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MSRP: $33,400 - 36,620

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Honda Clarity ranked #15 in Midsize Cars. Currently the Honda Clarity has a score of 7.9 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 11 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.0
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Honda Clarity Review

Despite its upscale cabin and highly efficient powertrains, the Honda Clarity can’t match the performance of class rivals. Also, its infotainment system can be hard to use. For these reasons, it ranks in the bottom half of the midsize car class.

Pros & Cons

  • Highly efficient
  • Gentle ride
  • Less agile than rivals
  • Engine feels underpowered on the highway
  • No physical controls for infotainment system

Is the Honda Clarity a Good Car?

The Honda Clarity is an OK midsize car in a class full of great ones. It has premium cabin materials and comfortable seats. This plug-in hybrid also has fast charging times, good electric range, and stellar fuel economy. Its soft ride keeps occupants comfortable, but the Clarity is held back by a frustrating infotainment system, bland handling, and tepid acceleration.

Should I Buy the Honda Clarity?

As one of the most upscale plug-in hybrids you can buy for less than $35,000, the Clarity is an option worth considering. It has more cargo room and better range than the Ford Fusion Energi, for instance. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Volt is more fun to drive, and the Toyota Prius Prime is easier on your wallet.

Compare the Clarity, Energi, and Volt »

Should I Buy a New or Used Honda Clarity?

Honda released the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid as an all-new car for the 2018 model year. No major changes were made for 2019, so you could get a similar car and potentially save money with an older model, though it is worth noting that used vehicles aren't eligible for tax credits the way new plug-in hybrid and electric cars are.

Visit our review of the 2018 Honda Clarity if you're interested in a used model. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Clarity »

We Did the Research for You: 10 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about the Honda Clarity in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates and cargo space dimensions with professional evaluations from 10 automotive sources. This Honda Clarity review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for the 2018 model year.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Honda Clarity Cost?

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a starting MSRP of $33,400. That makes it one of the most expensive midsize cars on the market. In many areas though, tax credits are available for those who purchase alternative fuel, electric, or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The Clarity Electric is only available for lease in California and Oregon, while the Clarity Fuel Cell can only be leased 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 Plug-In Hybrid or Honda Insight?

The Honda Insight is an all-new hybrid compact car. Despite its smaller classification, it has more front- and rear-seat legroom than the Clarity, and its trunk is nearly the same size. The Insight has more standard safety features, and it’ll save you more than $10,000 compared to the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. On the other hand, the Clarity has a nicer cabin and more standard connectivity options, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Performance-wise, the two cars are similar, and each earns stellar fuel economy estimates. However, keep in mind that the Insight is not a plug-in hybrid like the Clarity, which means it cannot be recharged and doesn't have any appreciable electric-only range. Both Hondas are good vehicles, so choosing between them is a matter of preference.

Which Is Better: Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid or Chevrolet Volt?

The Chevrolet Volt is a good plug-in hybrid compact car. It lacks the trunk space and rear-seat room of the Clarity, but it has a longer all-electric range – 53 miles versus the Clarity's 47. It’s peppier too, with precise steering and strong acceleration, and its infotainment system is easier to use. Both are good cars with similar retail prices. Choose the Honda if you want the nicer cabin or extra space for passengers and cargo. Choose the Chevrolet for its spirited driving and longer battery range.

Compare the Clarity, Insight, and Volt »

Clarity Interior

How Many People Does the Clarity Seat?

This Honda sedan seats five people and features standard cloth upholstery and heated front seats. Leather-trimmed upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are available.

The front seats are roomy, and average-sized adults can sit comfortably in the back, though taller passengers may feel cramped.

Clarity and Car Seats

The Clarity has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats. The rear middle seat has a single tether anchor.

Clarity Interior Quality

The cabin is sleek and modern, and its premium materials, faux wood trim, and soft-touch surfaces help this Honda approach Acura-level luxury.

Clarity Cargo Space

The Honda Clarity Plug-In has a 15.5-cubic-foot trunk. Although it doesn't offer the space that you'll get in something like the Honda HR-V, it’s above average for a midsize car. The Clarity Electric has 14.5 cubic feet of space, while the Fuel Cell model has 11.8 cubic feet.

Clarity Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the base Clarity include the HondaLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Pandora, satellite radio, HD Radio, an eight-speaker stereo, two USB ports, and Bluetooth. A navigation system is available.

