2017 Honda Clarity Long-Term Road Test - Comfort

2017 Honda Clarity Long-Term Road Test

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for November 2017

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?
It takes time to adopt any new technology and learn the ins and outs of using it. And that was the idea for the 2017 Honda Clarity long-term car. Having our staff get more experience with the operation and fueling process of a hydrogen vehicle is important. All the whirring, pumping noises from the fuel cell stack and foibles at the gas station ensure our editors get some experience with this rare power system, and we in turn can let readers know when it's ready for prime time.

Most months, we get a few tank-fulls of data to let you know what the fuel economy is like. But for November, our car only moved 323 miles and experienced two fills.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for August 2017

by Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?
Is it a problem that our 2017 Honda Clarity spends nearly all of its time on commuter duty? Not really. That's what it was designed for, so we don't feel as if we're doing anything out of the ordinary by using it mostly for runs to and from the office. In fact, the Clarity excels at handling crowded city streets and tight parking spots, so most of our editors like taking it home at the end of the day.

As our director of vehicle testing, Dan Edmunds, mentioned last month, the limited number of hydrogen filling stations in California reduces the amount of exploring you can do in the Clarity. Its range on a full tank is significant, but it doesn't help if you can't top it off along the way. We still managed to put nearly 1,000 miles on our Clarity in August, though, so it's getting its fair share of miles.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Monthly Update for April 2017

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

Where Did We Drive It?
With limited hydrogen fueling stations beyond the immediate Southern California area, we've been hesitant to push the road-tripping capability of the 2017 Honda Clarity. Therefore, most of the driving during the month of April has been around town, with a few shorter cross-town trips mixed in. This also gave many staffers an opportunity to take a turn at the "fueling" station to literally gas up.

With all the shorter trips, we haven't had a chance to really test out the effectiveness of the rear cargo volume or true long-distance seat comfort. And many of the Clarity's parts are from Honda's parts bin, so some of the pros and cons will sound vaguely like those from our recently departed 2016 Honda Civic. See how many you can match up.

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2017 Honda Clarity: Introduction

by Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor

2017 Honda Clarity

We've added a 2017 Honda Clarity to our long-term test fleet. It's one of only a handful of hydrogen fuel cell cars on the market today. We spent six months last year with a Toyota Mirai fuel cell sedan and were pleasantly surprised by how normal it was in day-to-day driving.

Then again, maybe we shouldn't have been that surprised. Although we call them fuel cell cars, they're really nothing more than electric cars that get their power in a different manner. Rather than storing electricity in batteries, cars such as the Clarity have a fuel cell on board that converts hydrogen into electricity.

Honda claims the Clarity is better than Toyota's Mirai in every measurable way. It's the kind of thing you expect to hear given the rivalry between the two companies, but Honda and Toyota are also two companies that have bet big on the whole idea of hydrogen fuel cells. Other competitors have decided that battery-powered electric cars are the way to go. Tesla boss Elon Musk has even gone as far as calling hydrogen cars "fool cells."

It's an issue that will be debated for many years to come. At the moment, all we can do is test what's available now. We already own a Tesla Model X and a Chevrolet Bolt, so the Clarity seemed like a logical choice.

Note that we don't actually own this vehicle. Honda only lets you lease a Clarity, and only a handful of dealerships in California stock it. Not surprisingly, there weren't many available when we started our search. After getting on a few waiting lists, the Norm Reeves Honda Superstore in Irvine was the first dealer to find one for us. There's not much negotiating to do since it's a set lease price of $369 per month. We signed the paperwork, and a dealer rep delivered the Clarity to our office and gave us a tour of its features.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests