Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid And Chevrolet Volt Ranked On Wards 10 Best Engines List For 2017

DEC 20 2016 BY MARK KANE 26

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid cutaway

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid cutaway

The 2017 edition of Wards 10 Best Engines list (also understood as complete powertrains) includes exactly zero V-8 engines, but three hybrid systems – with two of those being plug-in models.

Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

The first “10 best” winner is the second generation of Chevrolet Volt, which also won the award a year ago (see report)!

The second PHEV winnder is the much anticipated Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that arrives in the next few weeks.

About the Voltec:

“Another returning winner, the Chevrolet Volt, distinguishes itself on several fronts. Of the three plug-ins or hybrids making the cut last year, only the Volt returns to the list. And getting there was tough, as an unprecedented pool of 11 nominees with electric propulsion (seven plug-in hybrids, three hybrids and one battery-electric) were vying for recognition.

With 53 miles (85 km) of all-electric range, many owners drive for months without putting gas in the tank. But the beauty of the powertrain is that if you need to take a trip, it seamlessly turns into a quiet and comfortable long-distance cruiser.

With almost 300 lb.-ft. (407 Nm) of instantaneous torque on tap, the Volt is a lot of fun to drive, and its equivalent fuel-economy rating by the EPA is an impressive 106 mpg-e (2.2 L/100 km).

General Motors’ second-generation Voltec drivetrain remains one of the most innovative and disruptive propulsion systems ever produced.”

Chrysler's plug-in hybrid system - reportedly good for 80 MPGe in the city

Chrysler’s plug-in hybrid system – reportedly good for 80 MPGe in the city

About Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:

“Chrysler adds electrification to its all-new Pacifica to create a segment-first plug-in hybrid minivan, as well as an award-winning formula.

Out of the myriad electrified vehicles we tested, the Pacifica Hybrid dazzles us by providing a seamless and efficient driving experience without sacrificing abundant interior space and comfortable ride and handling.

The unique powertrain employs dual electric motors and a heavily revised 3.6L Atkinson-cycle V-6 to achieve up to 33 miles (53 km) of electric range, 566 miles (911 km) of total range and real-world fuel economy observed by our judges topping 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km).

In our estimation, that makes the practical and functional Pacifica Hybrid a game-changer. Fans of the Pacifica Hybrid will be thrilled to know this new eHybrid system is part of a flexible platform that could expand electrification to other FCA front-wheel-drive vehicle programs.”

The Class of 2017 in alphabetical order:

  • 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-6 (BMW M240i)
  • 1.5L DOHC 4-cyl./Dual Motor EREV (Chevrolet Volt)
  • 3.6L DOHC V-6/Dual Motor PHEV (Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid)
  • 2.3L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Ford Focus RS)
  • 2.0L DOHC 4-cyl./Dual Motor HEV (Honda Accord Hybrid)
  • 1.4L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Hyundai Elantra Eco)
  • 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC V-6 (Infiniti Q50)
  • 2.5L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Mazda CX-9)
  • 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Mercedes-Benz C300)
  • 2.0L Turbo/Supercharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Volvo V60 Polestar)

Vehicles must have a base price no higher than $62,000 to be eligible.
Editors score each powertrain based on horsepower, torque, comparative specs, noise attenuation, observed fuel economy and the application of new technology. The guiding principles: Does the engine or electric propulsion system truly sell the car or raise the bar for its competitive set?

source: WardsAuto

Categories: Chevrolet, Chrysler

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26 Comments on "Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid And Chevrolet Volt Ranked On Wards 10 Best Engines List For 2017"

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Another silly list. An important characteristic of an engine/motor or drivetrain as a while is how reliable it is over the long term. As such, nothing that hasn’t been on the road in large numbers for ~10 years shouldn’t even be considered.
The Volt is borderline… But not a single Pacifica has been delivered yet, AFAIK…

10 year reliability can’t be a selection criteria, after 10 years an engine is likely obsolete already. How many production engines today have been on the road for 10 years?

So only old and outdated drive trains should be eligible? Doesn’t sound like a good idea.

Engines last forever these days anyway. The engines in strong PHEVs or EREVs won’t run that much. They’ll probably outlast three, four, or five battery packs (not practical but just saying).

The fact that Prius engines are lasting 500,000 miles gives us a clue. By reusing what would be lost energy from friction braking with regen braking in the electric motor for assisting low speed driving the most damaging wear on the engine is reduced.

I imagine Volt engines will outlast the car.

“I imagine Volt engines will outlast the car.”

That would be interest if when a Volt gets retired, the battery goes to use in residential/grid storage and the ICE gets reused for . . . I dunno what but something.

Back up generator for those same batteries…

GM shutting down 5 plants temporarily due to lack of demand is an indication of the softness in the new car market, which in many ways is a good thing, as older models are fazed out, and new more electrified models come into vogue. The emphasis on making the 2017 Volt a worthy and competitive vehicle is something GM needs desperately to do.

No, not a good thing. Demand for cars is down because demand is shifting to SUVs and trucks. Definitely not a good trend.

The Volt is a worthy vehicle and is selling well (basically equal to the Model S). That’s likely good because there are no plans to update it.

Yep . . . I wonder if we are sowing the seeds for another disaster. People are going to buy SUV gas guzzlers and we will end up addicted to Putin’s oil . . . and then the price of oil will shoot up again. Thus we’ll have lots of screaming Americans paying big bucks to Putin for oil to drive their gas-guzzlers. Ugh.

Well if that happens, I will have ZERO sympathy for them.

Been saying it for 5 years…

Chevrolet needs to put Voltec in SUV/Truck frame.

