SANTA MONICA, CA – If there’s a two-word takeaway from driving the ’17 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid it’s this: seamless integration.

We’re very familiar with Chrysler’s all-new minivan, having logged a considerable number of miles in it as we evaluated it for both our Wards 10 Best Interiors and the inaugural Wards 10 Best UX competitions. The Pacifica took home a trophy in each of those categories and the plug-in hybrid powertrain is a nominee for a Wards 10 Best Engines award.

At first glance, Chrysler’s first-ever mass-market electrified minivan for North America appears fairly similar to the standard gasoline-powered model, with the only obvious differences being an added charging port on the front fender, teal accents and “e” symbols that mimic common computer “power on” buttons liberally applied to cosmetically reinforce the electric message. The hybrid’s interior is trimmed in black and metal touches, with ice-blue stitching and black piping seat accents.

Kevin Mets, chief engineer, says the Pacifica’s styling is an automatic aid to the hybrid model because its slick aerodynamic profile already reduces the amount of power required to move the vehicle through the air.

Further examination reveals the more significant alterations. The underfloor tubs now are filled with a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provided by LG Chem, eliminating the van’s convenient Stow ’n’ Go function for the second-row seats. Removable captain’s chairs replace the stowable seats; the third row still can be folded flat into the rear floor. Also, there is no option for the built-in vacuum system because that space is taken up by hybrid hardware.

Up front is a completely revised instrument panel with hybrid gauges reporting such values as state of battery charge, EV miles available and overall efficiency. Five dash-top lights clearly indicate when the battery is charging.

The hybrid system pairs a 3.6L Pentastar V-6 with an FCA-developed dual-motor, electrically variable transmission. Compared with the standard Pacifica V-6, the hybrid engine is modified to run on an Atkinson cycle and uses a higher 12.5:1 compression ratio and unique cams, pistons and valves. The engine also eschews a cooled exhaust-gas-recirculation system and variable valve lift and has no need for a starter or generator.

Total system power is rated at 260 hp, with output from the Atkinson-cycle 3.6L V-6 reduced to 220 hp and 235 lb.-ft. (319 Nm) of torque compared with the standard Pacifica V-6 that is rated at 287 hp and 262 lb.-ft. (355 Nm).

A primary electric motor dispenses 85 kW (114 hp) and 231 lb.-ft. (313 Nm) of torque while a smaller motor is listed at 63 kW (84 hp) and 92 lb.-ft. (125 Nm). Total torque isn’t specified, which is unusual considering monster torque ratings starting at zero rpm typically are a strong selling point for electrified powertrains.

Many hybrid systems use the large motor to drive the wheels with or without the gas engine, but the large motor never works in tandem with the smaller motor that primarily serves as a starter-generator.

In the Pacifica Hybrid, the opposite is true. An electrically variable transmission, trademarked eFlite, uses a planetary gear set and a one-way clutch to create a compact and highly efficient powertrain that draws on both electric motors and the gas engine to drive the wheels.

“The car will always be in the most efficient mode possible,” says John Gibson, chief engineer-electrified powertrains.

By combining both motors with the engine, the Pacifica Hybrid achieves an electric-only driving range of 33 miles (53 km) and 84 mpg-e (2.9 L/100 km). Overall range is pegged at 566 miles (911 km).

Regenerative braking charges the batteries while decelerating, coasting or in normal braking to increase overall range. Regenerative braking also handles all normal stopping down to 8 mph (13 km/h), when the friction brakes take over. A “low” transmission mode increases the level of regenerative braking.

Charging via a 240V, 6.6-kW onboard charger takes about two hours, while 120V household current replenishes the battery in about 14 hours. Five large dash-top blue lights indicate when the battery is properly plugged in and visibly show its state of charge.

The entire battery pack is actively cooled and heated to maintain the most efficient operating temperature. A 12V battery serves as a stabilizer for the electrical systems and provides power for accessories when the hybrid powertrain isn’t running.