Take our Best Car to Buy 2017—the Chrysler Pacifica—and add a hybrid-electric powertrain capable of providing 30 or more miles of electric-only driving. You have a one-of-a-kind, eco-friendly family hauler, an easy shoo-in for The Car Connection's Best Hybrid to Buy 2018.
We love the Pacifica regardless of what's under its hood. Its roomy, high-class interior with its comfortable seats, great view out, and intuitive 8.4-inch infotainment system are assets unmatched a year after we bestowed it with our top award. With the Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler keeps what makes the standard Pacifica so endearing and takes away some of the guilt.
MORE: Read our 2018 Chrysler Pacifica review
The Pacifica Hybrid, which arrived too late for award consideration last year, adds a 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack that allows it to run on electricity alone in low-load situations. Moreover, an on-board charger provides enough juice to the battery pack for an EPA-estimated 33 miles of electric-only range. For many American drivers, that's enough to drop the kids off at school, scoot to work, take a lunch break, and pick the kids up again on your way home without using a single drop of gasoline.
Once the charge is depleted, the Pacifica Hybrid operates like an especially efficient minivan capable of driving cross-country in comfort. At 32 mpg combined, the Pacifica Hybrid is by far the thriftiest minivan you'll find. But it's not just numbers that are on the Pacifica Hybrid's side. This low-guilt van rides and handles exceptionally well, to the point that it's a pleasure to hustle one along a curvy road.
DON'T MISS: The Car Connection's Best Car to Buy 2017
The Pacifica Hybrid's compromises are minimal, aside from the fact that the battery pack lives in the wells where the Stow 'n Go second row seats would normally hide. Chrysler's engineers recognized this shortcoming and made sure that the second-row seats are more heavily padded than they are in the standard, non-hybrid Pacifica. Additionally, the third row is a little louder in the Hybrid than it is in the standard model, perhaps due to the low-rolling resistance tires installed at the factory.
Those quibbles aside, the Pacifica Hybrid is a milestone achievement for the way it brings eco-friendly driving to the masses. And by "the masses," we mean that it's the first hybrid with comfort and space for seven adults. Plus their gear.
The Pacifica Hybrid is available in a wide range of trim levels starting at around $43,000. On paper, the Pacifica Hybrid lists for about $7,000 more than its standard sibling, a figure that's negated for many buyers by a $7,500 federal income-tax credit. Several states and municipalities add even more credits and rebates.
In short, there's no reason not to buy a Pacifica Hybrid over its standard Pacifica siblings.