2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Photos
CALISTOGA, Calif. — By creating an entire platform dedicated to clean cars, the Clarity trio is a step toward Honda's target of electrified vehicles making up two-thirds of its global sales by 2030. Of those three Clarity cars — the Electric, Fuel Cell, and Plug-In Hybrid — the PHEV is going to be the volume model, shipping to all 50 states. With that in mind, we headed out to California's wine country to test Honda's successor to the Accord Plug-In Hybrid on the hilly roads surrounding Napa Valley. The Clarity PHEV comes in two trim levels. The base version starts at $34,290, including destination charges. It includes 18-inch wheels with Michelin Energy Saver tires, LED lighting, multi-angle rear-view camera, Honda Sensing suite of safety technology, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, heated front seats, and an eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Not too shabby. Touring trim is several grand more at $37,490. This adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-trimmed upholstery and ultrasuede trim pieces, eight-way power driver's seat and four-way power passenger seat, and satellite navigation system with voice recognition. Honda expects about a 50/50 sales mix between the two trim levels. The Clarity PHEV's powertrain combines a 1.5-liter engine with two electric motors (a high-output, 181-horsepower drive motor and a second motor that acts as a generator and a starter). The gasoline engine runs on the Atkinson cycle and achieves an impressive thermal efficiency of 40 percent, which is greater than any other engine we can think of (and Honda claims it's a world-beater for a production vehicle). Its lithium ion battery pack has a capacity of 17 kWh. The result is 212 total system horsepower, 232 pound-feet of torque, 47 miles of electric driving range, and a total range of 340 miles. EPA rates it at 110 MPGe in EV mode, and 44 city/40 highway/42 combined overall. This is the first time your author had actually seen any of the Clarity series in person, and it comes off as much more approachable than it does in photos. Indeed, there are even subtle, catching details that not only please the eye, but serve a useful function. The ducts that move air past the wheels are especially interesting. They beg the eye to trace a path around the vehicle, and the inlets in the rear doors are particularly fanciful. Our other favorite detail dealt not with aerodynamics, but vision. Peering into the massive trunk of the Clarity PHEV, we noticed a small strip of glass that allows one to see into the cabin. From the driver's seat, this actually allows your line of sight from the rear-view mirror to pass through the trunk and to the road behind the car. It provides a little extra confidence, while allowing the Clarity to achieve that very swoopy, aerodynamic shape in the rear of the vehicle. Interesting-looking sheet metal and an advanced powertrain are compelling reasons enough to take note (and maybe a test drive) of the Clarity, but the …
Full Review
CALISTOGA, Calif. — By creating an entire platform dedicated to clean cars, the Clarity trio is a step toward Honda's target of electrified vehicles making up two-thirds of its global sales by 2030. Of those three Clarity cars — the Electric, Fuel Cell, and Plug-In Hybrid — the PHEV is going to be the volume model, shipping to all 50 states. With that in mind, we headed out to California's wine country to test Honda's successor to the Accord Plug-In Hybrid on the hilly roads surrounding Napa Valley. The Clarity PHEV comes in two trim levels. The base version starts at $34,290, including destination charges. It includes 18-inch wheels with Michelin Energy Saver tires, LED lighting, multi-angle rear-view camera, Honda Sensing suite of safety technology, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, heated front seats, and an eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Not too shabby. Touring trim is several grand more at $37,490. This adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-trimmed upholstery and ultrasuede trim pieces, eight-way power driver's seat and four-way power passenger seat, and satellite navigation system with voice recognition. Honda expects about a 50/50 sales mix between the two trim levels. The Clarity PHEV's powertrain combines a 1.5-liter engine with two electric motors (a high-output, 181-horsepower drive motor and a second motor that acts as a generator and a starter). The gasoline engine runs on the Atkinson cycle and achieves an impressive thermal efficiency of 40 percent, which is greater than any other engine we can think of (and Honda claims it's a world-beater for a production vehicle). Its lithium ion battery pack has a capacity of 17 kWh. The result is 212 total system horsepower, 232 pound-feet of torque, 47 miles of electric driving range, and a total range of 340 miles. EPA rates it at 110 MPGe in EV mode, and 44 city/40 highway/42 combined overall. This is the first time your author had actually seen any of the Clarity series in person, and it comes off as much more approachable than it does in photos. Indeed, there are even subtle, catching details that not only please the eye, but serve a useful function. The ducts that move air past the wheels are especially interesting. They beg the eye to trace a path around the vehicle, and the inlets in the rear doors are particularly fanciful. Our other favorite detail dealt not with aerodynamics, but vision. Peering into the massive trunk of the Clarity PHEV, we noticed a small strip of glass that allows one to see into the cabin. From the driver's seat, this actually allows your line of sight from the rear-view mirror to pass through the trunk and to the road behind the car. It provides a little extra confidence, while allowing the Clarity to achieve that very swoopy, aerodynamic shape in the rear of the vehicle. Interesting-looking sheet metal and an advanced powertrain are compelling reasons enough to take note (and maybe a test drive) of the Clarity, but the …
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$33,400 - $36,600 MSRP / Window Sticker Price
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Engine I-4
MPG City / Hwy
Seating 5 Passengers
Transmission 2-spd CVT w/OD
Power 103 @ 5500 rpm
Drivetrain front-wheel
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