2018 Honda Clarity Review
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
Which Clarity does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating8.4 / 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.
|Overall||8.4 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
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.