Current state: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, fully loaded, owned since new, 44,000 miles. One minor side swipe accident with $3000 of body work completed at Chrysler dealership’s body shop.
Family of five, kids are 9, 6, 6, all in boosters. We’re fairly small people and the kids are on track to be too, so we’re on track for boosters for a while.
Until this year the minivan has been perfect for us. The PHEV setup fits our use case perfectly, the seven seats mean we can easily pick up friends or cousins, which we do a lot, and the driving position is comfortable.
This year has been a long chain of warranty work - I believe the problem is more Stellantis’s incompetence with software instead of the actual hardware - and more is needed, so our car has been in the shop lots and running with warning lights even more. Its favorite trick is to turn on the CEL for the return leg of a day trip. Friends, family, and caution tell us to get it on good behavior and trade it in, but “for what” is tough for us.
PHEV or EV. Not interested in debating this here; for our lifestyle plugging in is an enormous convenience.
Fits at least three booster seats
Easy for short people to drive
Ideally not too showy - we do pretty well but prefer the “stealth wealth” approach and don’t want to advertise we’re the best-off people in the block with a Rivian or something like that
Things we’ve considered:
Slog through the warranty work and hope the car can be made trustworthy again. We are at least working with a good service department. We bring them donuts along with surprise visits when lights come on. They now all call the “service electric vehicle system” light the “lobster light” because that’s what we call it. None of this has cost us a cent besides the donuts.
Trade in for a new Pacifica Hybrid? Ehhh.
Model Y. Still investigating, but even with the third row it seems tight for three kids in boosters.
Something else. We looked at a CX90 PHEV last night and my wife didn’t like how high the hood was. That makes a lot of SUVs challenging unless there are some with especially short hoods. We could work with a five seater, but it would need to have a wide back seat.
At first glance one of the Volvo SUVs, Grand Cherokee, and the X5 may be an option. I know you said not too flashy but to be honest I don’t think an XC90 or X5 will make the neighbors start whispering.
The Toyota Sienna (any after 2021 are hybrid, as this one is). I owned a 2023, but no longer needed a large vehicle, and got a 2023 Toyota Crown, (hybrid) instead. No, its not plug in vehilcle, but it is part electric (hybrid) reflected in the 36 mpg fuel economy, not bad for a vehicle which hauls 7 or 8 people. I found that hybrids are “the sweet spot” between having to plug it in and wait for it to charge, vs getting not so good fuel economy of a gasoline only vehicle. Hybrids have many benefits of both electric, and gasoline. Try one. You will have test drive a used one, likely, (2021 or newer are hybrids) because new ones are almost always pre sold, they are so popular.
First step may be figuring out how much car you need for the kids to be comfortable. Pacifica is 80 inches wide. That’s about as wide as passenger cars come. Can you make do with 75 inches? Width isn’t a perfect proxy for back seat width but it’s pretty close. Once you figure out how much back seat room you need it might help you narrow the search if you are looking for a two row vehicle.
Telling your wife, who doesn’t feel comfortable in a car, that she will get used to it is…not a good choice.
OP has limited options given the plug in requirement. Perhaps the better choice is to hold the pacifica for another year. There are going to be a lot more EVs/PHEV coming to market in next year that might work better for OP.
I mean considering leasing another Pacifica PHEV might not be the worst idea since they’re heavily discounted, you’d get the 7500 applied against a lease and being a newer model that mitigates some of the reliability issues. and you’re only committed for the term while they build a bunch of better PHEV options.
No clear cut answer… which basically means let your wife make the call.
Do you care about second row bench vs captain’s chairs? Because the former significantly limits your options. I am shopping the exact same use case as you are and the bench is a must, as our kids love to sit together. FWIW, I’ve narrowed it down to XC90 Recharge (leases poorly), a Wrangler 4xe with an aftermarket 3rd row, or waiting for the EV9.