The Pacifica Hybrid came during the perfect time in early June as Deanne had a weekend overnight trip planned with two of her friends, where they would spend two days and one night at a cabin located near Strawberry Reservoir.
So we fully charged the PEHV van, giving us a reported 35 miles possible on pure electricity for Deanne’s drive through Heber, Utah, and on up to Strawberry. The van preformed perfectly, getting the threesome all the way to Heber before using any gas for the trip.
After that, the gas engine kicked in and they had to use it the rest of the way to the cabin. They were able to plug it in overnight and through the next day, getting an additional 35 miles of pure electric driving.
The Pacifica uses braking, deceleration along with anything else it can to maximize the amount of electricity it can provide or use to recharge when driving. There were times we thought that we were completely out of electricity, only to have the van find a way to give us more.
We also understood the best way to really give the new minivan a run for its money would be to charge it every day and drive it as we would any of our own vehicles. The object would be to see just how good of gas mileage we could get and also how many electric miles that we could eek out in a week.
So how did the test work out? Well, we were able to drive the Pacifica a total of 335.6 miles; of those, 172.3 were on electricity and 163.3 were eaten up using the gasoline engine, for a net mileage score of 31.2 mpg.
It would take more math and figuring of how many kilowatt hours were used up charging the minivan to full, but even then at an average cost of 8.5 cents per hour in our hometown of Springville, we felt pretty confident that we would definitely save money in the long run by charging every night.
The last time we drove a Pacifica that was not hybrid, we averaged just over 22 mpg, so adding the electric engines and batteries give the minivan a significant upgrade in the mileage department. The addition of the batteries is one spot where the Pacifica gives up some previous mojo.
With the rechargeable batteries onboard that would propel the vehicle for up to 35 miles on pure electric power and at freeway speeds, the Pacifica loses the second row of stow and go seating. By this we mean the included captain’s chairs could not stow and go; they have to be removed by hand to use the space.
However, the rear seats still function as stow and go and were of a great help when Deanne took her friends on the short overnighter, as with the seats down there was an ample amount of space for all of the things that seemed to be involved in an overnight stay!
Even though we did enjoy the highest trim level (“Limited”) for our evaluation week, which of course comes with many extras, at the end of the week we were convinced these extras would do nothing but add awesomeness, including things that parents with busy lives would want to help keep their kids in check. And on a family vacation, this vehicle would become priceless for any parents to call their own!
The Limited also comes complete with 10-inch screens on back of each of the front seats, which are as kid friendly as they could be. The Pacifica comes with many applications and games just for the kids, including games like tic-tac-toe, checkers, chess and bingo, which could be played alone or with other occupants in the vehicle.
The best app included is the “Are we there yet?” app that works with the navigation, when a destination is input, the folks in the back can see where they are on the map and how long it will take to get to the destination. Again, a priceless addition from the engineers, making the long family vacation better for the grownups!
The Pacifica was more than up for any challenge no matter where our week took us. The 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which provides 287 horsepower, is mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission that managed the uphill canyons to Strawberry with ease. With over 550 mile range when fully fueled and charged, the Pacifica Hybrid turns into the ultimate road tripping vehicle.
Those up front are not left out by the designers, as there was luxury and technology aplenty. Heated and cooled seats are standard on the Limited along with a heated steering wheel, both additions we really can’t live without in a climate where the seasons can give us very cold days and nights, as we saw in early June when using both was necessary.
The 8.4-inch touchscreen that comes with the new Uconnect system is now in high definition and includes an all-around view monitor when backing, along with a great navigation system. We have come to love the way everything can be controlled from this screen, from radio to climate control.
Safety is also a priority in the Pacifica, with standard features being the blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection and parking assist. Added in our Limited trim with the Advanced SafetyTec Group were adaptive cruise control with stop and go, forward collision warning with advanced brake assist, rain sensing wipers and automatic high beam control.
The tri-pane panoramic sunroof was the ultimate edition, giving the interior an almost outside feel with the headliner peeled back. It was the perfect nighttime viewing roof and proved a great place to look up at the stars when the girls were at the cabin.
The addition of the 18-inch polished aluminum wheels gave the exterior a more refined look, one we would suggest as this look takes more of that minivan stigma away. With the new sleek exterior design, the Pacifica is no longer just another in its class. In fact, with the rear doors closed, it no longer screams minivan; we would have to say it looks more like a large SUV.
For a great addition to the family and one that will grow with that family, the new Pacifica Hybrid has to be the leading choice in this ever-evolving and competitive electric market.
Base price: $45,845
Price as driven: $50,230