One year with the Pacifica Hybrid
I posted this in "New Member Intros", but probably should have been here...
Hi, I'm new to the forum, but one year into owning a 2018 Pacifica Hybrid. It just turned 15,000 miles last week, on the way back from a family skiing vacation in Tahoe. Here are my takes, good and bad. Please understand I'm extremely technically competent, and owned a 2008 Tahoe Hybrid (a direct relation of the Pacifica) and own two Chevy Volts (a 2012 first-gen and a 2018 second-gen).
I use my big level 2 (Blink) charger for the van, and the Volts use the Level 1 chargers from the Van and new Volt, connected to 220V, so they charge much faster. The Volts can only charge at 3,000 Watts, so they can't use the full output of the Level 2, but the Pacifica can use 6,000 Watts, so it get exclusive use of the big Blink charger. The Blink charger is well-known to me, as I have had it for 7 years and it works well.
I get around 100MPG in normal use, which is running around town, picking up kids, grocery, work, etc. About 30 to 50 miles per day, when used.
A trip to Tahoe and a trip to Santa Clare to watch the Bears game, averaged 31MPG, each time. Over 1200 miles each trip. Lots of mountains.
The car rides smooth and quiet on the stock tires, handles very well and is comfortable to drive.
The power output is well more than needed, and I have had it over 100mph many times. Passing is a non-event.
The touchscreen (after fixing the blackouts with a S/W update) is responsive and easy to use.
Bluetooth handsfree calls are very good, and I do them regularly. People on the other end are happy with the sound quality.
The seats fold down well and the load area is great, even without Stow & Go middle row.
Adding a trailer hitch and lights myself was not hard. I tow a cargo carrier (letsgoaero.com/gearspace-cargo-carrier-dark-gray), and it was used for the Tahoe trip, with six of us and a week's worth of luggage and food.
The van has been much more mechanically reliable than I expected for a Mopar vehicle, as I have owned many in my life, and the FIAT 500e we had was total junk, making me hope most of this vehicle was designed in Detroit.
Speaking of what was designed where, I'm guessing the S/W comes from Italy. I really should put software comments under "The Ugly", so the following are mechanical gripes.
Charging, operation of the charging screens, etc. is not in the manual or the hybrid supplement. I read the manuals, and expect that stuff in there. Location of fuses, spare tire, wiper info, all that stuff matters, but is only partially there.
The middle row seats do not lock in the forward position. This seems a huge oversight, as if you load with them forward, they can slide back HARD into your load, but then slide forward again, since they don't automatically lock, and they are unreachable from the driver's seat.
Had to have the sliding doors reprogrammed, as they left the factory uncalibrated. They would randomly change direction or just open for no reason. It was an easy fix, once I convinced the dealer it was not working correctly.
The tailgate would open on its own, sometimes while driving. This was fixed in the same visit as the doors. Kind of shocking, but has not happened since.
Not one single physical part has broken in any way, so the above could really be in the next section...
Mentioned previously, but the center display would just go dark, but not off, as the temp display would appear if you changed climate settings. Just a crash of the IVI system. Fixed after many months of asking. Been good for many months now.
The charging timer is possibly the worst execution on the van. I cannot believe that a piece of code that could be written by a "third-grade, c-average student" is so completely hosed. Really, really horrible.
First, it has "AM and PM" for times, yet if you try and set the clock with AM/PM, it doesn't work. I mean, the clock won't keep the AM/PM setting. I'm not sure how I solved this, but eventually, it stuck and the clock knows if it is day or night.
Second, you can choose to have a weekend schedule, but you cannot tell the car what day of the week it is. Really!!! Are they kidding?!? Who did validation on this pile of bits they call software???
Third, with charging set to, at least, six hours per day (more on weekends, whenever those might be, since I don't know what day of the week the car thinks it is), the car has been plugged in, showing that it is waiting to charge, FOR THREE DAYS!!! State of charge is still 1%, same as when it was plugged in. They could have saved a lot of money by not including a charging port, door, charger, etc. It would be just as useful...
Fourth, one time it charged to 66% and stopped, with the charging time window still open, and the clock was set correctly at that point. No reason I can find.
The MPG gauge, which is pretty important on a Plug-in Hybrid, is absolute junk. When on only battery, no ICE running since plugged in, it will show something in the 30 to 50mpg range, which makes no sense whatsoever. If you are not burning gas, you cannot be under infinite MPG. DUH. Who checked this software before releasing it??? And, NO, MPGe is not a real thing.
The traction control button does not shut off the traction control! I was trying to drive on slippery roads in Tahoe, with chains on the front tires. The traction control made it near-impossible to get anywhere. I would shut it off, and it would turn on two seconds later. Most cars let you shut it all the way off (press and hold the button), and all cars I've ever driven will stay off when you press the button to turn it off.
The traction control system could not deal with tire chains. The bumping or something cause it to turn on when the wheels were not slipping, causing the car to slow rapidly from 30mph to a crawl or stop. Very dangerous condition. No work around I could find, other than having the five passengers (my family) get out an push.
The engine management software seems to have two different sets of code, one for engine never having run since ignition-on, and one when the engine has run once on the trip (however short the use). I refer to the second set of software as the "fuel burning code" (FBC) as it seems to serve no purpose but to burn as much fuel as possible, without being intrusive. Maybe it is sponsored by Shell or BP? Anyway, the engine will restart while sitting at a light, or slowing down, times it most certainly should be OFF, and times when it would never start when the FBC wasn't running. Maybe the charging software engineer wrote the FBC and a third-grader wrote the good code... The dealer said this is normal operation. I explained they have zero idea what "normal" is then, and they put in a request for a fix from the factory.
The parking brake randomly sets itself. Never trust it to set itself when needed, only trust it will set itself when not needed, nor expected. I cannot count how many times I pressed the gas, only to find the rear tires locked and sliding. I live on a long, steep hill, and my driveway has no flat area. It only sets itself on the flat portion at the street, when I stop to check the mail. Lots of skid marks down there!
Rear "park assist" or whatever the automatic braking is called, works like the parking brake. It will beep, only after it has slammed on the brakes, well before you get to where you planned to stop. It will let you crawl backwards without slamming on the brakes, so maybe this was written by a paranoid octogenarian? Not sure, but turning off the system is easy and does stay off most of the time, but will turn back on a couple of times a week, just to screw with you.
Never set your cruise control for more than 79mph, because at 80mph the engine will never shut off, which will have a detrimental effect on gas mileage.
Even though you can put a trailer hitch on it, it sits low, and isn't setup for towing heavy loads, so don't pull anything heavy, light a large boat, or car. Stick with light trailers or cargo carriers. Think "convenience" not "hauling".
This van is mechanically superior to all other minivans on the market, from my experience. I find it confidence inspiring, good looking and I'm proud to own it. I would, however, like to be introduced to the head of the software integration and testing, preferably near a cliff, high window or balcony...
2108 Pacifica Hybrid