The 2018 Honda Clarity offers three electrified powertrains with a choice of fuel cell, electric, or plug-in hybrid. Of those three, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which is available in all 50 states, is set to be the volume leader. There are a growing number of choices in this arena and Honda hopes the Clarity will quickly rise to the top.
Power for the Clarity PHEV comes from a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors with a 17 kWh lithium ion battery pack. It has 212 total system horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque, so it’s no slouch. Gone are the days when hybrids were lackluster vehicles.
The Clarity is quite responsive and makes merging into highway traffic easy. If you happen to be one of the people who bought a hybrid when they were first introduced, then you likely remember the noise the engine made under hard acceleration. They were loud and intrusive and inspired little confidence.
The experience is exactly the opposite in the Clarity. Not only is it responsive, it’s quiet without any annoying whine intruding into the cabin space. The ride is smooth and composed with the Clarity easily taking the corners on a country road. It is the consummate smooth sedan that doesn’t make the driver work too hard, instead ensuring passengers are comfortable and relaxed.
Three drive modes – Normal, Econ, and Sport – let you tailor the drive experience for maximum efficiency or maximum performance. There’s also an HV mode, which can be used along with the three other modes to preserve the battery’s charge.
It has a 47-mile all electric range with a total range of 340 miles and, of course, it gets fabulous fuel economy. The 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV gets an EPA-estimated 110 MPGe. Gas prices are rising, which makes the Clarity a winner for those worried about sticking to the their budgets on summer road trips. When it does come time to charge up your Clarity, it takes 2.5 hours with a 240-volt Level 2 charger.
There are only two trim to choose from with the base model starting at $33,400. The Touring, which is the trim level we tested, starts at $37,490 and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-trimmed seats, 8-way power driver’s seat, 4-way power front passenger seat, and navigation.
Even the base model is well-quipped with standard heated front seats, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. Standard safety features include lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and Honda LaneWatch.
The Honda Clarity PHEV is a fully-featured plug-in hybrid with appealing styling and a comfortable, roomy interior. It also has a smooth, responsive ride and fuel economy that will help you keep more of your money in your pocket.