Saturday, December 24, 2022



Chrysler was the first automaker to offer a gas-electric hybrid drivetrain in a minivan when it revived the Pacifica for the 2017 model year, and it remains the only manufacturer with a plugin version with the 2022 Pacifica Hybrid.

Considering all the emphasis on electric vehicles and their automotive future, it is kind of surprising that to date the Pacifica is the only plug-in minivan on the market. Toyota has put a standard hybrid drivetrain in all of its Sienna models, but offers no plug-in trim.

But then, minivans are a very small segment of the overall market and less than a half-dozen manufacturers even include one in their fleet. Only two — Honda with the Odyssey and Chrysler — reached five figures in sales for the third quarter this year, according to numbers from and.Odyssey sales were just over half of what they were for the third quarter of 2021. Pacifica’s were up almost a third.

The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid comes in three trims starting with the Touring L The Touring trim in the standard Pacifica portfolio is not included, but Limited and Pinnacle trims are offered with the hybrid drivetrain.

This review is based on the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle at the top of the portfolio.

Chrysler gave the Pacifica several updates last year after reintroducing the nameplate in 2017, but several new standard features were added for 2022. Chrysler notes that the Pacifica has more than 100 standard safety features, which, considering the minivan is likely destined for family use, is a big plus in its favor.

The spec sheet (Monroney label) for my test Pacifica Pinnacle included a 360-degree surround view camera system, parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, pedestrian emergency braking, full-speed forward collision warning, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, rain sensitive windshield wipers, advanced brake assist, and a full collection of seatbelts and airbags.

Standard interior features included 8-way power heated and ventilated front seats, a suede headliner, a wireless charging pad, built-in Amazon Fire TV, Harmon Kardon speakers, a wi-fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto, and Chrysler’s UConnect5 with a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment features.

Hands-free sliding doors, LED headlights, roof rack, and 18-inch wheels also are standard.

The powertrain for all three trims features a 3.6-liter V6 engine working with two electric motors that provide just over 30 miles of electric-only driving range. Its combined 260 horsepower (less than the 287 in the V6 in non-hybrid Pacificas) gets to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission.

EPA ratings are 82 MPGe (combined rating) and 30 mpg for gas only with a range of 500 miles before fill-ups with 87 octane fuel and charging.

Base MSRP for the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle is $59,645 including the $1,595 destination and delivery charge, but qualifying for the $7,500 tax credit and potential state tax breaks make the 2022 Chrysler Pacific Hybrid a compelling buy.

Depending on your driving habits, you could go a long time between stops at a gas station by keeping it charged to take advantage of that all-electric drive capability.

What I liked about the 2022 Chrysler Pacific Pinnacle:
It’s a much peppier ride than you might expect. The interior is nicely appointed with room enough for seven passengers (38.1 inches of legroom for third-row riders) and their stuff. Capacity behind the third row is listed at 32.3 cubic feet, which is considerably more than the average standard 3-row SUV offers with all seats in place. As a plug-in (PHEV), range anxiety is not an issue as it is with EVs. Transition from electric mode to gas is seamless. Infotainment features are easy to catch onto. Hands-free sliding rear doors make for easy access to the second and third rows.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Chrysler Pacific Pinnacle: Pacifica’s popular stow-n-go feature that allows you to fold second-row seats flat is not available because the battery pack uses that space. Chrysler does not recommend using the Pacifica Hybrid for towing. I don’t mind turning a knob to change gears, but the dial for the gear selector is very close to the volume knob for the radio and it could be confusing if it is dark and you aren’t playing close attention.

Would I buy the 2022 Chrysler Pacific Pinnacle? Wish I would have had this when my kids were growing up. No need for it now though! If you are leaning toward a three-row SUV to handle family duties, keep in mind the Pacifica has the advantage of being able to handle not only seven passengers but also their stuff on longer on trips. 

Thursday, December 15, 2022



Imports pretty much have taken over the sedan, SUV/crossover, and coupe markets, but there is one automotive segment that U.S. products still dominate. We Americans love our pickup trucks.

Not only do domestic products — i.e., Ford F Series, Ram, and Chevrolet Silverado — dominate their segment, they also were 1-2-3 in U.S. sales of all vehicles through the third quarter of this year.

Just behind them is another home-grown entry. The GMC Sierra, a slightly more upscale version of the Silverado, comes in at No. 4 in the segment, comfortably ahead of other full-size pickups like the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan and even compact pickups like the Toyota Tacoma and GMC’s own Canyon.

The 2023 GMC Sierra is all about variety with four engine choices, three cab configurations, and, with the introduction of the new AT4X model, eight different trim levels to choose from. There’s even an all-electric version in the works. GMC says the GMC Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 will be available in early 2024.

This review is based on the 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X trim that carries a starting MSRP of $79,295 including a hefty $1,795 destination and delivery charge. (Note: You might find different numbers when searching the web, but that is what our spec sheet showed.)

Options quickly get that to over $80,000. For example, Rocker Protection adds $1,195. It protects rocker panels and also keeps you from getting stuck on rocks or tree stumps on your more aggressive off-roading ventures. Those bars run under the doors and if not a true running board to aid in getting in or out at least serve as a running “rail” to step up on.

With a starting price approaching the $80,000 mark and near the top of the Sierra portfolio (only the Denali Ultimate at over $82,000 is costlier), you would expect a long list of standard equipment, and you get it.

Though the hands-free driving system dubbed Super Cruise will be available only on Denali models, the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X comes with features that include the 6.2-liter V8 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, full-grain leather seats with a massage function, a multi-pro tailgate that provides a desk-like surface to work on, a premium sound system, LED headlights and taillights as well as LED fog and daytime running lights, keyless entry and push-button start, heated front and rear and ventilated front seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual zone climate control, and spray-on bedliner.

Safety systems include automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian warning, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, blind-spot alert, front and rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic braking, and an HD surround view camera with bed view.

In addition to the off-roading enhancements found on the AT4 like the two-speed transfer case, hill descent control, all-terrain tires, recovery hooks, skid plates, and adjustable traction control, the 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X also gets off-road specific adaptive dampers, and electronic front and rear locking differentials.

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X comes only with the 6.2L V8, the largest among the choices in the Sierra lineup. It is rated at 420 horsepower with 460 pound-feet of available torque which can provide up to 13,000 pounds towing capacity depending on the configuration.

Fuel numbers are 14 miles-per-gallon city, 17 highway, and 15 combined, which the EPA estimates will cost you an extra $10,500 more in fuel costs over the average new vehicle.

What I liked about the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X:
The cabin is spacious and comfortable, and the numerous tech features are pretty user-friendly. Probably the best safety feature is the standard surround-view camera, especially when maneuvering in a crowded parking garage. There’s plenty of storage space, including under the back seat.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X:
While the available 13.4-inch, hi-res touchscreen provides a clear picture for you to work with, side streets on the navigation map need more contrast for easier viewing at a glance. I would like a knob to tune the radio dial.instead of holding my finger down on an  arrow on the touchscreen. It’s OK to climb up into the cabin but getting down from it requires extra care so your foot doesn’t slip off the round surface of the rocker protection bars.

Would I buy the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X? I personally do not need a pickup of any size and particularly one of the Sierra’s heft. But the Sierra is all about choices and if your budget can accommodate the higher trims it is worth a look.