According to Consumer Reports:
A Tale of Two Personalities
The plug-in hybrid Honda Clarity runs on electricity and gas, which results in two distinct driving experiences.
THE HONDA CLARITY works well in electric-only mode, but its loud gas engine and quirky gear selector and dashboard controls should give shoppers pause.
In electric-power mode, the car runs quietly and smoothly, providing quick acceleration, even when climbing hills. But if the driver punches the accelerator or when the vehicle switches over to gas-only because the battery is depleted, the four-cylinder engine awakens with a ruckus that’s strikingly loud.
In our testing, the car went 48 miles on electric power, almost matching the category leading Chevrolet Volt. The Clarity got 39 mpg overall on gas in CR tests. It has a mediocre combined range of a little more than 300 miles. (The car takes 2.5 hours on 240 volts and 12 hours on 120 volts to recharge.)
This four-door sedan has a comfortable ride, but handling is awkward because the body leans in corners and steering response is sluggish. It has more interior space than its rivals, but the front seat isn’t very supportive because of a short cushion and limited adjustability.
Controls are confusing, including the fussy push-button gear selector. The Clarity comes standard with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. It uses a distracting video feed along the passenger side instead of a more effective blind-spot warning system that covers both sides.
HYBRID / PLUG IN HYBRID CARS: Honda Clarity
OVERALL SCORE 72
ROAD TEST SCORE 72
Acts as an EV for short distances, ride comfort, interior room
Clumsy handling, front-seat comfort, confusing controls, noisy engine
212-hp, 1.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine; continuously variable transmission; front-wheel drive
48-mile electric range
39 mpg on regular fuel
PRICE AS TESTED $34,290