REVIEW: Packsize drives the Honda Clarity PHEV

Packsize's employees are in agreement: the Honda Clarity PHEV is genuinely fun to drive in electric-only mode, and is a great compromise between the size of other PHEVs and the roominess of larger vehicles.

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Utah-based company Packsize recently began using a fleet of Honda Clarity PHEVs as a “living laboratory,” to explore the ins and outs, pros and cons of these new hybrid electric vehicles. The experiences and ratings of these actual drivers are featured below.

Introduction

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) is a quiet star. The Honda Clarity PHEV has sold 8,109 units in the United States since its late 2017 launch and it is the third best-selling PHEV on the market, after the Prius Prime and the Chevy Volt.

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If a roomy sedan is what you want, and you aren’t prepared to pay the premium price of a Tesla, you’ll be delighted with the Honda Clarity PHEV, which comes with the following features:

  • Battery: 17 kWh (~47 miles of electric-only driving)
  • Engine: 1.5 liters, 103 hp
  • Motor: AC permanent-magnet synchronous, 181 hp
  • Fuel economy: 110 MPGe; 42 MPG combined
  • Electric range: 47 miles
  • MSRP: Plug-In Hybrid $33,400; Touring $36,600.
  • Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit.

Brent’s impressions

Personal experience—I like the car. It feel and drives fine. I’ve previously owned a Volt, and I like the Volt better, but this is a good car. I am disappointed in the way the HV mode feels. It feels just like the Volt and not like a Prius when the battery is dead.

The acceleration of the car is fine, but feels significantly slower than the Volt, and makes me miss that car a bit. Overall, though, this is a solid car, which is much more roomy and better for passengers than the Prius or the Volt.

Bradley’s impressions

Good feel, good value for the money, nice overall experience. I am pleased with the car and would recommend it. For a PHEV, it’s got nice range using the electric mode.

I find that the car is too noisy when operating with the combustion engine. The Apple Car Play interface is not very reliable, in my experience, and it seems that the lane assist and self-driving features could be improved.

Austin’s impressions

Driving this car feels great, and I really like the interior experience. Inside they hit a home run! And, it’s spacious. The exterior looks great in the front and the back. It’s got great wind handling from the front, which makes for a really smooth experience on the highway. I love the daily electric range I get.

As for areas of improvement, the biggest thing is the look of the back panel over the rear wheels. I don’t love that, and it’s the number one thing I get comments on from folks. That’s the only aesthetic improvement I think it needs: get rid of those straight panels over the rear wheels. Otherwise, the bottom part of the front seat could be longer, or a piece folding out making it longer to support legs. I find that it can cut off the circulation in my legs during longer drives.

Conclusion: I love this car!  I’ve have experience with Prius and Leaf before, and the Clarity PHEV compares favorably.

Jack’s impressions

I just received my Clarity two days ago. I’ve been with Packsize for five months and had been in a rental car prior to this. Here are a few thoughts that I have so far:

  • The Clarity is aesthetically pleasing and surprisingly quiet to drive
  • The gas mileage appears to be incredible
  • It’s really fulfilling to drive an environmentally friendly vehicle

Brady’s impressions

The Clarity is very comfortable, and drives very well when in electric mode. I prefer the smoothness and torque of an electric car over a traditional car. I also like to brag about the Clarity to my friends; an electric car is definitely a cool thing to drive.

The Clarity sounds a bit like it’s powered by a hamster wheel when it’s running in gasoline mode. I can barely make it up Parley’s Canyon since my electricity runs out and the gasoline engine struggles with the climb. Also, the gas tank only holds seven gallons, which prevents me from taking long trips with the Clarity. I have only been required to use gas on a few occasions. That said, though, the positives of the Clarity easily outweigh the negatives.

I love the Clarity and will only drive electric cars in the future.

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