Chrysler told us to expect its new Pacifica Hybrid minivan to be rated 80 MPGe but the official figure is even better than that. The Pacifica Hybrid has been officially rated by the EPA at 84 MPGe. It also scored a 10 on the EPA’s green vehicle guide. All those numbers may make your head spin, but here’s news you can use.
The standard non-hybrid version of the Pacifica is rated 22 mpg combined. That compares favorable to the competition. The Honda Odyssey is rated the same while the Nissan Quest is slightly ahead of both at 23 mpg. But when shoppers go down to the nearest Chrysler store to eyeball the new Pacifica Hybrid, they will find it is rated 32 mpg combined. That, friends and neighbors, is ten miles per gallon higher than the regular van.
In the world of light trucks, shoppers strive to find the pickup with the highest fuel economy. Manufacturers spend millions of dollars trying to boost the highway mileage of their Super Duper Duty behemoths by 1 mpg because that number is critical in the sales game. People don’t care that the beast really gets under 20 miles a gallon in regular use. What they care about is that on any given day, if they lit out for the Coast and had a favorable tailwind, their 7,000 lb chariot could, in theory, get 27, 28 or even 29 mpg.
Imagine what would happen if Ford or Chevy or Dodge could put a truck out there that got 10 miles a gallon better fuel economy? Dealers would have to call out the National Guard to control the crowds.
Here’s a little more perspective on how much of a breakthrough the Pacifica Hybrid is. The EPA says its official total range is 566 miles. The figure for the conventional minivan, which has a fuel tank 2 gallons bigger, is just 418 miles. The Pacifica Hybrid should cost about the same as a similarly equipped standard Pacifica once the federal tax credit and applicable state and local incentives are figured in.
That begs the question — if you are going to buy a minivan anyway and could pay the same money for one that gets 10 miles per gallon better gas mileage and has 150 miles more range, why wouldn’t you go with the Pacifica Hybrid? Chances are a lot of potential minivan buyers are asking themselves the same question right about now.