2020 Honda Clarity

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$33,400 - 58,490 MSRP

2020 Honda Clarity Review

The 2020 Honda Clarity has an upscale and spacious interior, good fuel economy, and composed handling, but it’s held back by its frustrating infotainment system and sedate passing power. The Clarity does not have an overall score or ranking because it has not been fully crash tested.

Pros & Cons

  • Highly efficient
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Roomy seating
  • Pricier than most rivals
  • Minimal passing power on the highway
  • Distracting touch-sensitive buttons

Research & Ratings

The 2020 Honda Clarity is unranked in Hybrid and Electric Cars due to missing safety data. Currently, the Honda Clarity's overall score is not available, though its Critics' Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our evaluation of 14 pieces of research and data.

N/A

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 6.6
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other hybrid and electric cars.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

 Is the Honda Clarity a Good Car?

The 2020 Honda Clarity is a decent choice in the hybrid and electric car class. It’s comfortable to drive, it has a rather luxe and roomy cabin, and it’s packed with advanced safety features. The Clarity also offers an all-electric driving range of 47 miles, which is excellent for a plug-in hybrid. Its gasoline engine kicks in when the batteries run low, providing an estimated 340 miles of total driving range between fill-ups.

Ultimately, it’s the little things that spoil the Clarity recipe. The infotainment system is clunky, and its touch-sensitive buttons are distracting to use. Also, there isn’t much passing power at higher speeds, and a number of competitors provide similar fuel economy at a less expensive price.

Should I Buy the Honda Clarity?

You should test-drive a few other vehicles in the hybrid and electric car class before buying the Honda Clarity. The Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq cost thousands of dollars less than the Clarity, and they offer comparable fuel economy and more cargo space. There are even better and less expensive options within the Honda lineup, like the Honda Insight and Honda Accord Hybrid.

Compare the Clarity, Insight, and Accord Hybrid »

Should I Buy a New or Used Honda Clarity?

Since it launched as an all-new vehicle for the 2018 model year, the Clarity has seen few major updates. For 2020, Honda discontinues the Clarity Electric model, leaving the lineup with just the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Clarity Fuel Cell models.

2018 and 2019 models are nearly identical to the new Clarity and likely less expensive. That said, some shoppers may get a better deal on a new 2020 model. This is because of federal and state tax credits that are used to incentivize new plug-in-hybrid and electric-vehicle sales. Talk with your tax professional to see if you qualify for these credits.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Clarity and 2019 Clarity reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Clarity »

We Did the Research for You: 13 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 13 Honda Clarity reviews, as well as hard data points like fuel economy estimates and reliability ratings, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2020 Clarity review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Honda Clarity Cost?

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid starts at $33,400, making it one of the more expensive options in the hybrid and electric car class. It’s worth noting that state and federal tax credits may be available for those who purchase plug-in-hybrid or electric vehicles, but not all will qualify. The Clarity Fuel Cell is only available for lease in California.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

Honda Clarity Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Honda Clarity or Toyota Prius Prime?

The Honda Clarity has one big advantage over the Toyota Prius Prime: It offers nearly twice the all-electric driving range (47 miles versus 25 miles). In most other areas though, the Prius is the better plug-in hybrid. The Prius Prime has a lower starting price than the Clarity, better fuel economy, and more cargo space. Its interior looks and feels more futuristic, but the Clarity's cabin is more upscale. Also, the Toyota has a higher predicted reliability rating.

Which Is Better: Honda Clarity or Hyundai Ioniq?

The Hyundai Ioniq is offered in hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, and all-electric models. Each variant is far less expensive than the Clarity, by some $3,000 to $11,000. The Ioniq also boasts a larger hatchback cargo area and longer warranty coverage than the Clarity, but it has fewer standard safety features. However, the Hyundai does offer a solid amount of optional safety features. Go with the Ioniq.

Compare the Clarity, Prius Prime and Ioniq »

Clarity Interior

How Many People Does the Clarity Seat?

The Honda Clarity is a four-door sedan with five seats. The front seats are softly padded, and they remain comfortable on long trips. There’s ample head- and legroom up front, even for taller occupants. The wide back seat can fit two adults with room to spare, or even three on short outings, though rear headroom is a bit snug for anyone over 6-feet tall. Outward visibility is good in all directions.

Cloth upholstery and heated front seats are standard, and leather upholstery is available.

Clarity and Child Car Seats

The Clarity has two full sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

Clarity Interior Quality

Nonluxury hybrid cars aren’t known for having posh interiors, but the Honda Clarity is an exception. The cabin is cleanly styled and trimmed with quality upholstery and soft-touch plastics. It’s similar to what you’ll find in entry-level Acura models.

Clarity Cargo Space

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has 15.5 cubic feet of trunk space. The trunk opening is fairly wide, and the rear seats can fold in a 60/40 split, making it easier to haul longer items. This cargo space is on par with many sedan rivals, but it falls short of hybrid hatchbacks like the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq. The Clarity Fuel Cell is less accommodating. Its trunk measures 11.8 cubic feet.

Clarity Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Honda Clarity comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, two USB ports, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Navigation is available.

