2018 Honda Clarity Review

2018 Honda Clarity
2018 Honda Clarity

Pros & Cons

  • 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
  • Touchscreen infotainment system can be cumbersome to use
  • Limited availability of all but Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
  • Polarizing styling
Honda Clarity years
2018
Honda Clarity for Sale

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Which Clarity does Edmunds recommend?

Among the three versions, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid easily makes the strongest case for itself. And among the two trim levels, we say stick with the base one and forgo the Touring trim's leather seats and navigation. Options are limited to accessory items, except for the rear parking sensors that we'd suggest adding.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

8.4 / 10

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.

What's it like to live with?

Want to know what it is like to own a Honda Clarity Fuel Cell EV? Check out our impressions from our long-term test of a 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell. How close is it to an EV or gas car? How much did they like the interior? Was the trunk sufficient for everyday use? How easy is it to actually fuel up? Learn this and more from our time with the Clarity. While we tested a 2017 model, the vehicle was unchanged for 2018 and our coverage remains applicable.

2018 Honda Clarity models

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.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell (electric fuel cell | 1-speed direct drive | FWD).

Driving

8.5
The Clarity isn't an exciting car to drive, but it is accessible and easy to deal with in everyday driving. Acceleration and handling are adequate but nothing more.

Acceleration

8.5
Acceleration is quick enough for around-town driving, but that's about it. At higher speeds, there's not a whole lot more on tap. In our testing, the Clarity took 8.4 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. We noticed appreciably slower times in additional back-to-back acceleration runs.

Braking

9.0
The brakes operate normally during casual driving but begin to feel unnaturally springy and disconnected under moderate to heavy braking. There isn't much regenerative braking effect when lifting off the accelerator. It needed 129 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is a middling result.

Steering

9.0
Its steering is direct and has a tangible buildup of effort around center but is pretty numb overall. Quick inputs are met with a fairly muted reaction. Still, the Clarity is clearly better than its rival, the Toyota Mirai, when it comes to steering feel.

Handling

9.0
The Clarity feels heavy but not ponderous. There's reasonable composure when cornering at modest speeds. Handling is deliberate rather than spry. Its ultimate grip is respectable, but this isn't a car that will have you seeking canyon roads.

Drivability

8.5
As it functions as an electric vehicle, this car is docile and very easy to live with. It accelerates smoothly from a stop without delay, and there aren't any gear changes to interrupt the power flow. Its cruise control, however, struggles to keep your set speed when going downhill.

Comfort

8.0
Its electric propulsion is quiet. Operation of the fuel cell powertrain is more audible than a battery EV, but it's endearing rather than annoying. Its seats are soft, and the ride quality is acceptable.

Seat comfort

9.0
The front seats have very soft padding, and the perforated center sections but don't offer much in terms of lateral support. The back seat is reasonably comfortable, though the bottom cushion is somewhat short, so long-legged passengers may find them uncomfortable.

Ride comfort

8.0
The Clarity has a soft ride quality, bordering on floaty. It's comfortable most of the time, but the suspension struggles to control the mass of the car when driving on bumpy roads. Its ride motions are exaggerated and require more of the available suspension travel.

Noise & vibration

6.5
Wind noise is barely heard, making for civilized freeway travel. A bevy of unusual powertrain whirs come and go but are muted, making them more of a curiosity. Road noise is the most prominent thing you hear, with a variety of sounds making their way to the cabin.

Climate control

The climate control interface consists of buttons and knobs with redundant controls through a touchscreen interface. The auto function works well, and the heated front seats have three levels. The backseat vents are located on back of the center console.

Interior

8.5
This is a car that can transport four people comfortably, and five in a pinch. Its sizable cabin provides ample room for occupants and is easy to access. Visibility is excellent for the most part, though the standard rearview will help when reversing.

Ease of use

7.5
Most of the control buttons are easy to reach and are clearly labeled. The push-button gear selector isn't as quick to use as a traditional one, though its location in the Clarity is better than in other Honda vehicle applications. The touchscreen is not the quickest-responding either.

