Drive Time: Hybrid charges up Pacifica claim – Colorado News

Drive Time: Hybrid charges up Pacifica claim – Colorado News

Its claim of segment-leading minivan for Chrysler’s year-old Pacifica has been charged up with the showing of a plug-in hybrid version.

No minivan has been in the hybrid mix before.

I drove to Newport Beach, Calif., a year ago for introduction of the gasoline-powered Pacifica, which was of improved stature in replacing the near-three-decades-old Town & Country minivan.

It earned plaudits all over the country for its 287-horsepower V-6 engine, with rotary dial shifter to control its 9-speed automatic transmission, 28-miles-per-gallon fuel rating on the highway, sliding side doors with push of a button, power liftgate, longer and wider passenger space, 20-speaker sound system, even a built-in vacuum for cleaning every nook and corner.

Coming my way last week was the ’17 Pacifica Hybrid Platinum model. Pistons, valves and camshafts have been modified in the more-efficient Atkinson cycle for the 3.6-liter V-6, as two electric motors contribute to the overall horsepower in the plug-in hybrid. It operates with an electrically variable transmission in place of the 9-speed, and a battery pack beneath the second row of seats is charged from a plug-in port in the left front fender.

On a drive of the hybrid to DIA Saturday evening to pick up Darrel and Carolyn Davis, returning from a two-week trip, I re-set the mileage computer at Brighton. All electricity had been expended from the battery pack, so the only source of power, in addition to the gas engine, was electricity produced by the car’s regenerative braking system. From Brighton to DIA and back to Greeley, the 82-mile distance was split 61 by gas engine and 21 by electricity, with an overall average of 30.4 miles…

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