For many, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) offer a convenient compromise between affordable energy and gas when you need it. PHEVs give you a unique powertrain that lets you try out an electric motor with all the efficiency and cheap energy it provides, but it also gives you a gas engine backup as a failsafe. The Honda Clarity is the plug-in hybrid that has an unbeatable electric range according to industry experts.
The best electric range
According to U.S. News, the 2020 Honda Clarity has a better EPA-estimated electric range than any other hybrids on today’s market. The Clarity’s electric range is 47 miles. The only plug-in hybrid that offered a better range was the discontinued Chevy Volt.
A plug-in hybrid system relieves some of the anxiety many have about relying on an electric range. You can use electric power during the time you’re in your vehicle. Once the battery is exhausted, you still get great mileage since the system works just like a traditional hybrid configuration.
The battery is charged by the engine and regenerative braking pumps energy back into the battery when you deploy the brakes. Once you’re done driving for the day, plug in your car overnight to charge the battery for its next use.
The 2020 Honda Clarity
The 2020 Honda Clarity is more than just a great electric range. And it’s different from the Hondas you’re familiar with.
For all intents and purposes, the 2020 Honda Clarity is a midsize family sedan. Thanks to its hybrid powertrain it gets outrageously good fuel economy. A 47-mile range per charge is enough to handle the daily drives of most.
The Clarity’s interior is upscale and comfortable with nice heated seats and lots of cargo space. According to Car and Driver, Clarity offers a composed ride with solid handling. Acceleration on the highway leaves something to be desired and it’s pricey for its class.
It doesn’t hurt that the Clarity has an impressive list of driver-assist features. It has standard adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, dual-zone climate control, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist. The infotainment system isn’t the fastest, but it does come with an 8-inch touchscreen and offers smartphone connectivity.
What else can you expect?
The 2020 Honda Clarity PHEV is available in all 50 states for lease and sale. It’s easy to refuel and recharge. It’s also a bit less expensive than the fuel cell models.
The plug-in hybrids are powered by an electric motor that gets 181 hp. Its battery pack is a 17.0-kWh lithium-ion. The gas engine is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that takes a backseat to the electric motor setup. It can reach 60 mph in 7.7 seconds with an overall output of 212 hp.
The ride is smooth and quiet, acceleration is quick, and it’s easy to drive. The steering is pretty accurate even if there’s not a lot of feedback or response. The Clarity takes corners well but feels heavily at times. The brakes get the job done.
As Edmunds points out, you’ll pay more for the Clarity than you will the Toyota Prius Prime. But the build quality of Clarity is better with faux wood and suede interior accents to lend it an upscale ambiance that most will appreciate. It also offers more room than the Prius Prime.
The 2020 Honda Clarity gets the important things right. It’s highly efficient with good acceleration and comfortable with a stylish interior. In getting those new to electric vehicles to give a plug-in hybrid a try, it’s a big step in the right direction. If you can look past a sluggish infotainment system and a bit of a lag getting up to speed on the highway, it’s a great vehicle that can save you money in the long run.