Here at Torque News, we try to be clear about the important difference between facts and opinions. We offer both, and we don't hesitate to mix and mingle the two. When we offer facts, we support them with links, or we tell you a bit about how we know the fact to be true. For example, when we report on green car sales, we often cite the respected publication Inside EVs, or we use data directly from manufacturers. We also use FuelEconomy.gov. Our recent full review of the Honda Clarity was titled, "Here’s the Most Honest Review You Will Read About This Important New Green Car." Now that that is out of the way, let us weigh in passionately with our opinion about how we, as Honda fans, feel about this new midsized Clarity plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) car.
The very first new car I bought was a Honda Civic Si. I knew I wanted that car before it even hit dealer lots. As a 23-year old, it had everything I wanted at a price I could afford. I loved that car. Our growing family's next car was an Integra LS. Those of you that know the trim codes know that isn't the fastest Integra. With maturity comes new priorities. That was one of my all-time favorite cars and I've had some great ones. The very last new car I bought was a Honda Accord, shown above next to the Clarity. It is still in service in our family. My parents use it seasonally now and they have always loved it. Talk has started about maybe it being handed down to one of my sons. That will be three generations in one vehicle. It's part of the family.
I lean heavily Honda. I took a family member shopping recently and we started at Honda. I recommend Hondas to family and friends on a regular basis. This new Clarity PHEV is an important milestone for me for a few reasons. First, I have now matured to the point that impressive 0-60 MPH times are not even on the list of needs in a daily driver. Second, I have become even more frugal (cheap Yankee applies). Third, since I am spending more time in an urban environment, and the air quality is horrifying compared to the air quality I have enjoyed in the rural area I have lived for most of my life, low emissions are now part of what I think is important in a daily driver. This new Clarity PHEV offers near-zero emissions with no compromises.
The new Clarity has a ridiculously low cost of ownership. It has more content, the same passenger space, and more safety to offer, than my 2006 Honda V6 EX-L, yet it has a much lower cost to buy and a lower cost to operate. People are buying fully-loaded Clarity Touring cars for about $23K here in my area after all the incentives are factored in. I paid about $26K for my Accord 12 years ago. The Accord averaged about 27 MPG. This Clarity PHEV gets 110 MPGe.
Our old Accord had great tech for 2006, but the new Clarity is amazing. Android Auto, outstanding audio, Honda Sensing adaptive cruise control, cameras pointing in every conceivable direction, and best of all, it is dead simple to learn to operate.
I would not recommend a Clarity to myself if I were 23 again today. I'd still get a Civic Si. I may even still look at a new ILX from Acura after I started earning real money. One should have a luxury car at some point. However, for pretty much every other scenario involving a daily-driver car decision, I'd point anyone to the new Clarity with enthusiasm. If you are a true Honda person, like I have always been, you will understand the inherent quality, attention to detail, and smart engineering this car has.
I spoke this morning with a Honda employee about the new dual-motor hybrid system that Honda is now using in the Insight, Clarity, and Accord Hybrid. I was happy to hear to that Honda has committed to spreading that green drivetrain to a compact crossover platform sometime in the not too distant future. Since I am now firmly in the crossover camp with regard to my own daily driver needs that was great news. I would be very happy to be able to upgrade my current P-ZEV crossover to a PHEV in the coming decade. Particularly one from Honda.