Pacifica Hybrid vs Gas 8-Seater for Family of 5 - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Pacifica Hybrid vs Gas 8-Seater for Family of 5

I apologize if this has been discussed at length, I've scoured the forums trying to find a similar post but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. So far we've test driven the Odyssey Elite Navi/Res, the Pacifica Limited Gas 7-seater, and a couple of Hybrid Limited variants (one with, and one without the moonroof). So far the Hybrid wins out in terms of the vehicle we want, but my wife is very concerned that it's not the vehicle we need, specifically will the lack of an 8th seat substantially limit us in the future.

We have an almost 5 year old (FF), 2.5 year old (RF), and one on the way. I thought the Odyssey was aggressively boring when I test drove it, but some of that is bias towards the Hybrid. My wife on the other hand doesn't care, she fell in love with the Magic slide seats and the 8th seat option, so it's a bit of a stalemate. When we tested the hybrid with car seats installed, the captains chairs slide forward a bit but you lose a lot of the 3rd row access without the seat tilt if you needed to help with buckling a kid in. The 5 year old can buckle himself now (although it takes forever and is not reliable), but in 6-12 months this third row access will be a bit of a moot point in my mind.

So I think the magic slide seats, while nice, are not a critical differentiator here. What appears to be the major stopgap is the 8th seat option. We take 2 or 3 long road trips per year, and while the infant is still needing a lot of support in the car, the 8th seat offers some additional seating flexibility. You could do 2 kids in the middle with wife in the center, one kid in the back and fold the 60 portion of the 3rd row down for a ton of storage. The 7 seater would likely mean two kids in the middle, wife/baby in the back, baby would need to be on latch so you can't fold any of the 3rd row in that situation. That will only be for the first year or so, after which the baby won't need as much in car attention. Another 8 seat advantage is when the in-laws visit, it offers a few more comfortable seating arrangements than a 7 seater, and then you have future use case when the kids have friends we need to shuffle around, but I think that's pretty far down the road.

So we're stuck, I need the hybrid with an 8th seat and panoramic moonroof and I'll be all set, sadly that doesn't exist. Plus the 8 seater gas model gives up that nice moonroof so that's a tough compromise as well. I should probably just give up the moonroof and do the 8 seater as the compromise, but I thought the hybrid was cool as **** and would love to make it work.

What I guess I'm asking for is if anyone has 3 kids in car seats with the hybrid and been able to make it work, any regrets not having the 8th seat? Sorry for the long post, appreciate any feedback!
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 12:58 AM
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Post was awaiting approval since you're new. It's been approved. I don't have the answer but I'm sure someone will chime in to help you out. Good luck with whatever you end up with.

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamWeir View Post
I apologize if this has been discussed at length, I've scoured the forums trying to find a similar post but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. So far we've test driven the Odyssey Elite Navi/Res, the Pacifica Limited Gas 7-seater, and a couple of Hybrid Limited variants (one with, and one without the moonroof). So far the Hybrid wins out in terms of the vehicle we want, but my wife is very concerned that it's not the vehicle we need, specifically will the lack of an 8th seat substantially limit us in the future.

We have an almost 5 year old (FF), 2.5 year old (RF), and one on the way. I thought the Odyssey was aggressively boring when I test drove it, but some of that is bias towards the Hybrid. My wife on the other hand doesn't care, she fell in love with the Magic slide seats and the 8th seat option, so it's a bit of a stalemate. When we tested the hybrid with car seats installed, the captains chairs slide forward a bit but you lose a lot of the 3rd row access without the seat tilt if you needed to help with buckling a kid in. The 5 year old can buckle himself now (although it takes forever and is not reliable), but in 6-12 months this third row access will be a bit of a moot point in my mind.

So I think the magic slide seats, while nice, are not a critical differentiator here. What appears to be the major stopgap is the 8th seat option. We take 2 or 3 long road trips per year, and while the infant is still needing a lot of support in the car, the 8th seat offers some additional seating flexibility. You could do 2 kids in the middle with wife in the center, one kid in the back and fold the 60 portion of the 3rd row down for a ton of storage. The 7 seater would likely mean two kids in the middle, wife/baby in the back, baby would need to be on latch so you can't fold any of the 3rd row in that situation. That will only be for the first year or so, after which the baby won't need as much in car attention. Another 8 seat advantage is when the in-laws visit, it offers a few more comfortable seating arrangements than a 7 seater, and then you have future use case when the kids have friends we need to shuffle around, but I think that's pretty far down the road.

So we're stuck, I need the hybrid with an 8th seat and panoramic moonroof and I'll be all set, sadly that doesn't exist. Plus the 8 seater gas model gives up that nice moonroof so that's a tough compromise as well. I should probably just give up the moonroof and do the 8 seater as the compromise, but I thought the hybrid was cool as **** and would love to make it work.

