New Owner Experience - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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New Owner Experience

I've had my PacHy Limited for three weeks now. I wanted to give a review of my experiences so far. This forum has provided me with a lot of information over the last six months while I was researching my purchase. I'm hoping to pay that back a bit and assist those that might be thinking of buying. I'm going to split this into an original post and additional replies, just in the interest of my own time and hoping to provide a comprehensive collection of my experiences so far.

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Background: I've owned a 2008 Town and Country Touring that I purchased new in the spring of 2009. It's been a great vehicle for me--reliable, capable, and reasonably well-equipped. It's had a small number of mechanical issues over the years, but overall was far more reliable than other vehicles I've owned. I had a Max Care lifetime warranty on it, and I probably broke even on the price of the warranty.

Why I bought a PacHy: I don't have kids, but I do need a van. My hobbies and work require me to haul around things that won't easily fit into a smaller vehicle. I've found a minivan to be a great compromise. Good daily driver, relatively economical, and capable of doing everything I need a vehicle to do.

I'd given serious consideration to a Tesla Model 3, which is close enough in price to be a viable choice. I'd thought of keeping my old van for when I needed cargo space, but I saw this as a short-term solution. A 10+ year old van that gets driven sporadically doesn't seem like the best bet for long camping road trips. I also didn't want to give up my third garage stall to something I'd use a few times a month. I'd thought about just renting a van when I needed one, but that turns out to be price-prohibitive and a hassle. I'm a cheap guy who values my time.

The PacHy had me intrigued when I first read about it. My T&C probably 17.8 MPG over its life. The idea of getting closer to 30 MPG overall was pretty appealing. My daily work commute is just about 30 miles round trip, so that fits in well with the PacHy's capabilities. The ability to gas it up for longer trips meets my needs over a pure electric.

I'm not much of an environmentalist. It's about my own personal economics for me. I'm also a bit of a technology guy--I like new things, and I'm comfortable with the problems associated with emerging technologies.

In the end, the PacHy was really the best collection of traits that I was looking for in a vehicle. It's not perfect or ideal, but it's the best solution on the market today for me. I suspect that in the next five years there will be some viable competitors aimed at meeting needs similar to mine, but right now the PacHy is the only game in town.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Purchase experience: I'm a compulsive researcher and shopper. I spent months tracking price changes on local dealer websites. I'd initially thought that I would pick up a leftover 2018. The best price I saw locally was $44,000 for a 2018 Limited, in September of 2018. That dealership had two in stock, and when they dropped to that price they sold them quickly.

The local market for PacHys is pretty bare. There were quite a few 2018s for sale last year, but there were never more than a handful of 2019s available in stock over this winter and early spring. Maybe six to seven in the Minneapolis area, which has a population of about 3 million. Personally, I think this was a reaction to how difficult dealerships locally found it to move the 2018s that they'd had. There are more 2018s available now locally than 2019s. Dealerships here still aren't discounting the 2018s very much.

I tried to buy a 2018 from the Gilroy, CA Chrysler dealership. They've got the lowest prices I've found nationally on them, at a bit under $40k. CA has prohibitive tax policies for people purchasing in person from out of state, so I attempted to buy from the Gilroy dealership and have the van shipped to me. Shipping costs would have been $1,250 or so. I found the Gilroy dealership to be impossible to work with--I couldn't actually get them to take my money at their price. I've read a number of negative things about them, and gave up after a week.

I saw a post here by Carl Wilhelm, who's a salesman for Criswell Chrysler in MD. He was offering 7% below dealer invoice. I asked him for a quote, thinking that I'd be able to use it to negotiate with local dealerships on a custom order. Carl was super-responsive and detailed, a complete difference from the CA dealership.

In the end, none of the local dealers I contacted could come close to Criswell's price. The closest I got was the same offer on a 2018 that I'd test driven. The local dealer really wanted to move the 2018, and was upfront with me about how difficult it had been for them to sell PacHys. They couldn't--wouldn't--beat Carl's price. Said they were already losing close to $2k on the deal. I actually believe them. The salesman had spent some time with me working to try to find a Copper PacHy with the Advanced Safety Tech package. Turns out there was a Copper PacHy Limited for sale in AZ, but without AST. I bought my last van from the sales manager at a different local dealership ten years ago, and I'd found him to be straightforward about things then. I guess my local market for PacHys is just different.

I ended up doing a deal with Carl and Criswell. I was quite nervous about it. I've never purchased a vehicle from out of state, though my grandfather used to purchase all of his cars that way. Carl was very knowledgeable about the process--he's done this more than a few times. I put a deposit down on the van over the phone on a Tuesday, bought my plane ticket, and got a FedEx packet from Criswell on that Thursday. The plan was to bring the paperwork out to MD with me, signed by both my wife and I.

There was a small hitch. A destination charge had appeared on the paperwork, that we hadn't discussed. Carl got that taken care of quickly on that Thursday. He said it was a glitch in their software, in dealing with a Minnesota registration. I chose to believe Carl on that, and in the context of the rest of my experience with him and his dealership that was the right choice on my part. Carl is an honest, caring salesman. I actually can't say enough good things about him, as you'll read below.

I flew out on Friday morning, getting up very early to catch my flight. Got to the dealership about 12:30 PM via a cab from the airport. Criswell had offered to pay my cab fare. Carl told me on Tuesday that they'd do that, and it was both unexpected and very kind of them.

Things went a bit sideways. After completing the purchase paperwork, Carl was set to do the delivery with me. Turns out the van wouldn't charge off of either of their Level 2 chargers or the van's Level 1. It kept tossing out an error about the charger (not the van) having a malfunction. Three chargers all malfunctioning? Yeah, it was the van.

Criswell's techs started having a look at it. I had planned on driving to Dayton, Ohio that Friday. I began to see my plans changing... Kevin Glassic is the sales manager, and he stepped in to try to get things resolved as quickly as possible. When it became apparent that it might not be a quick fix, Kevin offered me the option of buying another van that they had in stock. He knew my timeline and how far away I'd come from. I'd initially purchased a 2019 Limited that was black. They had a red one in stock, but with a sunroof. I'd gone back and forth on the idea of a sunroof over the past few months. The red one had the brown interior, which was my ideal color combination from what was available on the '19s.

In the end, I decided to take Kevin up on his offer and purchased the red/brown van with the sunroof. They offered to pick up my airfare for the trouble and disruption to my travel timeline, which I thought was extremely fair. Carl and Kevin were incredibly kind to me that day, making sure all of my needs were met and offering up some great conversation. They made me feel like I was their only customer. Even when the deal was done, they treated me so well. Bought me lunch, too. Their finance guy was great, too. He knew I was a little fried from the whole experience. While we were doing the paperwork on the second van he excused himself for a moment, came back and said that he'd asked if he could toss in a 2-year maintenance plan through Chrysler for free. Kevin approved it. They didn't have to do that, and it was very kind and generous of them.

I ended up getting out of the dealership about 6:30 PM, roughly four hours later than I planned. Their entire staff was great--they made efforts to keep my spirits up, offered great conversation, and really took an interest in me. This was from top to bottom--Carl, Kevin, Thong (finance), some of the other salesman, techs, and lot workers. I've never had a better dealership experience, and very few customer service experiences that rival it.

I saved about $3k doing this over buying locally.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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2018 vs 2019: I'm cheap. I thought about buying a 2018 rather than a 2019, but decided on the 2019. There were two main reasons for this. One was concrete, the other just opinion.

I wanted memory seats. My wife won't drive the van often, but her 2016 Ford Edge Sport has memory seats. When I drive it, the car recognizes my FOB and adjusts the seats automatically. I get finicky about how my seat is set, and like to have it in the same place once I figure out what I like. With my 2008 T&C, I'd have to fiddle with the $&% seat every time my wife drove the van. Part of my reason for buying a PacHy is that my wife puts too many miles on her Edge, and I'd like her to use the van for short errands on the weekends. I think having memory seats will both encourage this and be less frustrating for me.

The other reason I decided on a 2018 has to do with my personal experience with batteries. I've flown RC airplanes as a hobby for a couple of decades. The last 10 years, high performance batteries and brushless motors have revolutionized that hobby. When I let my battery packs sit unmaintained for a period of time, they don't perform as well. Their capacity diminishes, they sometimes fail, and it's become clear to me how important battery maintenance is. I know that the high-voltage pack in my PacHy is perhaps a bit different, but I believe that some of the same principals apply. This isn't a scientific opinion in any way, but one formed through experience.

I didn't want to buy a van that had been sitting on the lot for a year, with the battery not being exercised with any regularity. I tend to own my vehicles for a long time. I plan to own the PacHy for about ten years. I didn't want to start off with a battery that aged on the lot.

Of course, I don't know when the cells in my 2019's battery were manufactured. Could have been the same time as some of the 2018s' cells were made. It's an assumption on my part that a more recently built van will have "fresher" batteries than one built over a year ago. I could very well be out to lunch on that, but my comfort level is higher with a more recent build date.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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First Long Road Trip: Driving from MD to MN in a weekend.

I left Gaithersburg, MD at about 6:30 PM on Friday the 29th. I'd been up since 3 AM. I had initially hoped to make it to Dayton, Ohio, where I'd planned to see the USAF museum. I made it to Morgantown, WV by 11 PM. That was a long enough day for me, and I stopped for the night.

