Almost a year ago, the first units of the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid arrived at U.S. dealerships – and recently, Consumer Reports got their hands on one.
It uses a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-pot, an electric motor and a 17 kWh battery pack. The combined output is 212 hp (215 PS / 158 kW), and the car can travel on zero emissions for up to 47 miles (75 km). When it runs out of battery juice, the ICE kicks in automatically – and changes the entire driving experience by being too loud.
When pushed through corners, the 2018 Clarity PHEV reaches its limits quickly. Luckily, the ride comfort is good, with the suspension absorbing most bumps in the road easily. The front seats may not offer a lot of adjustments, but that’s just one of the quirks of this car.
There are also some confusing controls, and a very weird gear selector that requires pushing buttons to change between ‘Drive’, ‘Reverse’, ‘Neutral’ and ‘Park’. And that could turn every maneuver into a headache until you get the hang of it.
If consumers can learn to live with these weak spots, they’ll find that the Honda Clarity PHEV is nicely equipped. Some of the features include an 8-inch infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, multi-angle rear view camera and 8-speaker sound system in the entry-level model.
Opt for the Touring, which starts at $36,600, or $3,200 more than the base version, and the Clarity PHEV will pack GPS navigation system, power front seats with perforated leather, leather-wrapped steering wheels and others.