2018 Honda Clarity Electric
- Comfortable, well-appointed cabin seats five people
- Solid driving range in all versions except Clarity Electric
- Pleasant ride quality in electric and plug-in hybrid versions
- Polarizing styling
- Limited availability of all but Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
- Touchscreen infotainment system can be cumbersome to use
Which Clarity does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating3.5 / 5
The 2018 Honda Clarity range now includes plug-in hybrid and electric versions that join the Clarity Fuel Cell. All versions of the Clarity share the same basic design — they are front-wheel-drive, four-door sedans that are similar to an Accord in size. But the three variants vary widely in their power sources and driving range.
The Clarity Fuel Cell debuted last year. It's an electric car that, instead of being recharged by a plug, generates electricity from compressed hydrogen stored on board. By combining the hydrogen with oxygen from the air, the Fuel Cell emits water and electricity as byproducts.
This setup allows the Clarity Fuel Cell to be refueled in three to five minutes for travel up to 366 miles. These figures far outshine the recharging time and range of any battery electric vehicle in production today. Though the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is an Edmunds CES Tech Driven Award winner for its innovation, it relies on a fledgling hydrogen refueling infrastructure and is sold only in California.
A more versatile and more widely available model is the Clarity Electric, which went on sale late in the 2017 model year. It's a battery electric vehicle just like other EVs such as the Nissan Leaf. But its driving range of just 89 miles is disappointing, and we recommend you look elsewhere first if you're shopping for an electric vehicle.
That leaves us with the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, the newly introduced and final piece of the Clarity triad. Comparable to vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt or the Toyota Prius Prime, the PHEV is a plug-in hybrid that can recharge at home and drive an EPA-estimated 48 miles on pure electric power before it switches over to regular hybrid gasoline power.
Of the three Clarity versions, the Plug-In Hybrid is the most convincing and has the broadest appeal to consumers. It's comfortable, has a solid amount of electric range, and should serve you well as a frugal and well-equipped hybrid.
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Honda Clarity is offered in three distinct versions that differ in how they provide propulsion — Electric, Fuel Cell and Plug-In Hybrid. Honda offers the Electric and Fuel Cell in just one trim level, but the Plug-In Hybrid comes in two trims.
The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid starts you off in either base or Touring trim. Both come with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired to an electric motor hybrid system (total system: 212 hp, 232 lb-ft), along with a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery. The electric-only range is estimated at 47 miles, and fuel economy for regular hybrid operation is 42 mpg.
The base trim features include keyless entry and start, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports, an eight-speaker sound system, and the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance features. The Touring trim adds power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a navigation system, and remote climate-control preconditioning.
The Clarity Fuel Cell is a single-trim model generously equipped with pretty much all of the above features, though it has a premium 12-speaker sound system. All Clarity Fuel Cell models are powered by an electric motor (174 hp, 221 lb-ft) that drives the front wheels. The tanks hold enough compressed hydrogen for an EPA-estimated 366 miles of emission-free motoring.
If you prefer a simpler Clarity, the Clarity Electric is for you. With an electric motor (161 hp, 221 lb-ft) driving the front wheels and a relatively small (25.5-kWh) lithium-ion battery under the back seat, the Clarity Electric is the lightest Clarity of them all. But its EPA-estimated range of 89 miles puts it near the bottom of the EV pack. Otherwise, it's a well-equipped and fine-driving car. Like the Fuel Cell, it's available in a single trim level.
Noise & vibration4.5
Ease of use3
Getting in/getting out4
Child safety seat accommodation3
Audio & navigation2
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite Clarity safety features:
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Helps maintain a constant vehicle speed and a set following interval behind a vehicle ahead of you and can bring you to a complete stop.
- Lane Keeping Assist/Departure Warning
- Automatically applies steering to help keep your vehicle in the lane and will alert you if you cross over a lane line without signaling.
- Honda LaneWatch
- Displays live video of the passenger-adjacent lane using a small camera on the side mirror whenever the right turn signal is used.
The 2018 Honda Clarity consists of three versions that offer distinctly different modes of propulsion. The first is the Clarity Fuel Cell, a rare kind of vehicle that is fueled by hydrogen, which is subsequently manipulated to produce electricity. There's also the Clarity Electric, a battery electric vehicle, and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, a version that uses gasoline and electricity.
Because of the limited hydrogen refueling infrastructure, the Clarity Fuel Cell is available only to qualified California residents on a three-year lease. This limited distribution also means the Clarity Fuel Cell comes in a single trim, fully loaded with features. Interestingly, Honda provides $15,000 worth of hydrogen fuel over the three-year lease, and the Clarity qualifies for a $5,000 rebate under California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Likewise, the Clarity Electric is lease-only, making the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid the only version you have the option of purchasing.
As fully loaded models, some of the premium features in the Clarity Fuel Cell and Electric include leather seats, automatic wipers, keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control with a Plasmacluster ion air quality management, power-adjustable and heated front seats, a 12-speaker premium audio system, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a navigation system with hydrogen refueling station and traffic info, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability, and remote app control over some vehicle functions through the HondaLink telematics system. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is the only Clarity that offers more than one trim level, the base version of which forgoes the leather and navigation of the Touring trim.
Every Clarity also comes with virtually every active safety feature Honda offers as well, including a multiangle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, adaptive cruise control with low-speed following, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, a head-up display and Honda LaneWatch.
The Clarity Fuel Cell competes with one car only, the Toyota Mirai, which costs slightly less to lease but falls short of the Clarity's space and driving range. Meanwhile, the Clarity Electric's range puts it at the bottom of the EV pack. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is the most practical and relevant version for most buyers.
If you'd like to compare these cutting-edge alternative fuel vehicles for yourself, spec for spec, before making a decision, you can do so right here at Edmunds.
2018 Honda Clarity Electric Overview
The 2018 Honda Clarity Electric is offered in the following styles: , and Electric 4dr Sedan (electric DD).
What do people think of the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2018 Clarity Electric 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2018 Clarity Electric.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 Clarity Electric featuring deep dives into trim levels including Electric, etc. with careful analysis around pricing, features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving and performance. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.Read our full review of the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric here.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
What's a good price for a New 2018 Honda Clarity Electric?
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on new cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which 2018 Honda Clarity Electrics are available in my area?
2018 Honda Clarity Electric Listings and Inventory
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Why trust Edmunds?
Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric and all available trim types: Electric. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2018 Honda Clarity Electric include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.
Should I lease or buy a 2018 Honda Clarity?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.