The PacHy was such a treat to drive. So much smoother than my T&C. It took me a bit to get used to the navigation system. I'm used to having a nice Garmin unit in the lower-left corner of my dash. I've found the PacHy's nav system to be a lot clunkier and less refined than the Garmin, which doesn't surprise me. Built-in GPS systems always seem behind. I do wish the speed limit was displayed on the driver's cluster, rather than just on the radio head unit.

The drive was really pleasant. The WV hills were fun! I got excellent MPG on that leg of the trip--I want to say it was around 42 MPG, but can't recall with clarity. I was somewhat overwhelmed by the lack of sleep and getting used to a new vehicle.

I ended up making it to the USAF museum in Dayton around noon on Saturday. Great place to visit--I've been there many times, when I was a child, while I was in the USAF, and last in 2003. It's been expanded significantly since 2003, and the new displays are incredibly well-done.

One fun thing was being able to park right at the front of the lot, at a free EV charging station. The museum is a very, very busy place on weekends. Getting to park up front was really nice. On the way out, there was another red PacHy parked next to mine charging. Twinsies! (Yeah, I'm a 43 year old man and actually said that when I saw them together...) I'm not sure why the picture I've attached is upside down, but you get the idea.

I ran into some lake-effect snow NW of Indianapolis that lasted into the Chicago suburbs. The van handled the snowy interstate well, but there was considerable build-up on the front end of snow/ice/slush. It was enough to cause the adaptive cruise and forward collision warning to go into a failure mode, as the sensor was filled with the wintry mix. Cleared it out at a rest stop and was good to go.

The van handled Chicago traffic well. I kept up with the locals, driving far too fast. The van handles well and is a delight at high-speeds. Very smooth, with none of the shudder or strain that my T&C would exhibit. It's entirely too easy to speed in the PacHy.

I was very impressed with the adaptive cruise control. It was great on the interstate, but really shines on two-lane highways. I took the scenic route along the Mississippi river home, and it's mostly two-lane, 55 MPH stuff. It was a beautiful spring Sunday, so there were some folks out to see the sights. They varied their speed constantly, and the adaptive cruise kept me at a safe distance without me having to do any work. Much less frustrating than that would have been without the adaptive cruise control!

Passing on a two-lane highway was no problem in the PacHy. Plenty of pep and acceleration from 50-ish to 70+ MPH. Really felt both comfortable and safe, which wasn't always the case with my 3.8L powered T&C.

Overall, this is such a comfortable road trip vehicle. Much better than my T&C, which I was always pleased with on road trips. The adaptive cruise really leads to less fatigue on a long drive.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 11:41 AM
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Wow! What a narrative! Thanks for sharing. You write pretty fast, too. Looking at the post times, you took a little over an hour to compose all that.
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2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Billet Silver, AST, 20" wheels (build date 1-25-18)
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Past . . .
2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L, 2003 Mazda MPV, 1997 Odyssey,
1999 Accord, 1994 Accord, 1988 Accord . . .
. . . and others in the 'way back machine!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 12:43 PM
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I was charging my pachybrid and was talking with a guy who bought a Tesla 3 , but for me that thing is way too small and very small trunk . The mileage that we can get from these things is pretty incredible I’d say . Up here in Toronto Canada the charging is virtually free when your out and about and I have a juice box pro 40 for the house and a ChargePoint for when we go on road trips ( for a just in case ) . Welcome to the forum and have fun from your friends up north in Canada.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Interior: Very, very refined compared to my 2008. So much soft-touch material, where the 2008 was largely hard plastics. The "wood grain" plastic is gone, thankfully.

Everything feels like it's been done on a higher level than the T&C. The blinker stalk has a more solid feel to it, along with finger guides that feel more ergonomic. The steering wheel has a great feel--thick, softer, and just more substantial. I'm not necessarily a fan of how large the connections between the wheel and the column are, but I'm getting used to it. With the T&C I felt like I had slightly more "hand space" to wrap my fingers around in different positions.

The seats are an improvement, with better quality leather and a less utilitarian feel to them. I found the driver's seat very comfortable on my long drive. I do wish the right armrest was slightly more substantial. It's very similar to my T&C armrest, but made of nicer materials. I've found the vented seats to be a delight. My wife's Edge has them, and I think there's more airflow on the PacHy's seats.

The console isn't as useful as the one in my T&C, at least not so far. There's less interior storage in it for all of my junk. I do like the roll-top on the storage compartment. I found that storage compartment to be a great place to stick my fast food items in as I'm driving and eating.

I thought the dial shifter would be a pain, but it's grown on me. I was concerned about reaching for it instead of the volume, but that hasn't been a problem. I still over or under dial a bit now and then, so it requires more dedicated attention than the old shift lever. I'm hopeful that will change as I build new habits and muscle memory.

