It’s 2018. The future is here. Ever since the release of Tesla’s Model S, car manufacturers have been following suit by offering a full range of electric and hybrid vehicles, all with their own personal flair and somewhat-unique style, with more intent on gas mileage than aesthetics, which I cede is not the most important factor in car production.
Then there’s the Honda Clarity. It’s their newest contender in the race towards the future of the automobile industry. And its based on the Accord platform, one of their best-performing cars for nearly 40 years, so you know it’s got to be good.
The Clarity comes in three different engine setups: a plug-in hybrid, a full electric, as well as a hydrogen fuel cell, with the electric and fuel cell only available for lease in select markets. The third to release in the series, it comes standard with a 1.5L 4cyl. engine, and a 17kw/h battery. Overall, it puts out about 212hp, with gas mileage numbers in the mid 40’s and 47-mile maximum all-electric range.
In the interior, the Clarity PHEV is outfitted with a sophisticated leather design inspired by the 2018 Accord, along with the push-button transmission, and an array of other standard features from Honda’s wheelhouse, such as the Sensing suite, Smart Entry, HomeLink, and an 8in hi-res infotainment touch-screen with Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto integration.
Now that all the boring stuff is out of the way, let’s talk about the important thing: how does it drive?
Let me preface this by saying personally, I’ve never been a fan of hybrid engines, mainly because my love for cars was developed by hearing an engine roar, that was part of the thrill for me. So naturally, I’ve always been turned off by hybrids, because they don’t make a lot of engine noise and are often aesthetically unpleasing.
As far as looks the Clarity has various futuristic design elements, along with a touch of nostalgia with the partial wheel-arch cover, reminiscent of the 1990s Insight. Looking out the rear window reminded me of driving the Crosstour, which was hit and miss for some, but overall the concept fit with the Clarity. Maybe not quite as good-looking as the Accord Hybrid or the CR-Z, but perfect for somebody looking for a quality PHEV that doesn’t want to drive something that resembles a flat-bottomed egg.
But something was different with the Clarity that separates it from other hybrids. You forget about what noise the engine is making when the 212hp is at your fingertips in an instant. In Sport mode, the shifts were smooth, yet snappy and responsive simultaneously. After a certain amount of pedal input (sorry boss), the 1.5L reared its small head with a glorious sound (compared to the whine of the hybrid battery, at least), and treated me with a decent amount of pick-up. It was the first time a hybrid put a smile on my face since driving the CR-Z a few years ago.
For more information about the Clarity, you can check out our or our website at hzdzsn.info. You can also swing by our showroom for a test drive!
By Christian Olsson, Honda Genius
Photo Credit: Drew Meyer and Christian Olsson