Honda’s goal is to make 2/3rds of its global sales electric by 2030.
The 2018 Clarity Plug-In is Honda’s newest addition to its lineup in North America – one of 3 cars in the “Clarity Trio” available for sale in California: Fuel Cell Clarity, Pure Electric Clarity and Plug-In Hybrid Clarity.
With Fuel Cell Clarity only sold in California, EV Clarity only sold in California and Oregon, and Plug-In-In Hybrid Clarity sold in all 50 states, there’s no question Plug-In Hybrid Clarity will be the sales leader. (The Plug-In is the only member of the trio that can be both leased and purchased. The other 2 cars are by lease only.)
There isn’t much separating the futuristic exteriors of the 3 cars except for their badges. They’re all the same size: 192.7” long, 73.9” wide and 58.2” tall, and have been specifically designed to use the exact same efficient airstream aerodynamics.
The Clarity Plug-In’s starting MSRP is $33,400. With a $1,500 California State rebate and a $7,500 Federal Tax credit, the price is lowered considerably. For customers deciding to go Green for the first time and looking for a transition car that uses both gas and electric (rather than all electric), the Clarity Plug-In hybrid is an excellent choice. The car delivers predominantly gas-free commuting without the range limitations of a pure electric. For short hops around town, you can go all-electric. For road trips, you can use electric AND gas.
PHEV Clarity’s 17kWh, 168-cell Lithium-ion battery works with a 181HP electric motor to offer an all-electric range of 47 miles when fully charged. With the battery depleted, the 103HP 1.5-litre inline-four gasoline engine takes over, providing an EPA-rated 340 additional miles. The engine spins a generator which provides current to recharge the battery. The generator can also provide additional power to the gas engine, bringing the car’s total horsepower to 212. The Clarity Plug-In hybrid has a combined rating of 110 MPGe on electrons and 42 MPG on gasoline. Combined/city/highway is 42/44/40 MPG. Top speed is 110mph and the car reaches 60mph in 7.6 seconds.
The Plug-In hybrid offers a choice of 3 driving modes – Econ, Normal and Sport. The car’s regenerative braking system has four settings, controlled by paddles on either side of the steering wheel. Not only that, there are three choices for controlling how the PHEV uses its battery charge.
PHEV Clarity comes with an expansive list of standard equipment including Honda Sensing driver-assistance features that include:
• Collision Mitigation Braking System: brakes the vehicle when it senses and unavoidable collision with a vehicle in front of Clarity.
• Road Departure Mitigation System: a small camera charts road markers and alerts you if you’re about to leave the road.
• Adaptive Cruise Control: helps you maintain a set following interval on the highway so you don’t have to manually change your speed.
• Lane Keeping Assist System: if your vehicle leaves the lane you’re in without signaling, the car’s steering adjusts the car back to the center of the lane.
Says AutoBlog reviewer John Snyder: “The really impressive thing here is the car's interior. Particularly in the Touring trim level, the look and feel of the Clarity's cabin is perhaps the best we've seen in recent memory in a car bearing the Honda badge. The interior comes in ivory white or black (we preferred the white). The design is conservative, pepped up by clever styling. The Touring combines a plastic that does a fine impression of wood grain with strips of ultrasuede throughout, including across the dash. The floating central touchscreen doesn't feature any wacky surrounds, and looks simple and uncluttered on the dash. The leather-trimmed seats are comfortable, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel is comfortable in hand over a long drive. The shift buttons on the lower part of the center console are the only things that look a little out of place, but the open area below them makes for useful, accessible storage.”
Edmunds Senior Road Tester, Jason Kavanagh, says: "Hugely complex on paper, the Clarity PHEV is simple to use in practice. It's not necessary to futz with the various modes — you can simply get in and drive it like any other car if you so choose. There's satsifying thrust on tap from a standstill thanks to the Clarity's ample low-end torque. Like most plug-ins, though, its acceleration at freeway speeds is considerably less exuberant. Its 212 hp has some 4,052 pounds to move, after all. This is a pleasant-riding car, thanks in part to the Clarity's multilink independent rear suspension. Its ride quality is refined, and it steers precisely around turns. Routine handling is cooperative rather than engaging, which probably isn't a surprise given its curb weight, though body roll is kept at bay. When the engine turns on, you'll hear it, but engagement is smooth. In general, the Clarity is a quiet car both around town and on the highway. The Clarity PHEV is among the more polished plug-in hybrids. Its cabin looks and feels well-finished, with a design motif that brings to mind high-end home audio equipment. It's roomier than a Volt, especially in the back seat, and has a much larger trunk."
Interior features include: Shift-By-Wire (go from Park to Drive with the touch of a button), Steering Wheel-Mounted Controls, Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control, an 8-Inch Display Audio Touch-Screen, Apple CarPlayTM1 Integration, and Android AutoTM2 Integration.
Offering 15.5 cubic feet of cargo area, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a larger trunk than many of its competitors.
Says John Snyder: “Were it our money on the line, it would be a tough choice between the Volt and the Clarity. As rational grown-ups, though, the Honda Clarity would likely win out. The pleasant, quiet cabin, smooth ride, standard tech features and, of course, the extra space would prove too good to pass up. If you're surprised by the Clarity PHEV, you're not alone. But if you're shopping in this segment, it's worth a close look.”
Says Liz Kim, New York Daily News, speaking of plug-ins in general and the Clarity Plug-In: "Will planning around the need to recharge the vehicle, and the act of recharging, become a huge obstacle in your day? And do you really want to drive around in a car that’s charitably described as “different”? Honda solves this with the Clarity Plug-in, making it easy, affordable and appealing to drive the car primarily on electricity for the average number of miles Americans typically travel each day. With its unusual yet attractive looks, prettily outfitted cabin, ease of use, and seamless driving experience, there are few downsides to owning this plug-in hybrid vehicle. And the upside, of course, is that you never, ever, suffer from range anxiety."
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.