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 & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert 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.