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Hybrids

Chrysler Pacifica is the future of minivans

Chrysler is sending the Town and Country out to pasture.

The 2017 Pacifica is the all-new minivan that the automaker hopes will reinvigorate the segment that it created in 1983, while driving it into the future with the first ever plug-in hybrid model.

About the same size as the Town and Country it replaces on the outside, but roomier inside, the Pacifica features a sleeker style meant to better appeal to today’s crossover-minded customers. It shares a strong family resemblance with the popular Chrysler 200 sedan, with the same upscale look.

Along with classic Chrysler minivan features, like fold into the floor “Stow ‘n Go” seating, the Pacifica is packed with the latest safety and convenience technology. You can open and close the hatchback and sliding doors by kicking your foot underneath them, there’s a 360-degree bird’s-eye-view video feed, self-steering parking assist, adaptive radar cruise control, front and rear collision avoidance systems, and a built-in vacuum cleaner.

The Pacifica’s infotainment system provides mobile WiFi for connected devices and can be equipped with two 10-inch touch screen displays for rear seat passengers. Several kid-friendly apps are pre-loaded, including a navigation program that can tell them how far the destination is, in an effort to stop them from asking the driver “are we there yet?”

The Pacifica is around 250 pounds lighter than Town and Country, and comes standard with a 287 hp V6 with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler expects it to get a highway fuel economy rating of 28 mpg, which would match the segment leading Honda Odyssey. But the hybrid version will do much better than that.

With a 16 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the Pacifica Hybrid will be able to travel up to 30 miles on electricity alone and deliver a combined fuel economy rating of at least 80 mpg.

The Pacifica goes on sale this spring, with the hybrid model following later in the year.