2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for May 2017
by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
The dearth of hydrogen fueling stations outside of the Southern California area limits the number of long trips we'll take in our 2017 Honda Clarity. As a result, the Clarity is settling into life as city dweller with the occasional longer commute thrown in the mix. This is also still just our third month owning the car, so admittedly we are getting our feet wet a bit before diving into range tests.
So far the Honda's proven itself a capable runabout. There is plenty of power for the situations we've encountered thus far. The interior fits us, too. Not just from a comfort perspective but also in the sense that it has cupholders and compartments where we want them, easy-to-use controls and an interior spaciousness we didn't expect from a car of its size. We are still getting to know the Clarity, but already it has a lot going for it.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In the month of May we accumulated just 688 miles on the Honda. Of that it didn't see much more than 100 miles on the highway; still it was enough to bump our to-date fuel economy totals. Its average is up 1.1 mpkg, though still well below the EPA-estimated 67 mpkg. Our most efficient fill is up, at 66 mpkg, as is the best range, now at 270 miles. It's important to remember we have fewer than 3,000 miles on the car, so expect a lot of change as the test continues.
Average lifetime mpkg: 59.7
EPA mpkg rating: 67 combined (68 city/66 highway)
Best fill mpkg: 66
Best range: 269.9 miles
Current odometer: 2,664 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"So the Clarity isn't all that fast, no surprise there. It is, however, fast enough, at least in my mind. I've had extensive time behind the wheel, and there are very few situations where the Clarity feels underpowered. Passing on the highway is the only situation where it runs out of shove, but even then it's not an issue. There's also the mental comfort of knowing that no matter how much I mash the gas pedal, the Clarity is not going to run out of power anytime soon. It's a much different mind-set compared to driving a battery-powered EV." — Ed Hellwig, senior editor
"After getting some solid time behind the wheel, I definitely like the Clarity better than our 2016 Toyota Mirai. Much of it comes down to the interior. It not only feels more spacious inside, but it also has all the convenience features you would want in a commuter car. There are big, well-placed cupholders, a good-size center console and even storage underneath the console that's easily accessible. I also like the simplicity of the design. The climate controls are easy to use, and the menus on the touchscreen make sense at a glance. It all makes for a pleasant driving experience that I like more than expected." — Ed Hellwig
"This is the first vehicle I've driven that activates the rearview camera when you initiate the right-turn signal. It comes in handy here in Santa Monica with so many bicyclists, pedestrians and other potential hazards. Such a simple idea that should be standard across all vehicles." — David Landsness, director of video
"It's a small thing, but I love the light touch required to close the trunklid. My daily driver requires all the muscle my scrawny arms can manage." — Bryn MacKinnon, manager of content operations