PACIFIC PLUGIN OFFERS ELECTRIC DRIVING FOR SHORT TRIPS, V6 FOR LONGER TREKS
With a major refreshing due for 2021, the Chrysler Pacific doesn’t get much in the way of major changes for 2020, but that doesn’t mean you should not dismiss this year’s version of the company’s familiar minivan out of hand.
Since introducing the Pacifica as a replacement for the company’s Caravan in 2017, Chrysler has continued to issue updates that has kept the Pacifica at the forefront of the segment, second only in popularity and sales to the Honda Odyssey.
It also has the advantage of having the first gas-electric hybrid drivetrain in its class, something that was offered at the Pacifica’s debut as a minivan in 2017. (Previous Pacificas were classed as crossover SUVs until production was ceased after the 2008 model.)
The Odyssey also will have a hybrid version for 2021, but if you want to take advantage of potential clearance sales of 2020 vehicles the Pacifica is the only hybrid option.
As a plug-in hybrid, the Pacific operates in all-electric mode for a range of just over 30 miles and earns an MPGe rating of 82. That should handle daily school runs and trips to the nearby grocery and home improvement stores if you keep it charged nightly.
Using a typical household outlet usually requires an overnight charge to get a full charge, but the company says that using a 240-volt outlet cuts that down to two hours.
When the Pacifica Hybrid runs out of juice, a 3.6-liter V6 engine takes over in a seamless transition. Fuel economy for the V6 operation is an impressive 30 miles-per-gallon. Horsepower for the combined operation is 260, which provides if not a breathtaking at least a capable driving experience.
A CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is standard.
The Pacifica Hybrid comes in three trim levels, all front-wheel drive, with the base Touring trim starting at just under $40,000. The Touring L starts at just over $42,000 and the Limited trim that served as my test vehicle carries a base MSRP of $45,845 not including the $1,495 destination and delivery charge.
That’s a $300 boost over the 2019 Pacifica Hybrid Limited I reviewed previously (July 22, 2019).
Overall, the standard equipment for the 2020 Pacifica Hybrid Limited is much the same as that for the 2019 model. The grille has been modified with a mesh pattern replacing the 2019’s crossbars, but most of the other changes for the Pacific Hybrid were reserved for Touring and Touring L trims.
Standard features for 2020 Pacifica Hybrid Limited models include the user-friendly UConnect 4 infotainment system (2021 models get the UConnect 5 system) with an 8.4-inch screen for navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, heated steering wheel and heated front seats, ventilated front seats, 8-way power driver’s seat, second- and third-row side window shades, three-zone climate control, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection, and parking assist among many other niceties.
Options on my test vehicle started with a 20-speaker Harmon Kardon premium sound system and UConnect theater package that included a Blue-Ray DVD player for no charge, an S appearance package that added distinctive 18-inch wheels and a Napa leather bucket seats with an S logo, a tri-pane panoramic sunroof, and a package of safety features that included Lane-Keeping Assist plus.
The other options ran the bottom line to $51,025.
What I liked about the 2020 Chrysler Pacific Hybrid Limited: The ride is really nice and smooth — it doesn’t really handle like a typical minivan — and infotainment features are very easy to operate. Chrysler’s UConnect system is one of the best. It’s not a new feature, but I appreciate a door on the left side for backseat passengers. Power opening and closing for the side doors and rear liftgate also is a nice touch. Stowage room behind the third row is 32.3 cubic feet, and the third-row seats fold flat to provide up to 87.5 cubic feet.
What I didn’t like about the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited: If I’m going to have to plug in a vehicle, I would appreciate it going a longer range in electric mode.
Would I buy the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited? Though I really don’t like to fool with any of the plugin vehicles, I would recommend it for anybody who isn't bothered with that. I have to give Chrysler credit for providing a long cord to hook it up. Not all of us have outlets near driveways so that is a plus.