Say what you will about Honda Clarity’s unique body design. Granted, as she sits, Honda’s latest and greatest foray into the rarefied world of automotive electrification is just a tad controversial as to body style, and motivation. Rare, is an understatement when we look to the Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric. 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV exceeds our performance and ride comfort expectations.
The aforementioned just happens to be my personal favorite Clarity for several reasons. There’s something fascinating about a technology that generates an electric charge, powering multiple motors, while producing zero hydrocarbon emissions. Torque news first experienced Clarity FCEV in Santa Barbara, California. That drive for us was a glimpse into a Zero emissions transportation future.
The 3rd generation Honda Clarity Electric Car Platform
Sadly, the world is not ready for Clarity FCEV on a marketable scale -- it will take decades for the fledgling primarily West Coast compressed hydrogen fueling infrastructure to gain expansion momentum. Yes, it’s expanding, but painfully slow. Beyond pent-up consumer demand lies the cost of facilitation, said to be no less than $1.2 million per location. And then there’s the development lead time and permit process -- less than attractive for most entrepreneurs.
So, Honda presents a Clarity variant trilogy, all electric. To date, Torque News has experienced all three, with our current test drive conducted behind the wheel of what Honda engineering rightfully proclaims as the most refined, and roomy, 4-door Honda mainstream sedan of all time. Honda Clarity is a winner, here’s why.
The 2018 Honda Clarity advantage
Looking beyond California’s H.O.V. (high occupancy vehicle) commuter lane access, drivers discover that Honda Clarity PHEV takes refinement and quiet to the premium level. And, when one takes the initiative to plug-in, Clarity PHEV enables a very useful range of 37 miles electric-only range, and a combined real-world adjusted 49 MPG, and 340 miles between fill ups -- making 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV the longest range electric car in the U.S..
Greater in exterior dimension, and a bit roomier than Honda Accord, Clarity represents Honda’s pinnacle in midsize sedan comfort, ride, personal electronic connectivity, driver-assist, and active safety features. Me, I like driving Clarity. There’s just something about driving a near silent, zero emissions car in electric only mode.
And, when called for, Sport-mode ensures ample takeoff and passing speed -- Clarity is quick! Within minutes of taking the wheel, drivers forget that they’re driving a direct-drive, primary electric car. Clarity’s road to steering wheel feedback and brake feel is natural. Thanks to the low center of gravity placement of the battery module, and exceptional suspension tuning, the Clarity driver enjoys a heavier-car-ride experience, and track-like handling through the twistys.
Outside of the occasional high-rev of Clarity’s Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder gasoline co-generator, Clarity’s cabin remains as quiet as a public library on a Saturday night. Although Clarity’s interior finish is minimalist by most premium car standards, it grows on you, and passes our stringent quality test for fitment, fit and finish -- it works!
A final thought or two
Torque News had the opportunity to conduct a side by side comparison of Honda Clarity, and Toyota Mirai, it was akin to comparing apples to oranges. 2018 Honda Clarity is larger, has greater passenger capacity, is quiet on the road, and seamless as to spot-on acceleration, and superior electric-motor-torque transfer, Mirai is not. 2018 Honda Clarity is Green Car of the Year.
Through Clarity, Honda gives consumers 3 methods of electrification. I recommend a Clarity test drive to anyone considering the purchase of a 5 passenger 4-door midsize sedan. When it comes to Clarity, exceptional fuel efficiency is simply a bonus that comes with the purchase of an exceptional, carefully crafted and fun to drive car.