Our test car, through the last three articles, was a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited.
The base Pacifica Hybrid Touring Plus costs $41,340. That includes the 8.4 inch screen, CarPlay and Android support, satellite radio, 7-inch trip computer, SafetyTec, and power sliding side doors. The Touring L adds $2,000 and perforated leather seats, heated front seats, a power liftgate, and other niceties.
The Pacifica Hybrid Limited is the most expensive model, at $46,340 (including destination), just a few thousand above a decently outfitted BMW 3-series compact sedan — before the inevitable incentives (currently around $1,000). That includes UConnect Theater, hands-free power sliding doors and liftgate, and Nappa leather seats — a softer, nicer leather.
What else did we get? Well, first, there was a 110-volt charging cord, which was long enough for most people. There were side curtain airbags in every row, front seat-mounted side airbags, and knee bolster bags for the front row passengers. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection, invaluable in a car of this size, were both standard on the Limited. Less important, but still thrown in, were a remote starter, rear park assist with full stop, navigation, 13 Alpine speakers, USB stereo inputs, three-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, “Super Console,” and numerous other items.
To get all the goodies our car had, your main addition is the Advanced SafetyTec Group, which for $995 — a relatively bargain — includes the 360° cameras, advanced brake assist, cruise control that can stop the car and the resume, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, lane departure warning with variable levels of intervention, auto-parking, front and rear parking beepers (the rear one will even stop the van before you hit), and rain-sensitive wipers. We also had the $1,595 panoramic sunroof, with sections over all three rows of seats, which is nice but much harder to justify — as are the $895 18” polished aluminum wheels.
The only option I wanted, but didn’t have, was LED headlights — which I strongly recommend to anyone who is listening.
I couldn’t find it on the web site, but our van came with “KeySense,” a possibly-$175 option which lets you program each key/fob with stereo, seat, and mirror preferences, and a top speed restriction, and adjustable warning and intervention thresholds (e.g. hitting the brakes earlier with the collision warning), for parents to give to teens — or to use themselves when they’re afraid of getting a ticket or a crash.
There was another option on my window sticker which I couldn’t find on the web site, which was the 20-speaker Harman Kardon sound group, including a 760 watt amp. The window sticker showed no price for this or for the Advanced SafetyTec Group.
Wrapping it up
The Pacifica Hybrid is currently bargain-priced, compared with Honda and Toyota minivans. As an early buyer, I’d normally say “watch out,” but so far there haven’t been many problems reported around the system. Chrysler seems to have done their homework and a lot of testing — though, really, getting the lifetime extended warranty is probably a good idea if you intend to keep it indefinitely, just because it’s so laden with gadgets and gizmos. Of those, the least likely to expire early, I would guess, would be the battery and hybrid system.
Like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Pacifica Hybrid lets you get away with fuel-economy murder; it’s the largest-interior hybrid I know of, calling for very few sacrifices. It costs a bit more up front, but if you have cheap power (perhaps your own solar), or if gas prices rise, or if you have a rough commute that drops ordinary gas mileage to well below EPA estimates, it can probably save a lot of money. In the meantime, you can enjoy the cool factor — and I’m including “staying cool,” running the air conditioner on battery while you wait for someone to get out of school, with the engine off.
The form factor can’t be dismissed, either. Minivans are inherently easier to live with than SUVs and crossovers, between the “walk-through” interior, gaping wide side doors and hatch, and function-before-style ethic. The Pacifica’s 360° camera only enhances that.
The Pacifica Hybrid has very few rough edges, many attractive qualities, and it’s priced to sell. [mic drop.]
Late news: the 2019 Pacifica will include a new black-trimmed, special-wheeled “S” model, some additional features in various price points, and new options. The basic minivan remains the same.
The author of books on the Dodge Viper, Jeep pickups and wagons, and Chrysler minivans (as well as a kid’s book about early Jeeps), David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s; he also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.com and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. His latest book, for kids, is Meet the Jeep.
David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. You can reach him by using our contact form.