I really want to drive an EV and need 6+ seatbelts for four kids under 9. Pacifica hybrid and Tesla X are only options and I don't want to spend $80K when cheerios fall out of my car when I open the door. The U-73 engine fire recall does not give me piece of mind with precious cargo. So, given your experience as an hybrid owner, is this a car you'd buy again? Are the 2019 models safer than 2017, 2018 models?
Gratitude, Really rethinking my plan in Phoenix and appreciate any feedback!
I have had my 2018 PacHy for a little over a year now. I haven't put a lot of miles on it since I am retired and don't commute anywhere. But I still really really like it and yes I would buy it again. There currently is nothing else available like it.
I am also the starter of the main thread regarding the fiasco of the U73 recall and subsequent RRT 18-087 bulletin which turned into the U94 recall so I can tell you a bit about what happened. https://www.pacificaforums.com/forum...-problems.html
The short story is that the U73 recall was supposed to fix a very rare problem with the cruise control that applied to almost all FCA vehicles, not just the PacHy. Unfortunately Chrysler took the opportunity to slip in some other changes besides just the fix to the cruise control problem. One of those changes was to the PCM (Power Control Module). It turned out that the PCM software change included a bug that occurred infrequently when the van switched from all electric mode to hybrid mode. Sometimes during that switchover it would lose synchronization with the position of the crankshaft and this resulted in unburned fuel getting to the catalytic converter, which in turn caused the catalytic converters to overheat. Typically this caused the check engine light to come on and the van would shut down and lose power. I know of several reports of that here and on the Facebook PacHy group.
Now I call this a fiasco because Chrysler's first response was to publish a technical bulletin (RRT 18-087) which told dealers to inspect the catalytic converters for damage, replace them in necessary, and reprogram the PCM with updated software. This was all well and good except that lots of people didn't know about the bulletin, and this included many dealers. Meantime there were more reports of stalled vans, damaged catalytic converters, and in a very few cases some flames that fortunately did not spread beyond the engine compartment.
Finally, after several reports to the NHTSA and Transport Canada Chrysler converted their bulletin to a full safety recall (U94) and started mailing notices to people to bring their vans in to have their catalytic converters inspected and the PCM software updated. I think by now, in February 2019 they have probably got almost everybody patched up with the updated software. Vans built after August 2018 got the updated software at the factory and this includes all 2019s. So to answer one of your questions, yes the 2019s will be safer, plus they include a couple of extra features that were omitted from older vans such as power folding mirrors and memory seats.
As for absolute safety I don't have the data to prove it but I will say I am not worried. Let's say for the sake of argument that there are 20,000 PacHy's on the road. Based on my searches of the NHTSA database and reports on this forum I would say that there were maybe 20 near fires due to overheated catalytic converters. That puts the risk of catalytic converter overheating at 1 in a 1,000. Of those, I know of a couple of cases that resulted in flames but these were repairable.
There is also one very recent case where somebody's van was engulfed in flames despite having had the U94 recall work done. We may never know what caused that fire unless Chrysler or Transport Canada does a full inspection and makes the results public. It could be that there is still a problem with the PCM, but if so it is really rare because all of the other reports of overheated catalytic converters we had last summer have gone away. It could be that the dealer that did the U94 recall work skipped a step, but they will never admit to that. It could be something else entirely unrelated to the PCM software. Cars catch fire for all sorts of reasons, not just Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids.