Tips, Tricks & Trends

Is a Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid Worth Buying?

Like it or not, hybrids are the way of the future, or at least that’s what manufacturers think. The truth is that carbon emissions are a big issue, so as much as people love to hate the Toyota Prius, at least it’s doing its part in saving the planet. Don’t want a Prius? Well then, try a Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid.

What is a Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid?

2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

It’s a mouthful to say, so we’ll call it the Honda Clarity PHEV. The Clarity PHEV is Honda’s odd-looking, a plug-in hybrid that’s capable of driving up to 47 miles on all-electric power before the hybrid powertrain jumps in.

The hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle, four-cylinder engine mated to a dual-motor system in which one is paired to the engine, and the other powers the front wheels. The setup is powered by a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and puts out 181 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. When the all-electric motor is used up, the Clarity PHEV is capable of 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway mpg. Not exactly Toyota Prius Prime numbers (55/53), but it will do.

2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

What else does the Honda Clarity PHEV include?

Outside of the powertrain, you might call the Honda Clarity PHEV “futuristic,” although some might call it “ugly.” But that would be a little harsh, considering all of the sharp body lines, the bulbous front end, and partially covered wheel wells make up for the sleek aerodynamics of the car.

The inside looks much better, especially if you opt for the higher Touring trim level, which comes with leather seats. The dash has faux wood trim that’s contrasted by plant-derived fabrics which give the interior a subtle, yet sleek look. An 8-inch touchscreen sits in the middle of the dash and a digital instrument panel sits in front of the driver. Apple Carplay/Android Auto is standard.

The higher Touring trim level adds leather seats and steering wheel, a navigation system, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and Ultrasuede interior trim. Both Clarity trim levels come standard with the Honda Sensing Safety Suite of driver-assist features.

In case you’re wondering, charge times for the battery is up to 12 hours on 120-volts and 2.5 hours on 240-volts.

2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Is Honda Clarity PHEV worth buying?

Considering the Toyota Prius line has always taken the cake when it comes to fuel economy (the main competitor being the Prius Prime), it’s tough to compare the Clarity PHEV and recommend it.

So we really have to look at the car in a vacuum, in that the Clarity PHEV would work well if you have less than a 47-mile round trip every day, are a Honda loyalist, or just really like the way the car looks and drives. Also, keep in mind that this is a plug-in hybrid, so it does qualify for a possibly $7,500 federal rebate and $1,000 state rebate for California buyers.

But ultimately, considering the Clarity PHEV costs $34,355 (including destination), and $37,555 for the Touring trim, we would have to point to its competitors, or its more-affordable Honda Insight little brother, as possible better choices.