When evaluating electrified vehicles like the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, it's easy to become fixated on electric range. Oh, it's certainly one of the most important factors, but there are so many other things one must weigh when choosing one of these new-fangled eco-friendly cars. Things like comfort, quality, feature content, driving experience ... you know, the stuff we use to evaluate every other car out there. This point is even more important to the Honda Clarity, since it's a considerably different vehicle than the bulk of current plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Toyota Prius Prime, Hyundai Ioniq and Chevrolet Volt all have dimensions similar to those of compact sedans. Interior quality and overall refinement are comparable to that gas-only segment, too. The Clarity, however, is a midsize sedan. Its back seat is larger and more comfortable than all of the above, especially the Volt. It's considerably quieter and its ride quality is indicative of the bigger, heavier car that it is. If you own a Honda Accord or other midsize sedan, the Prius Prime will probably seem a bit cheap and unsubstantial. You'll feel right at home in the Clarity. The interior is also a clear step up from other plug-in hybrids. With the Touring trim's leather upholstery and leather-wrapped steering wheel, it is genuinely luxurious, lining up with anything Acura sells. The open-pore wood trim on the center console and doors is lovely, while the rest of the cabin plastics are hard to fault. Given this premium vibe, I was stunned to find that the Clarity Touring ($37,490) actually costs less than a loaded Volt Premier ($38,445). Sure the Chevy has parking sensors, heated steering wheel and rear seats, OnStar and wireless smartphone charging, but when you factor in size, refinement, interior quality and comparable efficiency (more on that later), it's hard to see how the Volt should cost more. Like other Hondas, the Clarity's front center console impresses with its versatility. The unique cupholders have little tabs that flip up and down to equally accommodate large and small beverages (in this case a Yeti water bottle and a Starbucks tall). Brilliant. The raised "floating" console design also tapers inward to make it easier to access the bin below – in the HR-V and other so-designed cars, it can be tricky to see and grab stuff in what becomes a forgotten cave. One note, though: that bin's bottom is hard plastic, allowing for your phone and whatever else to easily slide around. A rubbery pad would be helpful. In terms of larger storage, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has considerably more trunk space than its hydrogen-powered and all-electric siblings. (Amazing how much space you gain when you reduce battery count and take out a couple of hydrogen tanks.) The resulting 15.5 cubic-feet of space is indicative of a mid-size sedan, and although there's a gradual rise in the aft portion, the trunk itself is quite tall and there's a covered well to store the portable charger and whatever else …
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|MPG||City / Hwy|
|Transmission||2-spd CVT w/OD|
|Power||103 @ 5500 rpm|
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