2019 Honda Clarity PHEV: Fuel-efficient and flexible
When Honda debuted the Clarity trio of eco cars, I'll admit I didn't pay a whole Whole lot of attention to the plug in hybrid we're in now, because the battery electric and fuel cell vehicle garnered a lot more attention, they were just more interesting at the time.
But when you consider that they're much more limited in availability and in more limited markets, well, I reckon that the plug in hybrid is probably the most common clarity configuration.
So with that in mind, let's take another look.
Look and see what it's all about.
Now the Clarity's power train is complicated.
But it's also a little familiar.
It's what Honda calls an ECVT set up, which matches a 1.5 liter gasoline engine that makes a 103 horsepower and 99 pound feet of torque with an electric motor over here that makes 181 horsepower Power and 232 pound feet of torque.
And you can tell by those numbers that the E motor does most of the heavy lifting.
In fact, the gasoline engine isn't even connected to the wheels under most circumstances.
Instead, it's acting as a generator creating electricity that runs the E motor, which turns the front wheels via singularity.
Speed gearbox and I say that it's familiar because it's a very similar setup to the one in Honda's Accord Hybrid and in the smaller insight but was one very big difference.
And that's this charging port and the 17 kilowatt hour lithium ion battery pack that it connects to.
Together they allow the clarity to add up to 47 miles of electric range with just a two and a half hour charge at a level two station.
Which may not seem like a lot but changes the way that you operate this hybrid vehicle.
With around 50 miles of fuel free range at the beginning of every trip, the Clarity has the potential to dramatically improve it's fuel economy.
Climbing from around 42 miles per gallon combined for hybrid Creation to about 110 mpge for the full plugin hybrid system.
And depending on your charging habits and driving style, there's potential to do even better than that.
For example, I've been driving with a pretty light foot and charging at the beginning of every trip and my fuel economy is well over 100.
150 MPG for the week, that's pretty darn good.
Now, at 232 pound-feet of torque, this car is not a slouch off the line.
But it's also not a very high-performing car.
It's driving style is more aimed at those of you Be with a little more relaxed style, who want better fuel economy, not the ones who are gonna be slapping the sport button expecting dynamic handling.
There is a lot to like about the shape of this vehicle, particularly it's size.
It's a bit on the high size of the mid size sedan scale, which means that in a world with a Chevy Volt Gun on the chopping block, this car is going to primarily compete with plugin hybrid SUV.
Having a lot of space for people in cargo is a very good thing.
And when you factor in that with almost 50 miles of electric range at the beginning of every day, you're doing about double what those SUVs in this price range can do, making it a better eco car.
You gotta admit that it's a bit of a weird looking vehicle with those bearings over the back wheels and the weird body line.
Fortunately, the cabin is a much nicer looking place with really nice materials and I especially liked this floating center console that had some storage underneath.
The dashboard technology feels a little bit dated, but if you're like me you're just going to be plugging in a USB port and getting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay out of the box, so you'll never have to.
Could deal with the OEM software so it's not much of a nitpick.
Overall, I think that was much of the competition aiming at SUV for their plugin hybrid.
The clarity is in a very unique place, offering a very good balance of range, economy and packaging, and I'm really glad that we've taken another look at this vehicle.
Because my second opinion is much more positive.
The 2019 Honda clarity starts at 33,400 bucks.
Before a fully loaded touring like this one, you're looking at 36 six.
And yeah, you could go full electric for just a little bit more.
But when you consider the flexibility that the plugin power train offers, especially for those not ready or not able to make the full plugin plunge, it's still a pretty darn good value.
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