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2018 Honda Clarity Review

The 2018 Honda Clarity has a chic interior, a coddling ride, and highly efficient powertrains. However, it’s outshined by rivals that have more highway passing power, sharper handling, and higher predicted reliability ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Highly efficient
  • Pillowy ride
  • Audio controls rely heavily on touch screen
  • Meager highway passing power
  • Rivals are more agile




Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Honda Clarity Overview

Is the 2018 Honda Clarity a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Clarity is a good used midsize car, but many competitors offer superior performance and higher predicted reliability ratings.

Still, the 2018 Clarity has some good traits:

  • Extremely efficient
  • Plush ride
  • Posh cabin with simple layout
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration
  • Comprehensive list of standard driver assistance features
  • Comfortable, spacious front seats
  • Above-average trunk space

It has some drawbacks:

  • Lackluster acceleration and handling
  • Clarity Electric and Fuel Cell models not available in most areas
  • Lacks buttons and knobs for frequently used functions
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Honda Clarity review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from nine sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Honda Clarity?

Based on listings for the 2018 Honda Clarity, the average list price is $28,600. That’s the highest average price in a class full of mostly nonhybrid vehicle. However, it’s on par with the average list prices of plug-in hybrids like 2018 Chevrolet Volt and 2018 Toyota Prius Prime. Prices for the 2018 Clarity range from $24,800 to $33,700 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Honda Clarity Cost to Own?

At the time of this writing, we do not have the 2018 Clarity’s projected five-year costs for fuel, insurance, repairs, and maintenance.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Clarity?

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid was introduced for the 2018 model year. There’s little reason to purchase a 2019 Honda Clarity when you could save money on a comparably equipped 2018 model. Pricing for the 2019 Clarity starts at $33,400.

Read about the new Honda Clarity »

Compare the 2018, and 2019 Clarity »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Honda Clarity?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Honda Clarity a predicted reliability rating of three out of five. That's about average for the industry but slightly below average for the class.

Read more about Clarity reliability »

2018 Honda Clarity Recalls

At the time of writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Honda Clarity:

  • Fuel cell models may lose power

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Honda Clarity safety recalls »

Which Used Honda Clarity Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Honda Clarity is available in plug-in-hybrid, all-electric, and fuel-cell variants. The plug-in hybrid comes in two trims: base and Touring. The other models come with the same features as the Touring but with different powertrains than the plug-in hybrid. The Clarity Electric and Fuel Cell models are only available in a limited number of regions, so the majority of shoppers won’t have access to them.

Tons of advanced safety features, infotainment tech, and convenience amenities come standard in the Clarity. While most shoppers won’t need much more than what's on the Clarity’s standard features list, those seeking some luxury amenities should consider the Touring trim.

  • Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid: The base Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid trim has a four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery. Standard features include heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start. The standard infotainment system has an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. Every Clarity also comes with a multiangle rearview camera, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, Honda LaneWatch, and automatic high beams.
  • Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring: The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring trim gains leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, navigation, voice recognition, and remote start for climate controls.
  • Honda Clarity Electric: Available as a lease-only model in select markets of California and Oregon, the Honda Clarity Electric comes with all the features of the Plug-In Hybrid Touring. Instead of a hybrid system, it employs an all-electric powertrain consisting of a motor, a lithium-ion battery, and a single-speed transmission.
  • Honda Clarity Fuel Cell: The hydrogen-powered Honda Clarity Fuel Cell model is available for lease in select markets of California and Oregon. Its powertrain consists of a hydrogen fuel cell stack, an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery, and a single-speed transmission.

See 2018 Honda Clarity trims and specs »

What Does Honda's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Honda offers two levels of certification for its certified pre-owned vehicles: HondaTrue Certified and HondaTrue Certified+. Both levels come with a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, roadside assistance, up to two oil changes within the first year of ownership, and a 90-day SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription.

The vehicle’s model year determines which program and repair coverage it qualifies for. HondaTrue Certified covers vehicles from the 2014 through 2020 model years. For vehicles still under the new-car warranty, Honda extends coverage to four years from the original sale date or 48,000 miles. For vehicles outside the new-car warranty, Honda offers a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty. HondaTrue Certified+ is for 2018 to 2020 Hondas still under the new-car warranty. Honda extends these warranties to five years from the original sale date or 86,000 miles. Additional benefits may be available, so read Honda’s warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Honda’s CPO program is better than that offered by many other affordable carmakers. Still, Chevrolet, Kia, and Hyundai have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Clarity?

