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2021 Chrysler Pacific hybrid review: It’s the minivan to buy

The 2020 Chrysler Pacific in PHEV trim is one of the best minivans you could buy, but there were a few things that we would like to see changed. For the updated 2021 model year, Chrysler seemed to fix all of the qualms we had and delivers one of the best people carrying experiences out there.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica exterior

Photo credit: Chad Kirchner / EV Pulse

While the Pacifica retains the overall appearing of the previous year, there are some cosmetic changes to set it apart. Up front, it’s new headlights. These lights are standard on all Pacifica models — including the gas ones — and are LED for both high and low beam.

In the rear, new LED taillights extend all the way across the rear lift gate with a single strip.

Our S appearance package trim has the dark wheels and dark trim pieces. If it looks just last our last Pacifica tester, it’s because they were equipped the same. I actually dig this color combination and would be a strong consideration if I were picking one out myself.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica interior

Photo credit: Chad Kirchner / EV Pulse

Most everything is the same in the 2021 Pacifica as the 2020 model, except the infotainment is replaced with Uconnect 5. There is an optional Pinnacle trim that has a more plus interior, complete with throw pillows, for those who want a luxury-level experience.

The S appearance is just fine, though, and flip up seat back screens provide hours of entertainment for adults and children alike. If you have a Google Android device, you can even stream from your phone to the rear screens.

4G LTE Wi-Fi is on board, so everyone can stay connected. A Blu-ray player still exists for those who have discs. The entertainment package also includes wireless headphones with remotes.

Uconnect 5 is a major step up from the previous infotainment system. We’ll have a full review here in the future, but some of the key changes is standard wireless Car Play and Android Auto support.

GAME SHOW: Kathryn Hahn hosts Pacifica Hybrid game show commercial 

There’s also a higher resolution 10.1-inch display with some of the best color reproduction I’ve seen on any infotainment screen.

New navigation comes from TomTom, and it’s predictive depending on where you are going and at what time of day.

The system supports multiple driver profiles, which retains seat settings, radio presets, navigation destinations, and other features. Also for multiple people trips, the infotainment supports two different Bluetooth devices to be connected at the same time. That means someone can spin up the tunes while the driver’s phone remains connected for phone calls.

Pacifica’s FamCam function. Photo credit: Chad Kirchner / EV Pulse

A new feature, called FamCam, allows the driver to see every seat in the back of the van on the infotainment screen. It has night vision so it works in the dark, and the camera is angled so that the driver can see into rear-facing child safety seats.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica safety tech

Photo credit: Chad Kirchner / EV Pulse

Chrysler added even more safety tech as standard for 2021, which means you get pedestrian and cycle emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rain sensitive wipers, and automatic high beams.

Kudos to Chrysler for making everything standard. While Toyota and some other competitors add most of this, it’s rare to see such a complete feature set on every trim.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica charging

Photo credit: Chad Kirchner / EV Pulse

Charing a Pacifica is easy with the included Level 1 charger. Though it’ll take 12 hours to fully recharge the 32 miles of electric range, it’s a good overnight option.

You can charge from a Level 2 J1772 charger, too, in 2 hours. Should you get one of these installed in your home if you get one? You might want to.

If I could dream, I wish it supported a CCS fast charger at least at 25 to 50 kW. But in reality that’s likely overkill for this application.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica driving impressions

The Pacifica drives well for a big minivan. The steering is light, and it’s easy to maneuver around parking lots. If you need help parking, it’ll automatically parallel or perpendicular park for you.

Visibility is good, and it’s helped even more by the 360-degree camera system.

CHECK OUT: Actress Kathryn Hahn hosts Chrysler hybrid game show

The 32 miles of electric range is obtainable, and based on the estimate of the onboard computer, it could go even higher depending on weather and driving conditions.

The everyday van duties will be able to be completed entirely on electricity, but if you want to take a family road trip to Disney you can. I’m sure it’s an epic road trip vehicle.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica final thoughts

Photo credit: Chad Kirchner / EV Pulse

The Pacifica plug-in hybrid was already a great van. The changes for 2021 make it greater. It’s simply the minivan to get.

At a glance

  • Year: 2021
  • Make: Chrysler
  • Model: Pacifica Hybrid
  • Type: Minivan
  • Horsepower: 260
  • Torque: 262 lb-ft
  • EV range: 32 miles
  • MPGe: 82
  • Pros: Great, family-focused tech, killer infotainment
  • Cons: Not as much storage as the gasoline only version
  • Base price: $36,540
  • Price as tested: $50,630
Written by Chad Kirchner
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