2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Essential Expert Car Review

New Honda Clarity is the plug-in for conventional sedan fans

Honda Clarity PHEV

What you need to know

The all-new 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is a sophisticated, spacious and well-equipped five-passenger sedan that will be complemented by its lower-volume sisters the Clarity Fuel Cell and Clarity Electric as Honda leaves no stone unturned in the electrified car sweepstakes. Many will find the Clarity Plug-in the most practical of the triplets, offering a 47-mile all-electric EPA range (highest of any plug-in hybrid sedan) and a 340-mile combined gasoline-electric range. Plus, after the gas tank runs low, you can fill it in a couple of minutes to add another 300 miles of range. Its key advantage over other current plug-in sedans is its interior space, overall size and high level of comfort.

Driving Today Expert Rating

Poor | Good | Better | BEST

Driving it

If you like driving a Honda Accord you’ll like driving the Honda Clarity Plug-in. As you accelerate its power application is silky smooth, approaching the linear smoothness of a pure electric. Transitions from electric drive to hybrid or gasoline power are virtually undetectable. The unobtrusive regenerative braking system obtains braking power from the conventional hydraulic brakes and the electric motor. Clarity’s large glass area makes outward visibility much better than average, and a rear-vision camera system enables brain-free backing up.

Key competitors

Toyota Prius Plug-in, Chevrolet Volt

Price range

Base: $34,290 Fully Equipped: $37,490 Typically Equipped: $35,000

Best feature

47 miles of electric range enabling many trips to be “all electric”


Options — you can buy the base model or the more luxurious Touring model but virtually no options are available

Typical buyer (estimated)

Male/Female – 60/40 percent   Married/Single – 60/40 percent
Median age – 43   Median Household Income – $120,000


NHTSA Crash Test Ratings: Overall not rated; Frontal not rated; Rollover not rated
Safety equipment offered: Electronic Stability Control, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Crash Imminent Braking, Dynamic Brake Support
IIHS: Not rated

Fuel Economy

110 MPGe all-electric combined (city-highway) EPA fuel economy 44/40/42 MPG (city/highway/combined) EPA fuel economy

Predicted Reliability

Poor | Good | BETTER | Best

Predicted Cost-to-Own (versus others in segment)

Poor | Good | BETTER | Best


About Tom Ripley 54 Articles
Born in Boston, Tom Ripley has been writing about the automotive industry and the human condition for more than a decade. He's a frequent traveller but nominally resides in Villeperce, France.