In a world dominated by SUVs, minivans have quietly made a comeback, determined to prove that family-oriented vehicles can be cool too. As manufacturers strive to inject new life into this segment, Kia, Toyota, and Honda have all unleashed their latest creations onto the market. Kia rolls out the red carpet for its brand new Carnival, oozing style and functionality. Toyota revamps the Sienna, taking the hybrid route to deliver an eco-friendly ride. Meanwhile, Honda stands firm with the reliable Odyssey, an old hand in the game that never fails to impress. However, amidst this resurgence, one minivan boldly stands apart: the Chrysler Pacifica.
What sets it apart, you ask? Well, it's the only minivan out there offering a plug-in hybrid version, setting a new standard for the competition. Intrigued by its uniqueness and eager to determine its worth in the face of rivals, I took the Pacifica on an exhilarating week-long adventure this spring.
When it comes to minivans, the Chrysler Pacifica is a true trendsetter, refusing to settle for the ordinary. As I embarked on my test drive, I couldn't help but be amazed by its striking design, a perfect blend of sleekness and practicality. But it's not just about the looks - under the hood, this minivan packs a punch.
While other manufacturers have opted for hybrid powertrains, the Pacifica goes a step further with its plug-in hybrid offering. It's a game-changer, seamlessly combining efficiency and versatility. As I maneuvered through the city streets of Charlotte, NC and ventured into the countryside near Mooresville, the Pacifica's PHEV didn't compromise on power. When I needed that extra boost on the highways, the Pacifica delivered, effortlessly navigating through traffic with its responsive engine. The week spent with this minivan was a revelation—a testament to Chrysler's commitment to innovation and its unwavering dedication to meeting the evolving needs of modern families.
Generally speaking, Pacifica returns this year without any major changes or updates. The last time Chrysler has updated the Pacifica was in 2021. Perhaps the only notable change is the new Road Tripper package on Touring L trim.
Trims and Pricing
When it comes to pricing, the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica offers a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. Starting at an enticing $38,865, the Touring trim sets the stage for adventure with its impressive features. However, for those seeking a touch of luxury without breaking the bank, the Touring L takes center stage at $42,525. This midrange gem elevates the Pacifica experience with enticing extras, including a heated steering wheel, sumptuous perforated leather upholstery, and heated front seats that make every journey a cozy delight. Rolling on 18-inch wheels, it strikes the perfect balance between style and substance. While front-wheel drive is the standard, the optional all-wheel-drive system is available for those who crave that extra assurance on the road.
For those seeking the ultimate in opulence, the top-of-the-line Pinnacle trim is a tempting option at $55,680. It embraces luxury with open arms, pampering occupants with an array of upscale features and finishes. From its elegant design elements to its advanced technologies, the Pinnacle exudes sophistication and refinement. And for those who prioritize eco-friendliness, the Hybrid Touring L at $52,390 and the Hybrid Limited at $56,490 offer the best of both worlds, blending fuel efficiency with the Pacifica's renowned PHEV versatility. With such a diverse lineup of trims and prices, there's a Pacifica for every discerning driver, ensuring that style, comfort, and peace of mind are well within reach.
What Is S Appearance Package?
Our test vehicle was the S Appearance Pacakge. As I describe it, you should get a good idea about the exterior of this PHEV minivan.
For those seeking a bolder and more distinctive look, the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica PHEV offers the S Appearance Package, available for an additional $1,245. This package is designed to elevate the exterior and interior aesthetics of the minivan, ensuring that it stands out from the crowd.
Starting on the outside, the Pacifica PHEV with the S Appearance Package boasts eye-catching 18-Inch x 7.5-Inch Foreshadow Aluminum Wheels, which add a touch of sportiness and elegance. These wheels are paired with 235/60R18 BSW All-Season Tires, providing both style and practicality for all weather conditions. The package also includes Anodized Ink Badging, Black Day Light Opening Moldings, and Body-Color Door Handles, enhancing the sleekness and sophistication of the vehicle.
Moving to the front, the Pacifica PHEV features Front Fascia Air Deflectors, which not only add a sporty element but also improve aerodynamics. The Gloss-Black Exterior Mirrors contribute to the package's overall stylish appeal. Meanwhile, the Gloss-Black Grille-Surround emphasizes the front fascia's bold presence.
