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2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Road Test

By
Michael Bettencourt
and
6
min
Dec 2023
The roomiest plug-in vehicle on the market, the Pacifica Hybrid has an EPA-estimated 32-mile all-electric range. There’s huge appeal in its combination of luxurious smoothness, minimal fuel bills when charged regularly, and impressive versatility.
2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front exterior view side profile
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2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Road Test

In the shrinking world of minivans – amongst burgeoning large crossovers and SUVs – there are only four companies selling new vans for 2024. And of that quartet, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and the hybrid-only Toyota Sienna are the two main “green” rivals. Brought to market in 2017, the Pacifica Hybrid’s name may not suggest it, but it’s really a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), and isn’t available as a conventional hybrid (unless you simply don’t plug it in).

Compared to the Sienna, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid nudges towards a more refined and eco-conscious family hauling experience in its all-electric mode, while the Sienna is only available as a notably louder conventional hybrid. The Toyota’s four-cylinder engine offers better fuel efficiency than the Pacifica Hybrid’s V6 when running on liquid fuel, while the Chrysler runs as smoothly and silently as many six-figure luxury EVs while it’s running on plug-in battery power for its 32 miles of official EV range (all mileage is EPA-estimated). Once its all-electric range is exhausted, the Pacifica is a still-comfy upscale family hauler once using regular fuel again.

The Pacifica Hybrid is not the flashiest family hauler available for its 2024 starting MSRP of $54,825 (including freight), but it is one of the few plug-in vehicles available with three rows of seats. Even fewer of those three-row plug-in vehicles offer anything resembling room for an adult in that third row; the all-electric Kia EV9 is a notable addition to this small group for 2024.

White 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front exterior view

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: Interior and Flexibility

Stepping into the driver’s seat is a simple slide-to-sit process, the ease of which is one of the main benefits of a taller vehicle. However, the Pacifica Hybrid has a lower floor, as it’s unconcerned about off-road pretensions like many SUVs.

Once settled inside, there are two traditional-looking gauges in front of you, though instead of a speedometer and tach in this Hybrid, there are indicators for regen/power levels on the left, and on the right, a speedo-sized gas gauge. This is likely the largest and most prominent gas gauge left in all 2024 motor-dom, which is extra ironic, as the Pacifica Hybrid is designed to minimize gas use as much as possible – though that’s extra difficult for this vehicle if you live in more northern winter climates.

It’s an attractive cockpit, and one that is full of large and easy to use knobs and buttons, including a rotary shift knob along with large climate control buttons and a fan speed knob. This ease of use was a major positive just a few years ago, and may still be for many drivers, but it does, with the gauges, create an ambiance that’s just a little bit old-school. Even as its large infotainment screen up top with wireless Apple CarPlay and advanced SiriusXM 360L provides more digital channels along with app integration that’s close to the forefront of in-car entertainment.

Comfortable heated and cooled seats with pull-down armrests front and rear reinforced my Pacifica Hybrid’s tester’s Road Tripper trim, as did its plentiful space and its super-flexible rear seating, though the optional orange-tinged ‘Road Tripper’ graphics and matching orange wheel accents on dark Luster Grey wheels on this particular unit may not be to everyone’s taste.

Rear-seat riders have access to twin rear screens complete with Amazon Fire TV built-in, which allows rear-seat riders to either stream or download content to either watch and listen to together on both rear screens – or they can choose their own programming and listen with provided wireless headphones. There are newer USB-C phone plugs on the rear seatbacks, plus HDMI slots where you could attach a gaming system at each seat – it’s set up so well for long road trips that this Pacifica actually makes it more tempting to look for new far-away destinations to visit.

2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid charging in a parking lot

Plug in to Maximize Comfort and Fuel Savings

It’s likely not surprising that the Pacifica Hybrid is not the best-handling vehicle on the market, even among three-row family haulers. There is lots of body roll and brake dive, even at slower speeds, which I don’t recall from the last gas-only Pacifica I drove, suggesting its dynamics were tuned without the large 16-kWh battery stacked under the seats.

Charging the lithium-ion battery can quickly be done at home in roughly two hours, with a 240-volt connection or Level 2 charger – useful for those busy weekends when you’re running errands and in and out of the house. Trickle charging on a 110-volt outlet with the included cable will be more of a challenge, as its relatively slow charging rate takes 12 to 14 hours for a full charge.

Cold winter temperatures will also slow those times down, especially if you’re trickle-charging, which may not provide enough power to pre-condition the Pacifica’s interior on very cold mornings if parked outside, or in an unheated garage.

The EPA-estimated 32 miles of all-electric range were impressive when the Pacifica Hybrid hit the market for 2017, and its EV range still better than the less-aerodynamic Jeep plug-in hybrid models. But, newer and (mostly) smaller PHEV models have mostly exceeded this figure now.

Plus, in most sub-zero winter temperatures, owners report that the gas engine comes on most (or all) of the time to provide heat to cabin occupants, even with a charged-up battery.

Chrysler Pacifica: Plug-In Hybrid or Gasoline?

Compared to the gas-powered Pacifica, the biggest downsides to the Hybrid model are the lack of disappearing second-row Stow ‘n Go seats – its seats fold down, but don’t disappear due to the presence of the lithium-ion battery – no tow rating compared to the gasoline version’s 3,500-lbs, and option for all-wheel drive.

There’s also the higher price of the Pacifica Hybrid, which starts with a Select trim, with features that roughly approximate a $43,275 Touring L trim of the gas model. Comparing Road Tripper specs, the MSRP difference between two similarly equipped models is roughly $6,500, before any discounts – and before the potential savings of $7,500 for the Hybrid thanks to the federal tax credit.

Keep in mind that as of January 1 2024, that tax credit becomes a tax rebate right at the dealer, so you won’t have to wait and hope for tax time to check if you’re eligible for the full amount. This rebate will be available whether you buy or lease a new Pacifica Hybrid, unlike with the new Kia EV9, which must be leased to see the federal rebate.

2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front exterior view close up

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: Value

From a value perspective as a plug-in vehicle, the Pacifica Hybrid shines from a space and practicality per dollar perspective – especially if you’re in a state that also offers EV rebates on top of the federal $7,500 currently offered. No other minivans offer a plug-in option, and relatively few three-row BEVs cost less than $80,000, with the EV9 and Tesla Model Y (with a tiny third-row bench squeezed into the cargo area) among the few exceptions.

Outside those states, the federal incentive roughly balances out the price of similarly-equipped Pacifica Hybrids with regular Pacificas. It’s true that the Pacifica in general is starting to feel its age from a driving perspective, as well as inside, where its knobs and large buttons will be a turn-off for buyers that want more touch screens (some buyers, on the other hand, will prefer the Pacifica’s approach).

Without the range and quicker charging ability of newer PHEVs, or the silent and modern feel of three-row fully-electric vehicles, the Pacifica Hybrid is a fading, yet still-worthy family-friendly pioneer, and one with lasting and long-distance appeal for families.