The 3.6L Pentastar eHybrid system that powers the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in has made WardsAutos’ 10 Best Engines list for 2018, marking the second consecutive year the powertrain has garnered that honor. The system pairs Fiat Chrysler’s common 3.6L Pentastar V6 with electric motors and a 16-kWh Li-ion battery pack to deliver a best-in-class EPA rating of 84 mpg-e, and an impressive 570 miles of total range with a full tank and a charged battery.
Beside the V6 petrol engine, electric motors, and battery pack, the last integral component of the Pentastar eHybrid system is its eFlite electrically-variable transmission. The innovative transmission uses a one-way clutch to manage both electric motors, allowing the one that does all the generating to also transmit power to the wheels, should circumstances warrant it. That’s unlike many hybrid systems, Fiat Chrysler says, where there is typically a separation of duties between motors, with one motor for generation, and another, much larger one for powering the wheels.
“The Pacifica Hybrid is a big, seven-passenger plug-in hybrid minivan with all the bells and whistles families have come to adore,” writes WardsAuto Senior Content Director Drew Winter, “but with 33 miles of full electric range and levels of fuel efficiency unimaginable just a few short years ago. With most owners using their minivans to run errands and occasionally take a long-distance drive, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a stroke of genius.”