A Honda fan offers a biased opinion of the 2018 Honda Clarity.
John Goreham's picture

Here's the Most Biased Honda Clarity PHEV Story You Will Read - Tell Us What You Think

Here is a story that covers the new 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV from the point of view of a lifelong Honda fan.
Advertisement


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.


Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.

Comments

Lots of comments about your article on insideevforum. In fairness in MA the car is ~$25k because of the state sales tax. Even at that price it’s a steal for a brand new car. I’m wondering if Honda is concerned about these cars cannibalizing sales of the accord. The Clarity has a lower price point after incentives then the EX-L or Touring and is almost the same size. The Clarity is one generation behind on the stereo and doesn’t have blind spot warning. Financilly the Clarity just seems like a better deal. Lower acquisition cost and certainly lower operating costs.
Good point about state sales tax. I never include state tax in any story about cars, but perhaps I should consider doing that.
Thank you very much for the heads up on the discussion at Inside EVs. We hold that publication in high regard here and I am pleased to have spurred some dialogue.
Saw one on the road for the first time last week. Very sharp looking!! I remember very well the Honda Civic SI. Those were great cars!!
I see Clarity EVs on the road every day, but they are still relatively rare compared to the new Accord. I've owned many Hondas (7) and it is easy to be a fan of the cars, so I can understand his glowing review. Here in California is one of the very few places that hydrogen fuel cell cars exist, and even though the FCV Clarity is available, I see many more Mirai FCVs out there, and unless you are really close up to see the badges you cannot tell the FCV Clarity from the PHEV and BEV Clarity models. I do think that the Clarity is a better deal than the Accord for some buyers as the Accord hybrid is not offered as a plug in model like the Clarity. But the styles of the two models vary enough to attract different buyers.