The infotainment system has sharp graphics, but it can lag when responding to inputs. Additionally, there are no physical controls for adjusting settings, making it sometimes tedious to operate. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is nice though. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Clarity Performance

Clarity Engine: Better Around Town

Honda offers one powertrain in the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid: an electronic continuously variable automatic transmission and a four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that together produce 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque.

The Clarity gets by just fine around town and even feels a bit peppy. It struggles a little more on the highway, however. Generally, transitions between gas and electric power are smooth, though you may hear some engine noise when you really step on the accelerator.

Clarity Gas Mileage: Fantastic

The EPA rates the Clarity plug-in at 42 mpg combined on gas power and 110 MPGe on a combination of electric and gas propulsion, both of which are superb figures. The Clarity has an electric-only range of 47 miles.

Clarity Electric and Fuel Cell Models: West Coast Represent

Honda has two zero-emissions alternatives to its plug-in hybrid. The Clarity Electric (available in Oregon and California only) has an 89-mile range, which is less than rivals such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, though its 114 MPGe efficiency rating is pretty good for an electric vehicle. Charging takes around 19 hours with a 120-volt outlet, 3.5 hours on a 240-volt outlet, and 30 minutes using a DC fast charger. The Clarity Fuel Cell (only available in California) runs on hydrogen fuel and has a 366-mile driving range.

Clarity Ride and Handling: Smooth, Not Lively

The Honda Clarity provides a smooth and composed ride, though most rivals are sportier. One major plus is the regenerative braking system, which is smooth and natural-feeling. Front-wheel drive comes standard; all-wheel drive is not available.

Read more about performance »

Clarity Reliability

Is the Honda Clarity Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 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 basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hybrid components have an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Clarity Safety

Clarity Crash Test Results

As of this writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2019 Clarity.

Clarity Safety Features

Standard safety features in the 2019 Clarity include the Honda Sensing suite, which has a road departure mitigation system, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control. Blind spot monitoring and automatic high beams are standard too. Rear parking sensors are available.

Read more about safety »

Which Honda Clarity Model Is Right for Me?

Honda offers the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid in two main trim levels: Base and Touring. The Clarity Electric is currently available as a lease-only vehicle in California and Oregon, while the Clarity Fuel Cell is limited to California, also only for lease. For most shoppers, the Clarity PHEV will be the only one available. We recommend the Touring trim. It’s not much more expensive than the base model, and its added comfort and convenience features are worth the small price hike.

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

The base Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has an MSRP of $33,400. It features an 8-inch touch screen, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Pandora, satellite radio, HD Radio, an eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, two USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, alloy wheels, a road departure mitigation system, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and automatic high beams.

Rear parking sensors can be added for $514.

Honda Clarity Touring

The Honda Clarity Touring has a retail price of $36,600. It adds a navigation system, leather seats, power-adjustable front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Again, rear parking sensors are optional.

Honda Clarity Electric

The Honda Clarity Electric has an MSRP of $36,620. Using a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor tied to a single-speed transmission, it makes a combined 161 horsepower. Its features list closely resembles the Touring’s, though it also has DC fast charging capability. It can be leased in California and Oregon.

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell can only be leased in select markets in California. Its powertrain adds a hydrogen fuel stack to the Electric’s setup for an output of 174 horsepower. The Fuel Cell mostly mirrors the Touring’s features list, though it has a 12-speaker premium stereo as well.

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 2019 Honda Clarity specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is efficient and refined. As far as plug-in hybrids go, the Clarity PHEV’s fuel economy, charging times, and electric range are great. Its regenerative braking system feels smooth and natural, and its serene ride helps make it a comfortable daily driver. However, this is one of the most expensive cars in the midsize car class (though many states offer tax credits that may help offset the cost), and there are several rivals also worth considering. The Chevrolet Volt, for example, has greater agility and passing power than the Clarity, while the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has an easier-to-use infotainment system.

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

  • "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
  • "With the 2018 Honda Clarity, Honda has essentially created a much better Insight. Instead of simply building a Prius imitator, Honda has developed something unique of its own with the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid." -- Left Lane News (2018)
  • "Those rear-wheel skirts may help this Honda sedan's efficiency, but they do no favors to its style. The Clarity Fuel Cell battles a limited hydrogen infrastructure issue, while the all-electric Clarity's 89-mile range pales against the 238-mile range of the Chevrolet Bolt." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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