Search
The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
PACIFICA HYBRID 1ST GAS PLUG-IN HYBRID

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Leave it to Chrysler to come up with a first. A pioneer of the minivan segment more than three decades ago with the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, the automaker has debuted with Pacifica – the first gasoline plug-in hybrid minivan in the world.
A 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar gas engine is coupled to two electric motors, one of which serves as a generator and the other delivers torque. The 16-kWh lithium-ion battery in the second-row floor enables the Pacifica to go about 38 miles on pure electric. Pumping up the battery via a 6.6kW on-board charger takes just two hours or the typical 240-volt plug-in at home will consume 14 hours. On a full battery and gas tank, Chrysler claims you can go 530 total miles. All in all, total horsepower is 260, plenty to cruise the highway or speed up in rush-hour traffic. The electrically variable transmission in the front-wheel drive minivan is up to the job.
Our high-end Platinum model showed off a black front grille flanked by auto halogen quad headlights, LED daytime running lights and fog lamps. But it is for its interior amenities that people will buy this minivan. Forget Stow n Go for the second row (though it easily slides) but the third-row bench still folds into the floor. For extra gas savings, keep a close eye on the central information display of battery charge, engine power, fuel gauge readings. Laudable are convenient driver and passenger side power-sliding doors for easy ingress/egress. And, of course, storage compartments thrive in the Pacifica, offering 140.5 cubic feet with both rear rows folded and 32.3 cubic feet behind the last row. Other goodies include tri-zone auto a/c, 8-way power driver seat, power adjustable lift gate, Nappa leather seats, 8.4-inch UConnect for audio and navigation, and a manual tilt/telescopic steering column. 
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for all three rows, front knee airbags, front active head restraints, Electronic Stability Control with traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, blind spot monitor, rearview camera, rear-park and hill start assist, remote keyless entry/start system, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
By no means a bargain at an exorbitant $44,995, the Pacifica plug-in hybrid should attract families looking for a safe and solid ride, people- and cargo-hauling capability and mainly substantial fuel savings at the pump.

PACIFICA HYBRID (PLATINUM)
Tires: P235/60R18
Wheelbase: 121.6 inches
Length: 203.8 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, twist-blade rear
Steering: electric rack and pinion
Weight: 4,987 pounds
Fuel capacity: 17 gallons
Gas only: 32 mpg combined
Gas and electricity: 84 MPGe combo
Web site: www.chrysler.com

CALLING ALL CHRYSLER DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com