It also meant that our Pacifica Hybrid was temporarily immobilized for the first time. Our quiet residential street isn’t routinely plowed and the sheer depth of snow on that first morning was too much for Baymax’s ground clearance, regardless of tires. Our Subaru Impreza just about scrabbled its way out to pick up a poorly scheduled Click-and-Collect order from the supermarket but even the 4x4 diesel truck in the house next door to us was struggling, so I didn’t feel too bad. Buying a car is a series of trade-offs and we knew that deep snow would be one scenario that a FWD minivan might not handle. That doesn’t make it the wrong vehicle for the other 364 days of the year.
It’s three months now since I reset the PacHy’s trip computer with the onset of the first cold weather. Since then, it’s averaged 6.7L/100km (35mpg), mostly through short errands around the city, plus a couple of longer runs out to the mountains for skiing. That figure is down on the warm-weather average, as expected, with electric-only range dropping from around 47-50km (29-31 miles) to about 35km (22 miles) as the car copes with additional demands on its power, like keeping us warm, and winter tires with higher rolling resistance.
The increase in fuel consumption and decrease in battery range are not ideal but not a disaster, either. I don’t see any other vehicles here in North America that match the Pacifica Hybrid’s capability for the same fuel numbers, and certainly not at this price point, although I’d expect the new Toyota Sienna Hybrid to get close. More on that in a future post.
Thanks to the useful advice on the Canadian Pacifica e-Hybrid Owners Facebook group, we’ve got into the routine of using electricity from the grid to warm the plugged-in car before journeys. All it takes are two presses on the Start button without pushing the brake pedal, or two clicks of the key fob’s remote start button, about 10 minutes before departure.
An appropriate app with a warm-up function – as is available for many EVs and some other vehicles – would be a useful addition. The only official app for a 2018 PacHy is the Uconnect one, which doesn’t offer this type of function, although it has some features for Uconnect 5-equipped 2021 hybrids. Please get in touch if you have additional info or suggestions.
The warm-up routine does go a long way to minimizing IC engine use on short journeys, witnessed by a drop in overall fuel consumption since we started doing it. Of course, the engine still might need to fire to warm the car and battery up when you return to it after it’s been parked in the cold, as well as for the periodic ‘Fuel and Oil Maintenance Mode’. This latter scenario can be particularly damaging to average fuel use if you don’t undertake a journey long enough for the sequence to complete, as the car will keep on trying to run the cycle on each new journey. It took a longer run to the mountains for our Pacifica to get this out of its system.
Thanks for reading. Stay warm, stay healthy and drive safely!