Any family vehicle solutions I’m not thinking of?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Trade in for a new Pacifica Hybrid? Ehhh.
  3. Model Y. Still investigating, but even with the third row it seems tight for three kids in boosters.
  4. 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.


Here’s a list that may help:

Car and Driver

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 GV70 is all electric but may be too small.

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Kia Sorento PHEV might be worth a look. Same price range. Volvos are nice but probably a higher payment vs the Pacifica

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Kia EV9. Volvo EX90. VW ID Buzz
Problem is, all 3 of these will be released next year

I currently drive the R1S. I am shocked because most people don’t give a flying damn. Your kid’s friend’s mom will have zero clue that it costs more than a base GLS.

That said, whether R1S will be the car that suits your need is debatable. Sounds like you will like EV9, EX90, or ID Buzz more.

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You might want to look at mazda cx90 phev

OP Already said he hated it.

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The words “chrysler” and ‘‘trustworthy’’ typically don’t go together…
There are definitely better options


Sorry i skimmed the first post, oops

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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.

No. Car sits at home most of the time. Zero downside to plugging in, all upside - for us. Other people may see it differently and that’s their business but I’m not car shopping for them.

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.

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Model Y is useless for your lifestyle. Sorento PHEV is only six seats so not ideal either.

Mazda CX90 is probably your best bet. With a surround view camera and parking sensors you’ll get used to the dimensions very quickly.


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.


Toyota sienna look no further

I’m looking for the Plug in port for a Sienna, it’s one of his requirements.


Besides that, my wife was in one yesterday and didn’t like the LATCH configuration.

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Yeah the EV9 may fit the bill as it’s basically an EV Telluride. However dealing with Kia dealers and their ADMs will drive anybody’s blood pressure up and I think it’ll be awhile to come to market.

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If the choices are to keep what’s basically a lemon for another year, get into the same again, or get a CX90 then both me and my wife would choose the Mazda.

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.

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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.