery pack requires about two hours with an optional 240-volt charger, although charging via a standard 120 volt outlet is also possible over a longer duration. The Pacifica Hybrid operates in efficient gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle mode once battery power is depleted. With its 33 mile all-electric capability, typical families running daily errands may find they rarely need the minivan's conventional hybrid power except on long drives.
Those seeking the functionality of a minivan that also delivers exceptional environmental performance will find the Pacifica Hybrid a pretty big deal. It is, in fact, a game-changer. At the time of its launch, all Monroneys (window stickers) on minivans identified the range of competitors in this class achieving 19-28 mpg. The emergence of the Pacifica Hybrid and its efficient Pentastar eHybrid engine prompted a change, with that statement now reading 19-52 MPGe, a nod to the Pacifica Hybrid's impressive efficiency.
This year’s San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in Texas highlighted environmental achievement by commercial vehicles, trucks, and performance cars, vehicle classes rarely noted as ‘green’ by nature in years past. This has changed dramatically in recent times, prompting Green Car Journal’s acknowledgement of these forward-thinking vehicles through its Green Car Awards program at the show, complementing the increasingly ‘green’ models featured on the show floor.
Taking home honors for 2018 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ was Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid. 2018 Green Truck of the Year™ was awarded to the Chevrolet Colorado, while the Mazda MX-5 Miata earned the first-ever 2018 Performance Green Car of the Year™. Along with the Colorado, 2018 Green Truck of the Year™ finalists included the Ford F-150, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tacoma. Considered with the Ford Police Responder Hybrid for 2018 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ were finalists Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, and RAM ProMaster City. Vying for 2018 Performance Green Car of the Year™ along with the Mazda MX-5 Miata were the Acura NSX, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Honda Civic Type R.
As the first pursuit-rated hybrid police car, Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid promises to bring significantly greater fuel efficiency and environmental performance to police department fleets across the nation. Based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Police Responder Hybrid is expected to deliver 38 combined mpg and a few miles of ‘stealth’ driving on batteries. When parked, the battery pack allows the engine to shut off for brief periods while keeping the car’s electronics running, saving fuel and decreasing emissio
Chevrolet’s Colorado mid-size pickup offers nearly the same capacity, functionality, and features as this automaker’s full-size pickup, but with a more compact form and shorter turning radius that makes it easier to maneuver and park in tight city environs. Along with being a workhorse, it’s also civilized with its handsome design, array of advanced on-board electronics, and optional seating that accommodates up to five. Importantly, with its available Duramax Turbodiesel the Colorado delivers up to 30 highway mpg, the best in the segment.
Mazda’s extensively-redesigned, fourth-generation MX-5 Miata offers a sporty and fun driving experience in roadster and new RF retractable fastback form. This lightweight two-seat sports car is powered by a 2.0-liter SKYACTIV engine with a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed Sport automatic, delivering 155 horsepower and achieving up to 35 highway mpg. Long a favorite of sports car enthusiasts, the Miata has also been popular in amateur spec racing.
For years, automakers have focused on designing and building mainstream sedans, hatchbacks, and even crossover vehicles offering greater efficiency and improved environmental performance. An expanding ‘green’ focus on workhorse vehicles like pickups and light commercial vehicles, and now even performance cars, means buyers in these segments have increasing opportunities to drive ‘green’.
Focusing on the unique combination of hard-working functionality and environmental achievement, the Green Car Awards™ at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show recognize vehicles that do the heavy lifting in real life while also keeping an eye on lower emissions, higher efficiency, and overall environmental improvement. This year, emerging on top for Green Car Journal’s 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ is the Ram ProMaster City, the second year in a row this light commercial vehicle has earned the honor. Honda’s all-new Ridgeline is distinguished as the magazine’s 2017 Green Truck of the Year™.
Along with the Honda Ridgeline, finalists for this year’s 2017 Green Truck of the Year™ included the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford F-250 Super Duty, GMC Canyon, and Ram 1500. Vying for the 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ along with the Ram ProMaster City were the Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, and Nissan Titan XD.The Ram ProMaster City compact commercial van and wagon are ideally-sized for city use where maneuverability and versatility are key. The model’s strong suit is offering the hauling and commercial-use capabilities desired by businesses and fleets while also addressing the efficiency that has a direct impact on the bottom line.
ProMaster City is powered by a Fiat-derived 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine that benefits from efficient Multiair technology. Its 178 horsepower is delivered to the road via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The combination provides an impressive 21 city and class-leading 29 highway mpg.
Honda’s all-new second generation Ridgeline returns to American highways with a design that’s more truck-like and refined at the same time. The model’s signature unibody construction delivers a smooth car-like ride unsurpassed in the pickup field, providing the functionality needed by most truck buyers with the ability to carry a 1500 pound load, tow up to 5,000 pounds, and transport five occupants in comfort. Its 280 horsepower V-6 provides satisfying acceleration and 26 mpg highway fuel efficiency.
Green Car Journal editors weigh the merits of all potential vehicles through its vetting process and narrow down the field to five candidates, which are then considered by the Green Car Awards™ jury. Jurors are veteran writers and editors in the light truck field, having served on staff at publications like 4 Wheel & Off Road, PV4, Hot Rod’s Pickups, Hot Rod Vans, Pickups & Mini-Trucks, and Vans & Trucks, plus auto buff magazines including Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Car Craft, Popular Hot Rodding, and others. All have owned and tested myriad pickup and van models over the years, which allows a keen perspective on the attributes and nuances that make for great pickups and vans that serve both personal and business uses.