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Chrysler’s Plug-In Pacifica Hybrid

by Bill SiuruDecember 31, 2019
The modern minivan was born 35 years ago, shepherded to market by the legendary Lee Iacocca at Chrysler. You’d think by now, there would be a slew of hybrid minivans to serve family needs. Nope. Again, Chrysler leads the pack.

Chrysler is credited with creating the minivan in 1984 with the Chrysler Town & Country, as well as the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager based on the same platform. The latest-generation Chrysler Pacifica that replaced the Town & Country in 2017 used an all-new platform and emerged with some important distinctions. The most important of these is the addition of a plug-in hybrid variant, the first and only plug-in hybrid minivan in the U.S. market. Chrysler made several revisions since its introduction and today’s plug-in Pacifica Hybrid comes in Hybrid Touring Plus, Hybrid Touring L, and Hybrid Limited iterations.

The 2020 Pacifica Hybrid use a 3.6-liter Atkinson V-6 engine mated with electric motors and a nine-speed electrically variable transmission. This transmission incorporates two electric motors that drive the front wheels via a clutch, rather than using just one motor for propulsion and the other for regenerative braking. Of course, regen braking is still used. The one-way clutch is located on the input side of the transmission and the output shaft of the motor. It enables power from both ‘A’ and ‘B’ motors to act in parallel, delivering the full torque of both motors to the wheels. The system provides a combined 260 horsepower.

Energizing the electric drive system is a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack comprised of six 16-cell modules. The pack is located under the second row of seats, which means the second row Stow ’n Go seating available in the gasoline-powered Pacifica cannot be ordered in the plug-in hybrid variant. The benefit of this battery placement is that it doesn’t infringe on interior space, so cargo-carrying capacity is not sacrificed. The battery pack provides 32 miles of battery electric range and can be recharged in two hours using a 240-volt Mopar charger. Total hybrid driving range is 520 miles.

A suite of driver assistance systems is available either as standard or optional equipment, depending on trim level. Among these is a 360° Surround View Camera, Rear View Camera, Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Blind Spot Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control, Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, and Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist.  

Pacifica Hybrid’s Uconnect 4 system comes with a standard 7-inch or optional 8.4-inch touchscreen, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and available 4G Wi-Fi. Uconnect 4 with the 8.4-inch touchscreen displays vehicle performance, power flow, driving history, and adjusts charging schedules for less expensive off-peak hours.

Base cost of the Pacifica Hybrid is $39,995 for the Touring trim level, with the Touring L coming in at $42,295 and the Hybrid Limited at $45,845.