Getting in/getting out

8.0
There's little trouble stepping into the Clarity, and the roof does not appreciably impede front or rear entry. The back seat is even easier to access. All four entry points have a grab handle.

Driving position

For those who like to feel ensconced in the driver's seat, the seating position will feel a bit high, even at the lowest setting. The steering wheel is sized right and feels good in your hands, though some drivers might wish the column telescoped out more.

Roominess

9.0
There's ample headroom up front. In the back, only adults taller than 6 feet will find their heads brushing up against the headliner. There's a lot of shoulder room and decent legroom in back.

Visibility

8.5
Forward visibility is great thanks to a low beltline and cowl. Sizable corner windows and slim roof pillars also help out, as does the LaneWatch right-side camera system. Rearward visibility suffers a bit due to a high tail, but a unique second back window that peers through the trunk helps.

Quality

9.5
The cabin design of simulated open-pore wood and suede accents suggests inspiration by high-end home theater systems. The muted tones look a little dour, though. But overall the interior quality is one step ahead of the Mirai's.

Utility

8.0
Its cargo area is superior to the Mirai's but falls short of a conventional car's in size and versatility. The Clarity also follows the typical Honda approach to cabin space, providing a variety of storage locations for small items. Car seat LATCH points aren't difficult to work with.

Small-item storage

9.0
With a good-size console bin, two big cupholders, door pockets, a glovebox plus storage area under floating console, there's room for nearly any item you'd typically use on a day-to-day basis. In back, there are small door pockets, smartphone pouches, and a flip-down armrest with two cupholders.

Cargo space

8.0
Despite appearances, the Clarity has a trunk, not a hatch. The cargo area has a nice wide opening but is not very deep at all. Inside is a shelf with a soft floor. The rear seats do not fold because there's a big hydrogen tank in the way.

Child safety seat accommodation

7.0
LATCH points on outboard rear seats have obvious and easily accessed top anchors. The lower ones are tucked between the seat cushions. These are soft and easily manipulated to reach the lower anchors.

Technology

7.0
Smartphone integration and voice controls work well and are a convenient way to not have to use the touchscreen interface, which is a letdown. It's straight out of the Honda parts bin. Owners of this much pricier car deserve better than the system that's in Honda's entry-level sedan.

Audio & navigation

5.0
While the 8-inch touchscreen is sizable, its interface needs work. Basic functions are hard to use when moving. The graphics are a bit old-school, and the screen flow could be quicker. The menu structure is reasonably straightforward, but touch targets are small and the volume slider is irritating.

Smartphone integration

7.0
Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, a USB port that supports iPod, and an auxiliary jack are standard. Supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but transitioning between their controls and those of the Honda-controlled systems could be smoother. Bluetooth pairing is easy for audio and phone.

Driver aids

8.0
The Clarity is flush with driver aids, most of which prove useful in keeping you out of trouble. They include a multiangle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane keeping assist and Honda LaneWatch.

Voice control

8.0
The voice controls respond well to basic natural language and can control phone, nav and audio. For a more sophisticated system, you can press and hold the voice button to bypass this system and get to Siri or Google voice commands via your paired smartphone.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall8.4 / 10
Driving8.5
Comfort8.0
Interior8.5
Utility8.0
Technology7.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Honda Clarity.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

