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2021 Honda Clarity

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$33,400 - 36,600 MSRP

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2021 Honda Clarity Review

The 2021 Honda Clarity is a fine city car with a decent electric range and a cushioned ride, but it counts distracting infotainment controls and ho-hum passing power among its downsides. The Honda Clarity does not have an overall score or ranking because it hasn’t been fully crash tested.

Pros & Cons

  • Balanced ride and handling
  • Decent electric range
  • Many standard features
  • Infotainment controls are hard to use
  • Meager power at higher speeds
  • High base price

Research & Ratings

The 2021 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 16 pieces of research and data.

N/A

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 6.7
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

Thinking of leasing a Honda Clarity?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Honda Clarity a Good Car?

Yes, the Honda Clarity is a good car. Its cabin is refined, spacious, and equipped with plenty of driver-assist features. It is available throughout the country as a plug-in hybrid, and California residents have the option of leasing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell model. As a PHEV, the Clarity’s 48-mile all-electric range is impressive, and overall fuel economy is on par with other vehicles in the hybrid and electric car class. However, its gasoline engine struggles at highway speeds, and the infotainment system can be distracting to use while driving.

Why You Can Trust Us: 16 Reviews Analyzed

To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as cargo space dimensions, horsepower specs, and predicted reliability, as well as the opinions of the automotive press.

This 2021 Honda Clarity review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Honda Clarity?

The Honda Clarity may be a good car, but there are better options in the class. The Hyundai Ioniq is available in hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, and electric variants, and it has more cargo room than the Clarity. The Honda Accord Hybrid ranks well in the class, and it's much more affordable than its sibling. If it’s within your budget and you’re ready to take the plunge with an all-electric vehicle, you may also want to consider the Chevrolet Bolt.

Compare the Clarity, Ioniq, and Accord Hybrid »

2020 vs. 2021 Honda Clarity: What's the Difference?

There are no major differences between the 2020 and 2021 Clarity.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Clarity »

The Honda Clarity debuted as a fuel cell-only model in limited markets for 2017. Here are the key changes for the Clarity since its introduction:

  • 2018: plug-in-hybrid and all-electric versions debuted
  • 2019: no notable changes
  • 2020: Clarity EV discontinued
  • 2021: no notable changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Clarity, 2019 Clarity, and 2020 Clarity reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Honda Clarity Cost?

The Clarity plug-in hybrid has a base MSRP of $33,400. Though that’s above average for the hybrid and electric car class, be aware that you may qualify for a federal tax credit, which would ultimately lower the car's price. The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is not available for purchase, but you can lease one 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

Honda Clarity vs. Toyota Prius Prime

The Toyota Prius Prime is a decent plug-in-hybrid car. At 25 miles, its all-electric range is significantly shorter than the Clarity plug-in hybrid’s 48 miles, but its fuel economy estimates are much better: 133 MPGe to the Honda’s 110 MPGe. Additionally, the Prius Prime has a larger trunk. On the other hand, the Clarity has nicer cabin materials and a lot more horsepower. There’s no wrong choice between these two PHEVs.

Compare the Clarity and Prius Prime »

Honda Clarity vs. Hyundai Ioniq

The Hyundai Ioniq is available as a hybrid, a plug-in-hybrid, and an all-electric vehicle. All three, even the EV, are expected to be more affordable than the Clarity. The Ioniq plug-in hybrid doesn’t match the Clarity’s all-electric range (29 miles to the Clarity's 48), but both its hybrid and PHEV models outperform the Honda in terms of fuel economy and cargo space. The Hyundai also has simpler infotainment controls, a slightly better predicted reliability rating, and excellent safety scores, making it the clear winner here.

Compare the Clarity and Ioniq »

Compare the Clarity, Prius Prime, and Ioniq »

Clarity Interior: Looks Good

Clarity Cargo Space

Cargo space varies depending on this Honda’s powertrain. The Clarity plug-in hybrid has a 15.5-cubic-foot trunk, which is a typical size among sedans in the class but smaller than many hatchbacks. However, the split-folding rear seats provide a bit more room. The Clarity Fuel Cell’s rear seats cannot fold down and, because of the placement of its hydrogen tank, it has only 11.8 cubic feet of trunk space.

How Many People Does the Clarity Seat?

The Clarity seats five people and has a decent amount of space in both rows. Though the seats are comfortable and well-padded, taller rear-seat passengers may find that their heads brush against the ceiling.

