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Photo Credits: Honda Press and Media

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

2018 Honda Clarity PHEV

Base MSRP: From $33,400

Configurations:

  • Base – From $33,400
  • Touring – From $36,600

Tax Credit: Up to $7,500

Battery Size: 17 kWh

EPA Range: 47 electric miles, 340 total miles

Charging Acceptance Rate: 6.6kW

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hyrbid

Overview

Performance:Electric vehicle (EV) 1.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine, paired with electric motor hybrid system; 212 horsepower

Mileage estimate: 110 mpge

Price estimate: From $33,400 to $36,600

Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles

Drivetrain Warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles

Roadside Assistance: 3 years/ 36,000 miles

Corrosion Warranty: 5 years / unlimited 

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid Review

If you’re considering the 2018 Honda Clarity, you’ll be glad we did some homework for you. Pardon the pun, but doing the prep work in a diligent manner will provide the much-needed clarity.

There are three versions of the front-wheel drive Clarity, a relatively new sedan in the Honda lineup. The Japanese automaker is offering the Clarity as an electric vehicle (EV), a fuel-cell model, and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that will be the primary focus of this review.

The fuel-cell Clarity is an electric motor that draws its power from a hydrogen fuel cell. It’s available only in California and is offered for lease only. The EV model can be leased in just California and Oregon.

Honda has big expectations for the Clarity, believing it can reach 75,000 in yearly sales by 2021 for all three versions. Sales are slow right now for the EV and fuel-cell models; the Clarity PHEV is considered the best buy among the three and is sold nationwide.

Not familiar with the PHEV term? It’s an acronym that puzzles many car buyers when it’s mentioned. A Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is a vehicle that can operate on either electricity or petrol, switching between the two sources of power.

Like the Chevrolet Volt, the Clarity PHEV features an internal-combustion engine that’s utilized as a generator to charge the batteries for an electric motor that primarily drives the vehicle. A hybrid that does not have an option to plug-in for electrical power, like the original Toyota Prius, uses a gas engine and electric motors that connect to the transmission to get the vehicle in motion. (The Prius is now offered as a PHEV with the introduction of the Prius Prime.)

The PHEV has the most mass appeal in the Clarity lineup. It has a solid electric range, delivers adequate performance, provides excellent mileage, and is a sedan with good road manners that many find comfortable.

Introduced in 2018, the Clarity PHEV starts at around $34,400, which is several thousand less than the popular Honda Accord Hybrid. If applicable, the $7,500 federal tax credit adds another incentive for buying the Clarity.

Exterior Style

Not everyone is enamored by the Clarity’s exterior appearance. The Clarity is 192.7 inches long and has a 108.3-inch wheelbase. The exterior is rather busy for some, featuring an assortment of odd angles, folds, creases, and slashes that were seemingly done without a true overall game plan.

Interior Space

Although the back seat will feel a bit cramped, the Clarity cabin can transport five people. There’s ample room up front and the cargo area is suitable as well with 14.8 cubic feet in the trunk. The 8-inch touchscreen is a little less sophisticated than expected and some of the basic functions can be difficult to use. The Clarity does support Apple CarPlay and Android.

Charging

The Clarity PHEV has a 48-mile range when in EV mode, meaning it will get many people to work and back each day on electricity alone. Charging takes about 2½ hours from a 240 Volt (Level 2) EV charging station and 12 hours from a standard 120 Volt wall plug (Level 1 EVSE). The overall range for the PHEV is approximately 340 miles.

Vehicle Power and Speed

We found the Clarity PHEV providing better performance than expected. It has a 17-kilowatt lithium-ion battery and employs a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that’s paired with an electric motor hybrid. Combined they generate 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. The PHEV goes roughly 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds when fully charged. It gets the equivalent of 110 mpge in EV mode and 40-44 mpg overall.

Performance

The PHEV comes with three drive modes – Econ, Normal and Sport. What is tricky to accomplish is keeping the Clarity in true all-electric mode and expect major acceleration, as a big push of the accelerator immediately causes the Clarity to go into hybrid mode.

The Clarity has paddles on the steering wheel that are not used for the traditional shift to manual transmission. These paddles are all about the regenerative braking and are easy to master. Just pull on the left paddle for more braking and the right one for less.

Conclusion

We’re impressed by Clarity PHEV for its overall package and suspect Honda may have another solid car to add to its electric drive lineup.

– J.W.

User Video Review: Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

Recommended Charging Stations = HCS-40

ClipperCreek HCS-40 Hardwired 7.7kW EV charging station

Recommended Power Level of Charging Station = 32A

Vehicle Acceptance Rate: 6.6kW

Interested in more BEV or PHEV options?

Visit our Electric Vehicles Directory

Interested in EV financial incentives?

Visit our EV Incentives by State Page

Additional Information

Manufacturer Details by Honda Automobiles

Is The Honda Clarity PHEV The Best Plug-In Hybrid To Buy: Video by Inside EVs

Ideal Charging Station Recommendations:

Tailwind

I bought this EVSE for my 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. My car’s built in charger is 6.6 kWh so I needed at least a 30 amp EVSE. This 32 amp device is just what I needed. It took my charge time with the supplied 120 volt EVSE from 12 hours to 2.5 hours with the HCS-40P.

My car has a timer and a web app, so I didn’t need those features in an EVSE. I give this item highest marks because it is a basic-feature-device with a robust power supply for charging my car.

Owns HCS-40P

Midisync

Great charger! Charges my Honda Clarity in about 3 hours. Great improvement over the stock charger supplied by Honda.

Owns AmazingE EVSE

Amazon Customer

Exceeds Honda Specs! Took the installer no time to install. Very easy to use. Fully recharges my Honda Clarity in 2 hours 10 minutes! The quality is excellent. Couldn’t ask for more!

Owns HCS-40

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