The Breakthrough Car - A PHEV with No Compromise
RVDuluth,02/23/2018
Plug-In Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have resisted buying a battery electric vehicle because of the widespread range anxiety. Despite the fact that most of my driving is the short 4-mile trip to and from work, the idea of going through the inconvenience of renting a car for longer trips and the potential of getting stranded after an unpredictable busy day of driving (especially in my cold Minnesota climes where the battery can drain rapidly in sub-zero temps), has prevented me from seriously considering an electric vehicle. I looked briefly at the pricey Chevy Volt but was not willing to step down from the midsize sedan convenience I had become accustomed to. The standard model hybrid versions such as the Accord, Sonata, and Camry all have reduced federal tax credit incentive. I found out about the Clarity by accident. It must be one of the poorest marketed new models in history. Everything I read about it met my requirements and I finally purchased one soon after I could get my hands on it. The experience has been fantastic. It is an Accord-sized sedan with a massive interior and comfortable seating for 5, has an extraordinarily quiet and luxurious interior, has most of the safety features I was looking for (except for the mysteriously missing blind spot detection), and qualified for the full $7,500 tax credit that brought the price down to the range of any mid-size sedan, hybrid or not. The 47-mile range allows for almost all driving to be done in EV mode (I have managed a range over 30 miles in the Northern Minnesota winter, but can see the range increasing as the weather warms). I averaged about 42 mpg on a 300+ mile roundtrip up north (yes - right to the Canadian border), and have only nitpicky complaints so far as I come up on my first 1000 miles in the vehicle. This car is a home run in every way and if it were not for the exceptionally lousy marketing, would be one of the top selling new sedans in America. Get it now before others discover it. UPDATE: I have owned the car for over two years now and still love it. It is by far the best car I have owned. The car is quiet and trouble-free. It still meets all the needs I specified in my original review. I get a range of 50 miles in the summer/fall and about 30 in the winter. Highway hybrid mileage in the winter is about 40. Small issues include the poor wipers and inconvenient Infotainment system.
A hidden gem that gives efficiency and solid drive
Gu M.,03/16/2018
Touring Plug-In Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Before buying the Clarity (Touring) in December 2017, I've been researching on EVs and PHEVs for some time, including Tesla Model S, BMW 330e, 530e, Audi A3 e-Tron, etc. What I care most include a decent interior size, an EV-only mileage that could fit into my daily commuting of 47 miles (round-trip), advanced safety assistance features, and good reliability. I test drove Tesla Model S and the experience was good. However, my colleagues driving Teslas complained that the reliability is not good and they had to go to service several times in a month. That's not acceptable to me, so although the local Tesla dealer offered a good price, I decided to move on. For BMW, the 330e is smaller than I expected, while the 530e seems to be overpriced - they both do not have the EV-only mileage I am hoping to get. For Audi A3 e-Tron, the dealer said I have to make a non-refundable deposit before he can get the car from another dealer >200 miles away, so this car is out. Eventually, I saw the Honda Clarity PHEV and watched many videos that people introduced this car, which hit dealership on December 1. I am very glad to see that almost all safety assistant features are available (compared to my 2016 Honda Pilot Touring), and the car has a 47 EV-only mileage that perfectly fit my daily trip. What's more, the size of the car is perfect - it's just as big as a Honda Accord 2018, and the interior style is also Acura-like. I eventually pulled the trigger before the year-end, so that I can get the $7500 federal tax credit in 2018 (we got the full credit this year during tax return). Now, within less than 3 months, I've driven more than 3000 miles, and achieved an average MPG of 105 mpg: I usually charge at work (with reduced cost than charging at home) while during weekends, I charge at home. So far I've been to the gas station for 5 times with a total of 27 gallons (fuel cost ~$60) - in terms of fuel efficiency, you see that the cost of driving 3000 miles is around $60 (gas)+$20 (electricity) = $80. Assuming 12,000 miles per year, that means the yearly total fuel/electricity is only $320! The fuel efficiency does not compromise the drivability of this great car - I used normal mode for driving, but if you need any additional horsepower, turn to the "red" sports mode and you'll ride in a quite different world (like from a turbo-charged engine). I highly recommend this car to anyone who is considering to purchase an EV or a PHEV for daily use. It's a hidden gem among mid-size sedans in the US!
We are able to run our car for free with solar
J Erwin,05/18/2018
Touring Plug-In Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
This is not the kind of car a person who does not like the most advanced smart phone would like. The instrumentation and entertainment/communication options are very advanced. The electric/battery storage and options for running the vehicle are well presented and with a little study - easy to use. The Clarity hybrid will go 47 miles on battery. Less, if the heater is on. For us with 27 PV solar panels and a utility company that allows us to store kilowatt hour credits for energy we produce and do not use. We will be able to use the 47 mile electric range to do about 90-95 percent of our driving. The solar system was paid for years ago and produces up to 60 KWH's of power per day - it only takes maybe 15-20 KWHs to fully charge the car. So if our daily driving is 47 miles or less, we drive for free - no gas needed. We got the Clarity yesterday. We had to drive about 135 miles to get to a dealer (Mike Maroone Honda in Colorado Springs) who was willing to substantially discount the suggested retail price. And, after going to Carmax to get an trade in sale estimate, Maroone came within $250 of the Carmax and by trading in our Prius Hybrid, we saved on sales tax on the new Clarity - the trade in comes off the purchase price in Colorado before the state and county tax is computed. The Clarity is very comfortable inside - the controls are easy to reach and see. The cruise control with anti collision works wonderfully and given that our drive home was in rush hour traffic, it got used several times. The car brakes easily and comfortably when the anti collision kicks in. The cruise control was easy to use and set and turn off. The lane assist is very quick when lines are visible and you begin to drift out of your lane. It quickly brings you back and vibrates the steering wheel to let you know it is active. We still need to learn how to link phones, use the "seat memory" feature and program our garage door openers to the opener buttons in the car. The Clarity is easy to charge with the included cable that plugs into a standard outlet. You do need to put a hook on the wall near the outlet to support the weight of the charging device. On 120V, it charges overnight to full 47 mile range. We have a lot to learn about the Clarity, how it drives in winter and on snow (we live in the CO mountains - aka - snow country) . But for now, we are very pleased we picked the Clarity Touring Sedan as our newest vehicle.
Very comfortable, sporty, fun to plug in
Connie,03/28/2018
Touring Plug-In Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
It changes your driving habits because you see the effects of acceleration and braking on energy consumption. I find the lane deviation and braking signals just tell you what you already know. The stereo sounds wonderful. The car is quieter and the ride smoother than my Prius. It is a heavy, low to the ground car, so very stable driving, but breaks a little slower than a lighter car. The power steering is great, the headlights nice and bright. I wanted navigation, hands free calling, which work very well. The Bluetooth connects with my iPad well, but sometimes won’t connect to other things. I also tried inserting a usb drive, which plays apple mp4 as well as mp3. It works wonderfully. It takes 10 hours to charge with 110, but is easy to plug in. And it is great to plug in your car. The mileage is very good. There are three driving settings: economy, normal and sporty. I use normal, which uses a tiny amount of gas to accelerate, but does get you 45 miles on a charge. It’s really a step up from the typical midsize sedan. My husband wants my car. Mpg is difficult to interpret because it is based only on gasoline used.