Standard seating features include cloth upholstery and heated front seats. The plug-in-hybrid Touring trim and Clarity Fuel Cell model add leather-trimmed seats and heated front seats with eight-way power-adjustability for the driver and four-way power-adjustability for the passenger.

Clarity and Child Car Seats

This vehicle has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

Clarity Interior Quality

The Clarity has an upscale cabin with wooden trim, soft leather surfaces, and good fit and finish.

Clarity Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

While this Honda’s infotainment system looks high-tech, using it can be high-maintenance. The system can be slow to respond to inputs, and the touch-sensitive buttons are small, which can make them hard to find while driving.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, and satellite radio
  • Available infotainment features: navigation and a 12-speaker stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and proximity keyless entry

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Clarity Performance: Slick in the City

Clarity Powertrain

The Clarity plug-in hybrid uses two electric motors, a four-cylinder gas engine, and a lithium-ion battery pack to produce 212 horsepower. The Clarity Fuel Cell also has a battery and electric motor, but it adds a hydrogen fuel cell and puts out 174 horsepower. Both cars have a single-speed automatic transmission.

Despite their differences, the fuel cell and plug-in provide similar driving experiences. The two-motor setup in both powertrains supplies instant torque that helps the vehicle take off swiftly from a stop. Reaching higher speeds is more challenging, and it takes some planning to successfully pass other vehicles on the highway. When in EV mode, the Clarity is whisper-quiet.

Clarity Gas Mileage

There are no EPA estimates for the 2021 Clarity as of this writing. However, the similar 2020 Clarity PHEV returns a combined city/highway rating of 110 MPG-equivalent and has an electric-only range of 48 miles, which is great among plug-ins.

Honda claims that the zero-emissions Clarity Fuel Cell has a 360-mile range and the gasoline equivalent of 68 mpg city/highway. Honda covers the cost of hydrogen fill-ups, up to $15,000.

For more information, read What is MPGe?

Clarity Charge Times

Charging the plug-in-hybrid Clarity takes around 12 hours with a 120-volt household-style power outlet or around 2.5 hours with a 240-volt charger.

Clarity Ride and Handling

This vehicle has a gentle ride. Its steering is well-weighted, and its brakes feel crisp and natural without the grabby feeling often associated with hybrids. There’s not much body lean around corners either.

Read more about performance »

Clarity Reliability

Is the Honda Clarity Reliable?

The 2021 Clarity has 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 eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Clarity Safety

Clarity Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 Clarity.

Clarity Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Road departure mitigation
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Honda LaneWatch (passenger-side blind spot camera)
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Head-up display (Clarity Fuel Cell only)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Rear parking sensors

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 2021 Honda Clarity Built?

Honda builds the 2021 Clarity in Japan.

Which Honda Clarity Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid comes in two trim levels: base and Touring. The base plug-in is well-equipped with plenty of safety and tech features, making it a great choice for most shoppers. There is another model called the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, which runs on hydrogen power. However, it cannot be purchased and is only available for lease in California.

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

The Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid has a starting MSRP of $33,400. Standard equipment includes an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, HD Radio, an eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, two USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, heated front seats, and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat.

The Honda Sensing Suite of driver assistance features comes standard and includes forward collision warning, a collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and a road departure mitigation system. This vehicle also comes with a rearview camera and the Honda LaneWatch blind spot camera.

Rear parking sensors are available for $538.

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring

The Touring trim starts at $36,600. It gains a satellite-linked navigation system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, and leather-trimmed seats. The rear parking sensors remain available.

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell model shares most of its equipment with the Touring PHEV. There are a few differences, however. Unlike the plug-in, fuel cell models have a head-up display, a premium 12-speaker stereo, and a hydrogen refueling station locator.

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 2021 Honda Clarity specs and trims »

The Final Call

Whether you get it as a plug-in-hybrid or a hydrogen-powered model, the 2021 Honda Clarity is a solid vehicle with roomy seats, a bounty of standard equipment, composed handling, and a gentle ride. However, several hybrid and electric car rivals offer zestier acceleration or greater practicality.

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

  • "The Clarity is a very different type of Honda, but it's one that works well as a family sedan while showcasing cutting-edge propulsion technology." -- Car and Driver
  • "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 (2020)
  • "… the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid … blend[s] 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." -- Autotrader (2019)
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2021 Honda Clarity

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