Chrysler hybrid minivans

Pacifica are that it will be available in both conventional and plug-in-hybrid versions, that it offers a ton of technology (including a rear entertainment system with twin 10-inch touchscreens), and that Chrysler can’t use “class-leading” enough when describing the aerodynamics, NVH levels, ride and handling, interior volume, and a whole pile of other stuff. And with its dramatic styling, there’s no way it will ever be mistaken for the milquetoast original Pacifica. We particularly like the repeated use of what Chrysler refers to as a Mobius-strip detail; it’s most obvious in the way the chrome trim in the lower fascia wraps from one fog lamp to the other, and the overall look counts as positively outlandish as far as minivans go. As a whole, we like it.

Motivating Factors

The standard Pacifica will use an updated version of Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which now boasts two-stage variable valve lift, cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR), a revised variable-valve-timing system, and a multitude of weight-saving measures. It’s mated to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission; this counts as a preemptive strike against the next-generation Honda Odyssey, which we expect will also offer a nine-speed automatic when it debuts this year. The upshot is 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque (slight gains from before), as well as increased efficiency, although Chrysler hasn’t yet released any fuel-economy figures whatsoever for this version. The Pacifica uses an all-new platform, and weight is down by 250 pounds model to model thanks to an increased use of high-strength steel, magnesium, and aluminum. The sliding doors are made from aluminum, for example, and the liftgate is a mix of magnesium and aluminum.

The Pacifica hybrid—the first gas-electric minivan in our market, by the way—uses a 3.6-liter V-6, a 16-kWh battery pack, and a twin-electric-motor setup to produce 260 total system horsepower, as well as to deliver 80 MPGe in the city (no highway number was released). The battery pack is located under the second-row floor (which means no Stow ’n Go seating there), and Chrysler says a 240-volt electrical hookup can replenish it completely in as little as two hours. Electric-only range is stated to be 30 miles. The hybrid system also uses a Chrysler-designed dual-motor transmission that, in the latest plug-in-hybrid whizbangery, incorporates two electric motors that can both be called upon to drive the front wheels via clutches, rather than devoting one solely to recapturing energy, as in older systems.

The fun tech includes the aforementioned Uconnect Theater system that brings twin 10-inch touchscreens on the front seatbacks. It will offer wireless connectivity to smartphones for app mirroring, built-in games, several USB ports for charging devices, HDMI connectivity, and an “Are We There Yet?” function that tells rear passengers the distance left on a journey and ETA. The center stack can be equipped with a 5.0-inch or a huge, 8.4-inch touchscreen. The latter is flush-mounted with the dash, giving it a personal-tablet vibe, and the graphics look sharp; owners who snag one will add the ability to customize functions and apps displayed on the menu bar. Pricing isn’t out yet, but we do know that the regular Pacifica will be available in LX, Touring, Touring-L, Touring-L Plus, Limited, and Limited Platinum trims. The hybrid will be offered in Touring and Limited Platinum only.

Chrysler believes this van’s style and available technology can make people believe that these rolling breadboxes are cool. We’re not sure about that—or even that such a goal is worthwhile; what’s wrong with the honesty of a minivan?—but we are sure the company has advanced the breed, at least on paper. We look forward to getting behind the wheel and experiencing the gadgetry for ourselves to find out if Chrysler also advanced the breed in practice.

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