This infotainment system is one of the Clarity’s biggest drawbacks. The menu structure is dense and unintuitive, and the screen tends to respond slowly to inputs. The touch-sensitive buttons on the left side of the screen require a lot of attention to use as well. On the plus side, the buttons and knobs for the climate control are straightforward.

Read more about interior »

Clarity Performance

Clarity Engine: City Slicker

The Honda Clarity has a plug-in-hybrid system that includes an electric motor, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a lithium-ion battery pack, and a single-speed automatic transmission. This setup produces 212 horsepower, and it’s more than capable of zipping the car around town. The Clarity accelerates briskly from a stop, and its transmission operates seamlessly. That said, the car starts to feel out of breath at highway speeds, and it offers meager passing power.

The Clarity Fuel Cell model performs much the same in day-to-day driving, but it does so with a different powertrain. It swaps the standard model’s four-cylinder engine for a hydrogen fuel cell.

Both models come with front-wheel drive.

Clarity Gas Mileage: Clearly Efficient

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has an all-electric driving range of 47 miles in EV mode. The car transitions to hybrid mode once its battery charge is sufficiently depleted, or if you press firmly on the accelerator. In this mode, the gas engine and electric motor work together to deliver up to 42 mpg in combined city/highway driving. While it has a great all-electric driving range, its gas mileage is roughly on par with rivals when operating in hybrid mode.

The Clarity Fuel Cell runs on hydrogen fuel, and it provides a 360-mile driving range between fill-ups. If you lease this car, Honda will cover the cost of hydrogen fuel up to a limit of $15,000.

Clarity Charging Times: Depends on the Outlet

Recharging the Clarity’s battery pack takes about 12 hours using a 120-volt household-style power outlet or 2.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet.

Clarity Ride and Handling: Smooth Moves

Despite its advanced powertrain, the Honda Clarity manages to drive like any other midsize sedan, and that’s a good thing. It’s not sporty, but it’s not exactly dull either. The Clarity feels stable around turns, its steering is quick and nicely weighted, and the brakes slow down the car confidently. The suspension does a fine job of soaking up bumps and dips in the road as well, yielding a comfortable ride.

Read more about performance »

Clarity Reliability

Is the Honda Clarity Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Honda Clarity a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Honda Clarity Warranty

Honda covers the Clarity with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The battery pack is covered by an additional eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Honda Clarity?

The cost of insuring a Honda Clarity will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Clarity Safety

Clarity Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Clarity.

Clarity Safety Features

The Honda Clarity comes standard with a rearview camera, a passenger-side blind spot camera (Honda LaneWatch), forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. Some of these safety features are part of the Honda Sensing suite. A head-up display and rear parking sensors are available.

Read more about safety »

Clarity Dimensions and Weight

The Clarity is 16.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,052 to 4,134 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Honda Clarity Built?

Honda builds the 2020 Clarity in Japan.

Which Honda Clarity Model Is Right for Me?

Honda offers the 2020 Clarity in two main configurations. You can choose between a plug-in-hybrid model and a hydrogen fuel cell model. The choice will be easy for most shoppers, since the fuel cell model is only offered in California as a lease.

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

The base model Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a starting MSRP of $33,400. It’s outfitted with a 212-horsepower hybrid system, an automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. This setup provides 47 miles of all-electric driving range and up to 42 mpg combined in city/highway driving when operating in hybrid mode.

Standard features include an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, eight speakers, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

A number of safety features are also standard, including a rearview camera, forward collision warning with brake assist, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a blind spot camera system, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Rear parking sensors are optional for $514.

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring

The ritzier Clarity Touring trim starts at $36,600. It shares the same plug-in-hybrid setup as the base model and adds power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and a navigation system. Again, rear parking sensors are optional.

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell has a 174-horsepower electric motor and hydrogen fuel cell system, which provide a driving range of 360 miles between fill-ups. This trim also adds a 12-speaker stereo, a head-up display, and a fuel card worth up to $15,000. This model is only offered in California as a lease.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

See 2020 Honda Clarity specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Honda Clarity makes a lot of sense if you’re shopping for a plug-in-hybrid car. It has a lengthy all-electric range of 47 miles in EV mode. It’s nicely equipped and comfortable to drive. Ultimately though, the Clarity struggles to find its niche in today’s packed class of hybrid and electric cars. A number of alternatives are more efficient, affordable, and practical. Some are even zestier to drive, including Honda’s own Accord Hybrid.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "With the 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, you get the best attributes of a short-range electric car and a long-range gas-powered sedan." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There are three versions of the 2019 Honda Clarity, but there's really only one that's relevant: the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. It's also one of the most appealing in its rapidly expanding segment of vehicles that blend emissions-free electric driving with range-anxiety-free hybrid driving. Not only does it have more electric range than everything except the soon-to-be-discontinued Chevrolet Volt, but it's generally nicer to drive and has a richer, quieter cabin than others in the segment. Its price tag isn't even that outrageous and it gets better when you consider hefty rebates." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • Acceleration is quick enough for around-town driving, but that's about it. At higher speeds, there's not a whole lot more on tap. In our testing, the Clarity took 8.4 seconds to cover 0-60 mph. We noticed appreciably slower times in additional back-to-back acceleration runs." -- Edmunds (2019) 
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2020 Honda Clarity

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