Review update: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the ultimate family vacation vehicle

The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica is so nice we awarded it twice.

First, we named the Chrysler Pacifica The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2017, and then our sister site named the gasoline-electric Pacifica Hybrid Green Car Reports’ Best Car To Buy 2018. It deserved both. After a week trekking across the Rockies and the Upper Midwest with the entire family aboard, we might give it a third.

Minivans are people movers, whether they’re shuffling from Starbucks to soccer practice, or across the country. The Pacifica is more than up to the task, and the hybrid can do it with an EPA-rated all-electric range of 32 miles.

The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica has a TCC rating of 7.7 and hits big with handling that’s almost too good, a spacious cargo area, unmatched utility this side of a Ryder truck, great looks, and good connectivity. It falls a bit short with no all-wheel drive on the options list, the hybrid loses fold-away seats, and it can be pricey.

My family journeyed between national parks in Jackson, Wyoming, to home in Minneapolis, and took the long way in a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Here’s where the big family wagon hit and where it missed:

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Hit: Minivans can look like that? Yes, they can. Minivans aren’t chic, but the Pacifica comes close. Chrysler said one of every three Pacificas sold now has the S package, which dresses it up even more with blacked-out trim and it’s sharp.

Miss: Where’s the AWD option? Chrysler’s engineers have told us that the Pacifica could be built with all-wheel drive, but shoppers aren’t asking for it. For the hybrid, it could be as simple as an electric motor on the rear axle for slippery starts, similar to the all-wheel-drive Toyota Prius. It’s been more than two years, and the only minivan on sale with all-wheel drive in the U.S. today is the Toyota Sienna.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Hit: Copious connectivity and screens. My Pacifica Hybrid tester was equipped with a rear-seat entertainment system featuring two seat-mounted 10.0-inch touchscreens. The screens could be controlled via the dash-mounted 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, remotes, or the touchscreens themselves. There are seat-mounted USB ports, aux-in jacks, and HDMI inputs along with a DVD and dashboard-mounted Blu-ray player and USB input for video. You can even stream video to the screens via an app, but only on Android (sorry iOS users).

Miss: And yet so many limitations. The USB ports mounted next to the second-row entertainment screens? They aren’t data inputs, and only charge devices. You can use the HDMI input, but you’ll need an expensive (around $45) adapter for an iPhone, and even then, you can’t play Netflix, Vudu, and other streaming services because they aren’t compatible video sources. You need discs unless you plug in via the HDMI inputs or have an Android smartphone. Hope you saved all those old DVDs.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Hit: Hybrid efficiency. The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid isn’t just a hybrid, it’s a plug-in hybrid with an EPA-rated 32 miles of all-electric range, 80 MPGe, and 30 mpg combined. All of those figures are easily achievable in the real world. Our previous experiences with the Pacifica Hybrid demonstrated to us that 32 electric miles from the 16-kwh lithium-ion battery pack. On our cross-country road trip this time, we didn’t stop to charge and managed 29.2 mpg over 1,640 miles, mostly on the highway. For those keeping score, the non-hybrid Pacifica is rated at 28 mpg highway.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica

Miss: You lose Stow-N-Go with the hybrid. The battery packs live in the under-floor wells that the second-row seats would typically fold into so there’s no fold-flat second-row seating in the Pacifica Hybrid. You can still remove the second-row seats, but they each weigh 61 pounds.

Hit: Kids love vans. My 3-year-old and 5-year-old were both obsessed with the Pacifica Hybrid. They loved pushing a button to open and close the sliding rear doors, it enabled freedom for a child—perhaps terrifying as a parent. It also doesn’t ride as high as a crossover SUV, so they can step into the second row without climbing up. There’s room to move inside the Pacifica and plenty of storage for their knickknacks, water bottles, and snack cups.

2018 Chrysler Pacifica

Miss: It doesn’t suck. If only it did. The standard Pacifica is available with an onboard vacuum, but that fantastic option isn’t available on the hybrid because the 12-volt battery and charge kit need to fit in space where the vacuum would sit.

Hit: It’s all-around comfortable. The Hybrid rides on 18-inch wheels with thick sidewalls that absorb road imperfections. The front seats are supportive with plenty of stretch-out room in all directions. While the second-row loses it Stow-N-Go fold-flat ability, it gains thicker, more comfortable seats that are on rails to increase second- or third-row leg room. The third-row sits low but still remains comfortable for an adult and can even recline.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Miss: That minivan image. A friend asked how the Pacifica Hybrid was, and while I gushed, he stopped me and said he just can’t “do a minivan.” Minivans still have a negative image with consumers as “not cool.” For some it’s because minivans simply have never really looked cool (though the Pacifica looks darn good) while for others it’s because Mom and Dad drove a minivan. The unwarranted negative stereotype follows the Pacifica Hybrid despite its electric range and astounding functionality.

At $51,050 as tested, our Ocean Blue 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was a rolling playroom for kids and adults with heated and cooled leather seats up front, an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and dual 10.0-inch rear-seat entertainment screens with a Blu-ray player. There’s also a host of active safety tech including forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control.

With an electric range of 32 miles and an EPA rating of 30 mpg combined with seating for up to seven, there’s no question as to whether the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is one of the best family vehicles on the road today. It is, as long as you don’t demand all-wheel drive.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Base Price: $41,490

Price as tested: $51,050

EPA fuel economy: 82 MPGe/30 mpg combined

The hits: It’s a plug-in minivan, handsome, superb content, well-packaged

The misses: Foldaway second-row missing, minivan image, no vacuum, not cheap

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand review.

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