I like the sunroof more than I thought I would. I still think it's too far back for the driver to really enjoy much, but it's better than I'd expected. Makes for a nice vent on the few warmer days we've had so far. When the window is open, I definitely feel the sun on my bald spot--probably won't have it open very frequently.

I haven't hauled around any passengers other than single individuals, so I haven't gotten a lot of feedback on the 2nd row seats. I've sat in them a bit, and I think they're far better comfort-wise than the Stow'n'Go on my T&C.

I keep the third row folded most of the time, but I found it very comfortable. The sunroof back there is a really nice touch. The two times a year I have a full van, I think it'll go over very well.

My wife likes the passenger seat quite a bit. She was a bit surprised at the amount of adjustability, but it's working for her.

I'm constantly surprised by how quiet the interior is. When running in electric mode, there's nothing but a bit of road noise. In hybrid mode, the engine just fades in the background. That's such a change from my T&C. Chrysler did a very nice job on minimizing body sounds, too. The van (I keep wanting to write car, as it's very, very car-like) feels very solid and well-built.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Sound System: I've got the 20 speaker H&K setup. It's head and shoulders better than my T&C's six-speaker base stereo.

The sound is much more "forward" in the driver's position, compared to my T&C. I'm sure that's because of the speakers in the dash. It took me a while to get used to that. Overall, the sound is pretty good. Perhaps not as loud as I'd expected, but I'm at an where I've started to realize that I should have protected my hearing more when I was younger.

The Uconnect system is quite easy to use. There's one thing I don't like--separate apps for the radio (AM, FM, SXM) and other sources (AUX and Bluetooth). I'd prefer to have it on one screen, so I could switch with one button press vs. multiple. I've changed my behaviors because of this. Now I'll just use the voice commands to navigate the sound options. "Satellite 39", "Source Bluetooth", "FM 93.7", etc. It's responsive and works well, and is probably a better way to do it than hunting around on the screen.

I mostly listen to FM or Apple Music, but have been enjoying SXM again. I'd had it on and off for years in the T&C, and I'm enjoying the variety of formats. I doubt I'll keep it once the trial subscription is up. SXM always feels like a sleezeball company to me.

I have noticed that music over Bluetooth isn't as loud as I'd like. Something to look into and work on. The phone's volume is turned up all the way. It's not a problem, still plenty loud, but I can't help but feel it should be... louder.

The system is very responsive. I'm quite happy with it. Like on the T&C, the back of the steering wheel audio buttons are great.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Driving: What a world of difference from my T&C! Smooth and refined are the two words that come to mind.

I love the transmission. The lack of shift points is just a delight. I used to vary my speed to try to reach shift points. Seemed like 37 or 38 MPH was necessary to get to sixth gear, and that just seemed so unfortunate for city driving. With the PacHy, there's none of that. Power seems consistent and plentiful no matter what speed you're at. Acceleration is so smooth and effortless. I'm really liking that.

The steering feels spot-on to me. I'm impressed with the turning radius! It used to be that u-turns were a pain in the rear, but the PacHy just zips around in a nice, tight 180. Better than my T&C, and much better than my wife's Edge (which has a surprisingly bad turning radius).

The Pacifica is very car-like. When I've driven the T&C since getting the PacHy, I'm always shocked at the difference. I never considered the T&C to have a particularly harsh ride, but the PacHy is just so smooth. I'm not a car aficionado, but the PacHy feels incredibly refined to me.

I was a bit nervous about the regenerative braking and the transition between it and the conventional brakes. My fears were completely unfounded. There's no noticeable transition to me. It's seamless.

I do most of my commuting in L now. I like the way it's closer to one-pedal driving, and I think I'm getting a bit more range on the battery because of it. I haven't taken the time to verify that, but one of these days I should. It's a delight to drive in D or L. D feels a bit more like a conventional, gas-powered car. I'm sure that's by design.

I know there's pedestrian warning speaker, but I haven't really noticed it much. I'll have to put the windows down while driving slowly sometime. I'd thought it would be more apparent, and I'm glad it's not while inside the van.

My wife has driven the PacHy no more than around the neighborhood. She thought it was eery--the lack of sound, the smoothness, and the spaceship-like quality of the experience. I'm anxious to hear her thoughts once she's driven it a bit more.

I'm very happy with the pep and feeling of available power. I'm a middle-age minivan driver, so I'm not exactly heavy on the accelerator. Stopping distance feels pretty good so far, with nothing that really stands out about it.

Overall, it's such a huge change for the better from my T&C. Handles better and is more comfortable than my wife's Edge. It's a very pleasant surprise, and something I hadn't really thought to hope for when getting another minivan.
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