Stepping inside the minivan, the S Appearance Package treats passengers to a luxurious experience. The Nappa Leather Bucket Seats with the "S" Logo provide both comfort and a touch of exclusivity. Complementing the seating are Piano Black Interior Accents, adding a sleek and refined touch to the cabin.
On the rear end, the Pacifica PHEV with the S Appearance Package features a Premium Rear Fascia with Black Accents, which enhances the minivan's overall design and elevates its visual appeal.
Practicality is not forgotten either, as the package includes Puncture Sealant and a Portable Air Compressor, ensuring that you're prepared for unexpected tire issues. Last but not least, the distinctive "S" Badge proudly showcases the vehicle's special designation.
With the S Appearance Package, the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica PHEV offers a fusion of style, comfort, and practicality, making a statement wherever it goes.
Despite its age, the Pacifica continues to maintain a certain modernity in its appearance. I personally like the look of this minivan, which is both sporty and refined, without necessarily going overboard like Toyota does with its Siena.
The interior of the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica PHEV offers a delightful combination of practicality, comfort, and thoughtful design elements. Getting in and out of the cabin is a breeze, thanks to wide-opening doors and a ground clearance that strikes the perfect balance between a car and an SUV.
Once inside, you'll be greeted by a beautifully finished interior, with excellent assembly quality and remarkable peripheral visibility. One standout feature is the low-positioned windshield, which provides an expansive view of the road ahead, ensuring a sense of confidence and safety. Chrysler truly understands the needs of families, as evidenced by the flawless ergonomics and smart storage solutions throughout the cabin. The center console offers ample storage space, including a spacious compartment, two large cupholders, and an additional storage compartment for phones or other accessories.
The dashboard-mounted gear selection dial frees up space for these practical storage solutions, while the physical buttons for the air conditioning and audio system are a welcome touch, especially in colder months when wearing gloves. The semi-digital/semi-analog instrumentation is efficient, and the UConnect 5 multimedia interface delivers a seamless user experience, allowing you to quickly access the information you need.
In terms of passenger comfort, the Pacifica excels. Accessing the second row of seats is effortless through the wide-opening sliding doors, and the addition of two 10-inch touchscreens (part of the optional Family Theater Package) behind the front seatbacks adds entertainment value for passengers. These touchscreens allow for the connection of external television accessories and come preloaded with games for children, with the option to download more.
One of the Pacifica's standout features is its Stow'N Go technology for the third row of seats. With just a few seconds of effort, the seats can be effortlessly folded into the floor, resulting in a flat cargo area. Surprisingly, even with the third row in place, accessing and finding comfort in it is a breeze, even for taller passengers. And when all seats are folded down, the Pacifica offers an impressive total cargo space of 3,979 liters, making it one of the most spacious minivans on the market, surpassed only by the Kia Carnival.
Engine and Mechanics
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine paired with an electric motor, which together produce 260 horsepower. The battery pack is located under the second row of seats, and it has a capacity of 16 kilowatt hours. This gives the Pacifica Hybrid an electric range of up to 32 miles according to EPA. Overall MPGe is 82, while gasoline only is 30. EPA says the best PHEV vehicles have overall MPGe of 132.
The Pacifica Hybrid's engine is efficient and powerful. It gets an EPA-estimated 84 miles per gallon equivalent in city driving and 75 miles per gallon equivalent in highway driving. This makes it one of the most fuel-efficient minivans on the market.
The Pacifica Hybrid's engine is also smooth and quiet. The electric motor provides instant torque, which makes the minivan feel responsive off the line. The CVT transmission is also well-tuned, and it provides smooth and seamless shifts.
One of the few downsides to the Pacifica Hybrid's engine is that it is only available with front-wheel drive. This is a bit disappointing, as many other minivans offer all-wheel drive as an option. However, for most people, front-wheel drive will be sufficient.
The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a surprisingly fun and efficient minivan to drive. The ride is smooth and quiet, and the handling is surprisingly good. The hybrid system works seamlessly.
At cold temperatures, the electric range is reduced, but the hybrid system still does a good job of maximizing fuel efficiency.
The Pacifica's thermal mechanics are also very competent. The engine is smooth and powerful, and I never felt like I was lacking in acceleration. Overall, the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a great minivan for families who want a fun, efficient, and comfortable ride.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.