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Exterior view of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid

The older I get, the more my tastes change. I've been into cars since I was a kid, but in my pre-driving days, I only paid attention to exotics. As time went on, I found myself developing an interest in vintage vehicles. My automotive writing career has also taught me to appreciate hot hatches and capable off-road vehicles. In just the past few months, I've become keenly aware of how pleasant minivans can be. It started with the 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite, which proved to be a stylish, comfortable, and well-equipped way to go on an unforgettable family trip to the Grand Canyon. That only made me want to test the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica even more.

I only had to wait a little over a month for the opportunity to do just that. The timing worked out wonderfully, as Chrysler has just updated the Pacifica's design, infotainment, and safety features for 2021. My Pacifica Hybrid test vehicle had all of those improvements, along with the cosmetic and equipment upgrades bundled into the new top-of-the-line Pinnacle trim level. It's so loaded that there are only two small options to add: paint protection film and splash guards. My press loaner didn't have them, so its final price of $52,340* wasn't that far north of its starting price of $50,845*.


2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid Exterior

Exterior view of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid

Whether you see the 2021 Pacifica coming or going, you can tell it apart from its predecessors. The entire front end is new, including the front fascia, LED fog lights, and LED headlights, which are now separate from the grille. There are six new wheel designs, which range in diameter from 17 to 20 inches. Instead of keeping the taillights as two distinct pieces, Chrysler's designers linked them with a full-width light bar and strip of black trim.

The Pacifica Pinnacle's most distinguishing characteristics are easiest to see in its profile. Platinum Chrome accents highlight the greenhouse area, power sliding doors, and front doors, where lettering spells out that it's Chrysler's poshest people mover. Since the Hybrid model is more focused on fuel economy and driving range, it rolls on polished 18-inch wheels with gray pockets, instead of its gas-powered sibling's flashier 20s.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid Interior

Interior view of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid

The majority of the Pacifica Hybrid's flourishes are inside of its exclusive Black/Caramel seven-seater cabin. The headliner and sun visors are finished in a lux suede-like microfiber, while Quilted Nappa leather covers all three rows of seats, including the removable lumbar pillows for second-row passengers. Glossy wood-like bezels surround the front door handles and gauge cluster, and audiophiles will appreciate the 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. The Pinnacle model even gets a special "Ultra" center console, which consists of a lidded area with a storage bin, USB-A and USB-C ports, a wireless charging pad,  two open cup holders, and a spacious main storage compartment with 12-volt, USB-A, and USB-C charging options. Chrysler even went as far as adding metallic trim around the seat adjustment controls for the first and second rows, which gives the interior an extra special touch.

Stellantis chose the 2021 Pacifica to be the launch vehicle for the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system. In addition to being five times faster than the outgoing system, it also provides wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa connectivity, along with the ability to support two Bluetooth-connected phones simultaneously. In the Pacifica Pinnacle, it comes with TomTom navigation and runs on a 10.1-inch screen. With a few taps, I was able to bring up the new FamCAM interior camera, which provides a view of the luxurious rear seats, which feature a standard Uconnect Theater system, more than ample legroom, and a dedicated climate zone. 

The third row seemed just as pleasant. I climbed back there while I was taking photos, and discovered it has its own sunroof, side sunshades, and enough legroom and headroom for someone my height (5'10").

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid Performance

View of the engine block of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid

For short around-town drives, I could've relied solely on the Pacifica Hybrid's dual electric motors and 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. With a full charge, that's good for 32 miles of gas-free driving. Topping off takes two hours on a 240-volt Level 2 charger. Since I work from home, using a 120-volt household wall plug wasn't an issue, although it did take longer.

Whenever I did happen to exhaust the Pacifica Hybrid's battery pack, the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 automatically kicked in. That significantly contributed to the Pacifica Hybrid's total output of 260 horsepower and total potential driving range of 520 miles. According to the EPA, the gas Pentastar engine is capable of achieving 30 combined mpg**, but when both sides of the Pacifica Hybrid's powertrain are working together, they can deliver up to 82 combined/highway MPGe**.

I covered a total of 303.8 miles during my test week - 124.3 on electricity and 179.5 on gas. The Pacifica Hybrid's trip computer showed that I averaged 32.7 mpg.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid Safety

View of the safety features of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid

Just like its 2020 predecessor, the 2021 Pacifica Hybrid received a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But Chrysler didn't rest on its laurels. First, it added the Safety Sphere Package, which includes Front Park Assist, a 360-degree Surround View Camera system, and ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist to the  Pacifica. Then, it took a long list of technologies which used to be optional, including automatic high beams, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, and Lane Keep Assist, and made them standard equipment.

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid Overall

Exterior view of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid

While I went more than 30 years not knowing how enjoyable minivans can be, I was wowed by the first one I drove. Fortunately, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid proved that experience wasn't a fluke. It was packed with more than enough room for me and my family, thoroughly modern tech, and a comforting array of safety features. For some hands-on experience with the thoroughly refreshed Pacifica, visit your local AutoNation Chrysler dealership.

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Derek Shiekhi | Apr 22, 2021


2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Hybrid Specs

Layout

4-door, 7-passenger, FWD

Engine/Transmission

Turbocharged 3.6L V6, 260 hp, 235 lb-ft
CVT automatic

Mileage

30 city/hwy combined mpg on gas power
82 combined/highway MPGe

NHTSA Safety Rating

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 


AutoNation Drive Test Drive Review: ★ ★ ★ ★



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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.