What I guess I'm asking for is if anyone has 3 kids in car seats with the hybrid and been able to make it work, any regrets not having the 8th seat? Sorry for the long post, appreciate any feedback!
I canít comment much on the 8th seat and I donít have kids but for me the big selling point is the fact that you can drive around 30 miles at a time without using gas. When I drive in all electric mode I can get around 70-80 MPGe in town. We have 3000 miles on our van now but have used the equivalent of only about 3 tanks of gas. We have a level 2 charger in the garage and usually charge the vehicle up each night. Looking at my electric bills for the last two months it has hardly made an impact (probably less than $30/month). Donít know if those are the kind of selling points that would convince your wife...
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 10:52 AM
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How long do you anticipate owning the vehicle?
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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In terms of the all electric for ~30 miles, it's an awesome/unique capability. Our daily routine is about 10 miles of driving, our outback gets maybe 21mpgs for the type of driving we're doing even though it is rated for 27mpg city. I'd expect similar declines for the gas variant as well, resulting in maybe 13mpg but who knows. The electric range would probably take a hit under these conditions but should be enough to complete the trip, even if we use say 8kWhrs for 10 miles (20 mile total range), the difference would quickly add up to close to $500/year, not accounting for weekends and trips which should yield additional savings. Even put up against the cheaper odyssey elite trim, you'd pay that difference off in ~5-6 years (after the $7500 tax credit) and you'd have a substantially higher trim vehicle to boot. As you said, great selling point for the car.

We'd plan on buying the vehicle and owning for 8-10 years or so unless something shifted radically to warrant a change of plans. We have a 4 year old Outback that actually will fit three car seats (although tight). That's got another 4-6 years on it in terms of our planned use. I'm planning on selling/trading in my Fusion Hybrid that's just about 9 years old and 142k miles.

Appreciate the response thus far, obviously it'll just come down to us making the decision but the more examples of 3 kids+car seats+ hybrid, the better we'd probably feel on the decision.

Thanks!
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 12:10 PM
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A couple of thoughts. I think your understanding of sunroof versus eight seats is correct, but want to reiterate. You can have one or the other, regardless whether the Pacifica is petrol or hybrid power.

Sunroof considerations. Upsides: it’s very cool. Downsides: car will get hotter inside on sunny summer days. More wind noise at highway speeds. One more thing to break. Possibility of water leaks. I skipped it on my car. I find the interior sufficiently light and airy without needing the glass roof.

Honda doubled down on the car seat/kid configuration with the new Odyssey. The Pac strikes me as better for switching between people and cargo. Both are quiet and comfortable, to an almost indistinguishable degree.

Price. I’m still lurking (OK, trolling...) over at Odyclub after buying a Pacifica. New Elites are selling in the $42k to $43k range, before taxes and such. Considering discounts and the tax credit, I think you can purchase the hybrid for the same or less than an Elite, and then enjoy the lower operating expense. That said, I expect the Honda will hold its value better over time.

Marital advice. If your spouse prefers the Honda and it’s their car, buy them what they want. If you lever them into a hybrid and then experience some bleeding edge early adopter pain, you will pay for it forever. So not worth it!

Good luck.

PS: My wife drives a 2016 Outback. That is the most miserable, uncomfortable, noisy, bad riding, unreliable car we have ever owned in many decades of driving. Either an Odyssey or a Pacifica is a massive upgrade in everything, except maybe snow plowing.
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Last edited by Shadow5501; 01-02-2019 at 12:23 PM.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 01:12 PM
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Pacifica Hybrid vs Gas 8-Seater for Family of 5

