2018 Honda Clarity: 42-miles-per-gallon hybrid

  • Friday, December 14, 2018 1:30am
  • Vehicles

I’ve got one more hybrid to add to your test drive list: The 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV TRG four-door sedan.

The vehicle completes Honda’s first-ever vehicle series that offers customers an array of electrified powertrain choices in a sophisticated, spacious, and comprehensively equipped, five-passenger sedan.

You can also buy Clarity in fuel cell and all-electric formats.

Honda’s goal is for two-thirds of its global auto sales to be electric by 2030. The Clarity plug-in, hybrid vehicle is manufactured at Honda’s Saitama factory in Japan.

What’s not to like about an EPA rating of 42 miles per gallon and 340 mile combined gas-electric range. And for short errands around town – or you’re lucky-enough to have a short commute – you can use the Clarity for about 20 miles as an all-electric, with an empty gas tank. Or you can use the Clarity as an all-electric around town (again 20-mile range) and not use it as a gas/hybrid at all (just keep re-charging), unless needed.

My tester was powered by Honda’s innovative two-motor hybrid technology, which consists of an ultra-efficient 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle, in-line, four-cylinder engine coupled to a starter/generator motor. Part two is an ultra-quiet 181-horsepower AC synchronous traction motor. Part three is a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh), 168-cell lithium-ion battery pack.

Power (212 horsepower of combined output) is mated to an electric, continuously variable transmission. The Clarity plug-in operates in three different driving modes (Normal, Econ and Sport), depending on the driving situation, and is able to shift instantly, automatically and seamlessly from one mode to another to optimize overall efficiency.

In Sport mode, more responsive acceleration adds to the Clarity plug-in hybrid’s fun-to-drive nature. In Econ mode, changes made to the map-governing system output promote full-electric driving. Once battery energy is depleted, changes made to the throttle map encourage drivers to use less of the available performance, thereby potentially extending the practical driving range compared to Normal mode. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to help maintain the battery’s state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes.

Clarity comes well-equipped with a long list of standard convenience, connected-car, safety and driver-assist technologies, including LED exterior lighting, Honda Sensing, Smart Entry with pushbutton start, and an eight-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

My touring model added leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power driver’s seat with two-position memory (upgraded from manual seat), a four-way power front passenger’s seat and Honda satellite-linked navigation system.

Honda Sensing adds the following suite of safety and driver assist features to help put Clarity over-the-top. Highlights include a collision-mitigation braking system, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and a lane-keeping assist system.

Base Price: $37,490

Price As Driven: 37,490

Destination charge included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.

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