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As essentially big rectangular boxes on wheels, minivans are particularly hard to style in an appealing way. Chrysler didn’t get it right with the last generation, but the 2018 Pacifica more than makes up for it. Now in its second year, its shape is already a familiar one in family suburbs, and we suspect it’ll endure after minivans with more swoops and flourishes start to look tired.
The only visual differences that distinguish the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid from the conventional version are a discreet charge-port door in the left-front fender, subtle differences in the grille and lower frontal shape, and a handful of badges. Chrysler has kept the Pacifica’s nose as sleek and slim as you can imagine, and the tall side glass is outlined in chrome. Boxiness is avoided by a reverse angle on the rearmost side window, echoed by a black trim panel that seems to make the tailgate wrap around the van’s corners—even though it doesn’t, really. Sliding-door tracks are hidden below the rear side-window trim, and the base of the driver’s window is low enough to give close outward visibility. Overall, it’s hard to find fault with the Pacifica’s exterior.
While minivans are not sports cars, many of our test drivers felt the Pacifica’s roadholding and ride set a new standard for the segment. This year, there’s a new Honda Odyssey in the field, and we’d say its handling equals the Chrysler’s, though the Pacifica Hybrid gets the edge on ride due to its heft and low-down weight. It’s composed on every road surface we could find to test it, and it tracks well while suppressing bad road surfaces. Winding roads are a pleasant surprise too, as the ride control proved to be far above our expectations.
The power-adjustable front-row seats are relatively supportive, and the sliding second-row seats were fine for us as well. The third-row seats aren’t as lavishly padded as the front seats but adults won’t find them uncomfortable, just perhaps a bit less supportive—and the head room and leg room back there is exemplary. The Pacifica Hybrid Limited doesn’t offer the power folding third row that’s found on the same trim level in the conventional version, however.
Storage space is more than ample, including deep bins in the console big enough to hold a tablet and quite a lot more, storage in door pockets, and cubbies, trays, and cupholders galore. Even the third row has multiple cupholders. It’s the only vehicle in which we’ve covered thousands of miles without being able to fill all the available cabin storage.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.