Now look what Chrysler did with their Pacifica Hybrid. Finally an EREV where you can sit straight and flex your arms. I’ll trade my Volt to one.

Your post got me thinking… and trying to find more information on a subject I only know a small amount about.

When calculating the average fuel economy for a manufacturer, I assume MPGe is used for BEVs in the calculation?

From what I have found, for alternative fuel vehicles and Plug-In Hybrids, there is a cap in how much they can improve the mpg average. But it looks like this cap does not apply to BEVs.

So for CAFE purposes, would 1 Chevy Bolt EV be significantly more beneficial to GM than selling multiple Chevy Sonics (gas) or Chevy Volts? (Before even considering ZEV credits or CARB).

Does anyone have a good link for a breakdown of how the MPG is calculated for CAFE and how EVs play a part vs PHEVs? I am having trouble finding consistent information on this and I’d like to understand it better.

It was explained to me earlier this week, that:
-CAFE 54.5, is expected to be 50mpg in 2025, mostly due to trucks/low gas$. The standard is by class of vehicle, and can move.
-Two factors get from a real world 37mpg, to 54.5 CAFE.
-One is the “laboratory test”, like for NEDC which, here, tends to yield 20% higher results.
-The above takes the number to 47mpg.
-Two is the credits given to BEV’s, taking the value the rest of the way to 54.5 (as originally modeled before gas prices fell)

I’m not positive, but don’t believe BEVs have their MPGe values “averaged in” because the whole rule is built around CO2 per mile, not technically mpgs. Since you can’t average in infinite from vehicles measured only at the tailpipe, you end up factoring in the credits. I know this probably doesn’t complete a picture for anyone, but should help in understanding that nobody is expecting cars to average wild efficiency numbers, in 2025.


Interesting, thank’s for filling in a bit more information! It has been surprisingly difficult to find for me… I found lots of info on ICE cars but not as much on plug-in hybrids or evs. Only passing references.

I shall continue to look into it when I get the chance. 🙂

Great tech in the Pacifica. I am amazed the FCA pulled this off. Truly surprised.

The Pacifica appears destined to be a big hit. Anton from SeekingAlpha points out that many houses in Silicon Valley had a Prius and a minivan. Now they have a Model S but have kept the old minivan for family needs. Those old vans are due for an electric upgrade! (Note that you’ll save more gas going from a minivan to this Pacifica than you will going from a Prius to a Model S).

I can definitely see a market for it, but I don’t necessarily think that the replacement cycle will directly translate into a lot of sales.

Maybe they’ve really kept the old minivan because it works, and it’s reliable so it doesn’t need to be replaced yet.

If they bought it because they have children, and the children are grown up, will they really want their next vehicle to be a minivan?

If the current minivan is AWD will they be willing to settle for FWD to get it?

Those filters aren’t a problem for a compliance vehicle, but for more volume, I think they need to get new buyers.

Looking at the list and criteria (copied below), the Bolt got a real snub this year.

“Editors score each powertrain based on horsepower, torque, comparative specs, noise attenuation, observed fuel economy and the application of new technology. The guiding principles: Does the engine or electric propulsion system truly sell the car or raise the bar for its competitive set?”

The Chevy Bolt EV has no “engine” so it will never qualify.

I am pretty sure it qualifies as an “electric propulsion system”, from the criteria.

Yup, they hafta award a new design during an era of change, and I expect great things from the Pacifica PHEV (after expecting nothing from FCA) but it would be nice to see the first million-mile EV get recognition in several years… This Volt owner is now up to 359k.

I have to say that between the 2 power trains, Chevy has hit the mark, first because it allows for an all electric range that is closer to the average commute in California and second because they seem committed to improve the power train. Now they just need to believe in it and put it on more vehicles like a small SUV which is a hot segment currently. Personally, I can’t understand the reluctance to make a 7 passenger vehicle that is not an SUV or van. As our population ages, getting in & out becomes more problematic. The closest to that criteria in The US is the Ford Flex and the Transit Connect. Honda’s Japan market Odyssey comes to mind as a design that looks good and is practical. BMW and KIA make them but have yet to bring them here. My point is that these power trains will pave the way to further the acceptance of pure electric vehicles but that won’t happen until there are more choices. Thanks FCA for leading on that front.

Voltec is an engineering marvel, but FCA has done super well here. It managed to get 33 miles of electric range from the Pacifica. GM put Voltec in the Cadillac CT6 and only got 30 miles.

It also managed to show that you can do a PHEV in a larger vehicle.

I think it’s fair to say that the CT6 and the Pacifica have significantly different performance profiles.

The 60kWh Bolt gets substantially more range than the 60kWh Model S for the same reason.

I understand the point but I was responding to the notion that the GM drive train gets more electric range. It really doesn’t. The Volt gets more but that’s a compact. The CT6 and Pacifica are much larger vehicles. So comparing the Volt to the Pacifica is something of an apples to oranges comparison.

Also note that compared to the CT6, the Pacifica is larger, is less aerodynamic, and weighs considerably more (like a couple of thousand pounds). It wouldn’t be surprising if it didn’t go as far on a 16 kWh battery as the CT6 does on an 18 kWh pack but it goes further!

Also in electric vehicles more performance can equal more efficiency. Case in point would be the Model S. The higher performance versions are more efficient than the lower performance variations (two motors versus one).

I REALLY want that Chrysler Pacifica PHEV to be a HUGE HIT just to annoy Sergio. 😉

OK, not to annoy him but to get him to see the light.

Three of the candidates are HEV with gas engines as range extenders. The best two (GM and FCA) are North American products, so I support any of these two to win.