Last year, we had the opportunity to live the (mini) van life for a year, with a loan from Chrysler. Even better, ours was going to be a plug-in hybrid. We took delivery of an Ocean Blue 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited late last summer, and it quickly became more than a simple mode of transportation. The plug-in Pacifica was a much-beloved member of the Autoblog family, so much so that one editor considered buying it at the end of our loan. The end of that loan has, indeed, come, but not before this thing ferried editors, video producers and their families, friends, dogs and a whole lot of their belongings over a considerable portion of the country. It spent a lot of time in the wild woods of Northern Michigan, took a road trip through the Northeast and a vacation to Florida. It braved the cold in Buffalo, New York, on Nokian winter tires. The heated steering wheel didn’t quite keep us warm, but we didn’t mind so much, with this quiet van’s peaceful manner. We didn’t drive this Pacifica Hybrid out West, but West Coast Editor James Riswick got one in Oregon to find out what it was like, and we told Big Blue all about it. We worried a bit when she went in for a recall, and were proud of how the Pacifica stood up to a rival. In all, we put close to 26,000 miles on the Pacifica Hybrid — roughly 9,000 of which were under electric power alone — before reluctantly giving it back. We’re not sure where she ended up, but there’s a good chance that giant interior still carries a part of us with it, whether it’s a stray dog hair under a carpet mat, a Cheerio wedged in a seat cushion or a fingerprint on some tucked-away surface. We loved that damn minivan. Let us tell you why, one last time. Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: The Pacifica Hybrid made countless trips with me between my home in Ann Arbor and our office in Birmingham, with a fair share of 500-mile round trips to our cottage Up North. Whenever I had it, my son — who grew from a large toddler to a large pre-schooler over the course of our loan — wanted to sit inside. Sometimes, he wanted to go for quiet laps around the driveway. Others, he’d want to play the letter game on the rear-seat entertainment system, or play with the power doors. He’d pretend it was an airplane taking us to Dublin again, or a spaceship he could show off to the babysitter. It was a safe, comfortable space for him, and for me. Even my wife found the smooth, quiet acceleration and lack of body roll to be easy on her motion sickness as a passenger. I spent many moments stuck in rush-hour traffic, caressing the teal stitching or rubbing the similarly colored Chrysler emblem on the steering wheel. I always had my Nalgene water …
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