Honda’s commitment to fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles continues with the 2018 Clarity, available in three flavors: battery electric, fuel-cell or plug-in hybrid. The latter is the only vehicle likely to have broad appeal — or availability — and that’s what we’re testing here.
Plug-in hybrids are great in theory: Batteries power the car for a portion of its travels and when the batteries are drained, a gasoline engine takes over. In practice, many plug-in hybrids have incredibly short all-electric ranges. With the Clarity, that’s not the case, as it offers an impressive 48 miles of all-electric range, according to EPA estimates. That’s in line with the Chevrolet Volt’s 53 miles of range, and double or more the electric range of other plug-in hybrids.
Driving dynamics are mostly good, although not what could be called those of a sports car. With an engine up front and a battery pack in the rear, there’s solid weight balance and a low center of gravity. Steering is also impressive for the nature of the vehicle. Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder and the rest of our review staff did have complaints about the brakes, however.
There are other quirks and issues, as well. User-friendliness and information presentation are important in plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles, especially when it comes to charging, and the Clarity falls a bit short when it comes to in-car presentation. The available mobile app has impressive amounts of information, but why not make it available in the car, too?
For more on the Clarity and its pros and cons, watch Wiesenfelder’s full review below.
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