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided safety ratings for the 2018 Honda Clarity.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • multiangle rearview camera
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • lane departure warning
  • lane keep assist
  • adaptive cruise control
  • automatic high beams
  • Honda LaneWatch (a passenger-side mirror-mounted camera that activates when your right turn signal is on)

Available advanced safety features:

  • rear parking sensors

See Clarity safety scores »

2018 Honda Clarity Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Honda Clarity or 2018 Prius Prime?

The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime is roomier and more upscale than the Clarity, and these models cost about the same to buy. That said, the Prius Prime offers more cargo space than the Clarity by 4.3 cubic feet, and it's more efficient by 23 MPGe combined city/highway. It also has an outstanding predicted reliability rating. However, the Clarity’s all-electric range is almost double that of the Prius Prime. Unlike the Toyota, the Honda has standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as five-passenger seating (compared to the Prius Prime’s four). For most shoppers, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is the way to go.

Which Is Better: 2018 Honda Clarity or 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

If you like the Honda Clarity’s smooth ride, high-end cabin, and long list of standard features, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid may be right up your alley. This Hyundai ranks higher than the Clarity, primarily because of its better predicted reliability rating. Still, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has broader appeal with its longer electric-only range, higher cargo capacity, longer list of standard safety features, and smoother regenerative brakes.

Compare the Clarity, Prius Prime, and Sonata Hybrid »

2018 Clarity Performance

How Does the 2018 Honda Clarity Drive?

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid comes with a four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery that combine to produce peppy acceleration for motoring around town. This model's engine is noisy and sluggish when climbing to highway speeds though. Still, transitions between gas and electric power are seamless.

The Clarity Electric is powered by an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery, and the Clarity Fuel Cell has a hydrogen fuel cell stack, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery. Both setups feature a single-speed transmission. When new, these models were only available to lease in Oregon and California.

This Honda feels composed and has little body lean around most curves, but it can feel like it’s losing grip when you take turns too aggressively. This Honda’s smooth, cushy ride is comparable to that of a luxury sedan, and unlike many hybrid and alternative vehicles, the Clarity's regenerative brakes are refined and operate smoothly.

  • Base powertrain: 1.5-liter four-cylinder and electric motor with a combined 212 horsepower (plug-in hybrid) 
  • Available powertrains:
    • Electric motor with 161 horsepower (EV)
    • Fuel cell stack and electric motor with a combined 174 horsepower (fuel cell) 
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (plug-in hybrid); single-speed automatic (EV and fuel cell)
Does the 2018 Honda Clarity Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Clarity is one of few plug-in hybrids in the class, so it's not surprising that its fuel economy estimates are better than those of gas-only rivals. Plug-in hybrids like the 2018 Chevrolet Volt and 2018 Kia Niro earn similar estimates.

  • Plug-in hybrid: 110 MPGe and 42 mpg combined city/highway
  • Electric: 114 MPGe combined
  • Fuel cell: 68 MPGe combined

For more on understanding these ratings, check out What Is MPGe?

2018 Honda Clarity Alternative Fuels and Charging

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a 47-mile all-electric range, and the Clarity Electric has an 89-mile range. Unlike the electric-only model, the plug-in hybrid has a gas engine to keep things moving when the battery runs low. It takes about 2.5 hours to charge the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid using a 240-volt household charging station.

The all-electric Clarity takes less time than most rivals to fully charge. The charging time for this model depends on the method used:

  • 240-volt charging station: about 2.5 hours
  • Household outlet: 19 hours
  • DC fast Charger: 80% charge in 30 minutes

Read more about Clarity performance »

2018 Clarity Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Clarity Seat?

The 2018 Clarity seats five people in two rows. Up front, the seats are supportive and offer plenty of head- and legroom, and the rear seats can comfortably accommodate a pair of average-height adults or a few kids. The cabin is handsomely styled with a clean, modern layout and luxury touches like faux wood trim and suede dashboard upholstery. 

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery 
  • heated front seats

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • power-adjustable front seats
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Honda Clarity?

The 2018 Clarity has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat.

2018 Honda Clarity Features

The standard infotainment system in the Clarity has vibrant graphics, but it's slow to respond at times. The lack of physical buttons and knobs can be a distraction for drivers who need to adjust common audio settings, including volume. Still, the system utilizes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, convenient functions that connect your smartphone to the infotainment screen. The available navigation system is easy to use.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.
  • Available infotainment features: a navigation system and voice recognition
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start.
  • Other available features: remote start for climate controls

See 2018 Honda Clarity specs »

Read more about Clarity interior »

2018 Honda Clarity Dimensions

Honda Clarity Cargo Space

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which is above average for a midsize car. That number drops to 14.3 cubic feet in the all-electric version and 11.8 cubic feet in the Clarity Fuel Cell. Cabin storage is impressive, with a generously sized center console compartment and large door pockets.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Honda Clarity Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 1 inch
  • Curb weight: 4,024 to 4,134 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Honda Clarity Built?

Honda built the Clarity in Japan.

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