Features & Specs

MPG
44 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
212 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
44 city / 40 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
212 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPGe
126 city / 103 hwy
EPA kWh/100 mi
30.0
EPA Electricity Range
89 mi.
EPA Time to Charge Battery (at 240V)
4.0 hr.
See all Used 2018 Honda Clarity features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Clarity models:

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.

More about the 2018 Honda Clarity
Used 2018 Honda Clarity Overview

The Used 2018 Honda Clarity is offered in the following submodels: Clarity Sedan, Clarity Electric, Clarity Hybrid. Available styles include Plug-In Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Touring Plug-In Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and Electric 4dr Sedan (electric DD).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Honda Clarity?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Honda Clarity trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is priced between $18,900 and$23,400 with odometer readings between 8581 and41547 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Honda Clarity Touring Plug-In Hybrid is priced between $21,896 and$25,650 with odometer readings between 12602 and40330 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used 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 used 2018 Honda Clarities are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Honda Clarity for sale near. There are currently 23 used and CPO 2018 Clarities listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $18,900 and mileage as low as 8581 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Honda Clarity.

Can't find a used 2018 Honda Claritys you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Honda Clarity for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $13,221.

Find a used Honda for sale - 11 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $17,077.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda Clarity for sale - 3 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $12,050.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda for sale - 5 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,216.

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.

Check out Honda lease specials
Check out Honda Clarity lease specials