Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Editors' Review

Back in 2016, Honda debuted the new Clarity, reviving the nameplate as a green car platform that would host a trio of electrified powertrains. The hydrogen-powered Clarity Fuel Cell hit the road first, early in the year, followed closely by the battery-driven Clarity Electric, but the humble Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid didn't hit the road until a year later, to much less fanfare than its siblings.

The years haven't been kind to the older Clarity siblings. The Fuel Cell model -- still my personal favorite of the three -- is still very limited in geographic availability thanks to the United States' slow-growing hydrogen infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Clarity Electric entered the EV market with less range than nearly every major player and today, with a paltry 89 miles per charge. That makes it a pretty terrible choice in a field dominated by 200-mile-range models.

The 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid that arrived in the Roadshow garage recently has lived in the shadow of its siblings but emerges as the most practical and the most commonly available model of the three. And in the wake of the Chevrolet Volt's demise, the Clarity has found itself in a very interesting position in the plug-in hybrid landscape that I think makes it worth a second look. 

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The Good ~ 47 miles of electric range per charge ~ Nearly as spacious as an SUV, but much more efficient

The Bad ~ LaneWatch is no replacement for blind-spot monitoring ~ It's a weird-looking car

The Bottom Line All substance and no style, the 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is a practical and flexible dip into the world of plug-ins for those not quite ready for a full EV.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8
  • Features 7
  • Design 6.5
  • Media 7

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