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on seeing the greenlight for minivans. Your situation is sort of similar to mine. We are a family of five as well. I decided to buy a minivan last year when the third child was cooking. I did a lot of back-and-forth between the Odyssey and the Pacifica. The hybrid was not in my target range because of the lack of eighth seat as well as losing out the second row cargo space. The frequent visits of our parents was also a consideration for minivans.
The advantages of Odyssey are obviously magic slide seats as well as smoother engine and long term reliability per reviews. The pentastar V6 is good too but not Honda good (I had and still have Honda and Acura in my garage). That engine note is simply unbeatable. The hybrid may win the best drive battle here though.
The downsides for Odyssey are that it simply doesnít feel upscale. It feels like a cheap Honda especially the interior at night (the Pacifica wins the aesthetics for me). Lots of minor quality issues for the Odyssey for my taste (though it may be sorted by now), but the Pacifica has that occasional major one . I hope Iím not one of those.
The Pacifica truly feels and drives like a luxury car at least from the driverís perspective. The rear seats are better and more comfortable in the Odyssey though.
Having said that, itís a wash between Odyssey and Pacifica with regards to seating flexibility. I frequently change the seating configuration depending on how many people are riding (few weeks at a time), and most of the time the 8th seat sits in the garage (covered obviously).
Now if you have to change the seating instantly all the time, there is no comparison to magic slide seats. Even though the Pacifica seats have flexiblity, you still need some work to do to change them (think about your wife here) . Also the Odyssey second row seats can slide forwards in sitting position (to provide more 3rd row leg space if needed) which the Pacifica canít do. But the easy tilt seats of Pacifica are a god send for 3rd row access.
I hope that when the kids grow up a little, all can sit side by side in the second row.
The other issue is rear screens. The Odyssey has only ceiling mounted but Pacifica offers both seatback and ceiling mounted depending on trim levels. So far only one child wants to watch something, but in the coming few years they may want to watch different videos, so my seat back screens might help.
Cargo capacity (with third row up): the Odyssey has better rear cargo compartment, but Pacifica has more cargo volume if you add all the stow and go spaces.
The Odyssey is better if you want to carry large stuff such as strollers along with suitcases. In Pacifica my folded stroller sits only side to side while it will fit lengthwise in an Odyssey (I checked before buying). But the more space in Pacifica comes handy for longer trips when you want to place a lot of stuff out of sight such as cameras, or other expensive stuff, or even spare carton of diapers or a carton of bottled water (it sure comes handy- when traveling with kids). During my last trip I loaded the bins with dirty laundry which freed up space in my suitcases and car interior. You can see how the hybrid wonít fit my lifestyle. .
If your wife loves the Odyssey, then you should give serious thought to that. My wife still gives me that occasional stab when the kid in third row complains that she cannot see the screen when someone is sitting in the 2nd row or the 8th seat is up.
Hope it helps.
Please let me know if you have any specific questions.


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Last edited by Bond007; 01-02-2019 at 08:01 PM.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Marital Advice -> You can therefore fully appreciate my stress on this matter. There's no way I'd ever put my foot down on the hybrid, if there's a single day that she's on her own and has a miserable time getting the kids in the car, or we can't make everything fit on a trip, or one of the terrifying failure modes I've read about (shutting down on the highway) shows up while she's driving, I would feel really bad. I'm not without my own concerns over the hybrid as well, it's not a home run.

We both agreed that the Hybrid is the car we'd want to get, but not sure if it's the car we need given the added flexibility of some of the other variants. She thinks the Odyssey fits the utility bill better than the Hybrid, no question on that from my end, my issue is giving up all that the hybrid offers for flexibility that we might not even use frequently or need. As far as whose car it is and all that, it's replacing my fusion and I'll be driving it 80% of the time so technically it'd be mine, but marital bliss is not achieved on technicalities

Sunroof logic makes sense, probably shouldn't be a deal-breaker. There's technically a 'Full Sunroof' option that's coming out, it looks like they'd do away with the center section, keep a small front and fixed rear. That would probably allow for an 8th seat, and not force you into the 20" wheels (hopefully save money as well) on the Limited. No info on when that will be available, just says 'late availability' in the brochure.

It looks like we've got 1 check in the Family of 5 8-seater configuration. Really appreciate everyone's input!
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 01:41 PM
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- The car seat latches on the 3rd row is only on the passenger and center seat. No latch on the driver side 3rd row.

- Having a rear facing car seat in the middle seat 3rd row leaves barely enough space for an adult male to sit on the left and right side of it.

- There isn't enough space to fit a rear facing car seat on the passenger 2nd row and the passenger 3rd row.

- A rear facing carseat on the 2nd row does prevent the 1st row chair from sliding all the way back, it does go far enough for me at 5'11".



For your situation, I think I would put a rear facing car seat on the drivers 2nd row and passenger 3rd row. The front facing can go on the passenger 2nd row, and it may be able to tilt forward letting you access the 3rd row. I can't comment if it'll be any better with 8 seats as I only have the 7 seater.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 02:00 PM
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Sorry, I can't help on the seating arrangements. I do think you're right that your five year old will be fairly independent with seat belt latching pretty soon.

I had a lot of self deliberation when it came to the sunroof. We have an older vehicle (a GM) that gave us a lot of grief over a leaking sunroof. Also, we really wanted as quiet of a ride as possible. So in the end, even though emotionally I loved the image of that beautiful sunroof, practicality won out. The truth is, you probably won't open those screens as much as you think, especially with really young babies on board.

I've also seen a lot of posts about the two front screens for kids vs. overhead ceiling. So, that's definitely something to consider. I've only got 2 kids so that was easy. However, one of my kids would rather watch YouTube kids on my phone than a movie anyway. So I'm looking forward to a vehicle that has USB charging ports everywhere.

I think which ever vehicle you choose, you'll be very happy. You've obviously done your due diligence in research. Good luck with your family growing to 5!!
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