Road Trip

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is an ideal road trip warrior, especially for National Parks travel

Author Nicole Wakelin tried out the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid during a long haul trip across Wyoming and South Dakota visiting many of America's National Parks.

Photo by Nicole Wakelin

Today's roads are populated by legions of SUVs and crossovers, many filled with busy families. They're a good choice when you have lots of passengers, but don't discount the perks of driving a minivan like the Chrysler Pacifica. Sure, it's not especially cool, but when it comes to functionality, it's hard to beat.

The Pacifica makes managing day-to-day life easy, but it also shines on a road trip. Whether you're packing up the kids or it's simply a couple's getaway, this minivan is loaded with features to make the trip relaxing and fun.

On the kid front, there's a rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones and two 10-inch touchscreens in the seatbacks. The second and third row Stow 'n Go seats fold down into the floor when not in use or that same space becomes hidden underfloor storage. It's the perfect place to pack extra snacks, drinks, or an emergency change of clothes.

2019 Chrysler PacificaThe Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid's all-electric drive mode is helpful for sneaking up on wildlife at the National Parks.Photo by Nicole Wakelin

Even if there aren't kids in the mix, it turns out the Chrysler Pacifica is a great choice for a couple's getaway. Equipped with optional captain's chairs in the second row, the space in the middle is an ideal spot for a cooler. It's easily reachable for the front passenger so a cold drink and a snack are always at the ready.

There's also an ample amount of storage with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet behind the first row. Even with a full load of passengers, the Pacifica provides plenty of room for your luggage. Leave the kids at home and all that cargo space makes picking up those quirky roadside finds a breeze.

The Chrysler Pacifica gets good fuel economy with an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined with the gas engine. There's also the Pacifica Hybrid, which is the only hybrid minivan on the market. It gets an EPA-estimated 82 MPGe making it a fuel economy champion.

The Pacifica Hybrid has an all-electric range of 30 miles with regenerative braking that extends that range. Road trips that wander through more mountainous terrain will see that electric range go up with heavy brake use in downhill stretches.

A hybrid running in electric mode is quiet. Not only does it make the interior quiet for passengers, it reduces noise outside the vehicle, too. Those planning a drive where watching wildlife is a part of the adventure will find the Pacifica Hybrid less likely to startle roadside wildlife leaving the kids with a close-up look at creatures that might be spooked by a gas engine.

The Chrysler Pacifica is a versatile minivan with room for the family and all their stuff. Its comfortable and spacious interior lets everyone relax and good fuel economy, especially in the hybrid, make it easy on the family budget. Pricing for the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica starts at $33,495.

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Refreshed luxury crossover

2022 Lexus NX earns Top Safety Pick +

The 2022 NX earned a Top Safety Pick + award.

Lexus

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX just got its crash test scores, and they're strong. The new crossover picked up a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency's top award. It's the NX's fourth consecutive Top Safety Pick + award, and before that the vehicle earned Top Safety Picks.

2022 Lexus NXThe NX has picked up top awards for several years in a row. Lexus

The 2022 NX picked up top scores in testing, earning a "Good" rating in all crash-test categories, a "Good" score for headlights, "Superior" scores for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention, and a "Good+" score for LATCH system ease of use. Though the 2021 model also picked up a Top Safety Pick + award, it scored lower for its car seat anchors.

Lexus offers the new NX with a whopping four propulsion options, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 203 horsepower, a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 275 horsepower, a 2.5-liter hybrid with 239 horsepower and a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 302 horsepower. The two gas engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive, while the two hybrids both get all-wheel drive.

2022 Lexus NXLexus offers the NX with four powertrain options. Lexus

Pricing for the 2022 NX starts at $39,025 for the base NX250. Moving up the line, the NX350h starts at $42,125 and the NX450h+ starts at $56,725.

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The 2023 Sportage Hybrid starts at around $28,000.

Kia

Kia's moving full steam ahead to an all-electric future, but the automaker's intermediate models should not be overlooked. Kia and Hyundai do hybrids as well as anyone, and the 2023 Sportage Hybrid is coming soon with new tech, updated styling, and a value-forward price. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid goes on sale in spring.

2023 Kia Sportage HybridThe Sportage Hybrid delivers up to 39 mpg.Kia

Kia offers the Sportage hybrid in three trims: The $28,505 LX, $32,205 EX, and $37,405 SX-Prestige. All models come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a 44kW electric motor that combine to produce 226 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission with a rotary shifter is standard, and all-wheel drive become standard at the EX trim. The powertrain is efficient for an SUV, delivering up to 39 mpg when paired with front-wheel drive.

Kia says the Sportage Hybrid's interior features a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster for almost 25 inches of display. Standard tech is generous, and includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also plenty of safety tech. Kia adds standard gear that includes:

  • Driver attention warning system
  • LED headlights
  • Lane following assist and lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warnings with cyclist detection
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Rearview monitor
  • Reverse parking distance warnings
Several optional features are available, including blind spot warnings, forward parking distance warnings, navigation-based cruise control, and more.

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