KBB will spend a year figuring out if Honda's PHEV is the perfect commuter car
The Honda Clarity line is supposed to be the automaker's big push into making alternative fuel vehicles more than a limited experiment for a few hundred customers. You can have the, um, alternative-looking Clarity as a full electric or a hydrogen-fueled vehicle, at least in California. The Plug-in Hybrid is the only 50-state Clarity and that's what KBB.com is testing for a year.
In a twist, KBB decided to give the Clarity PHEV testing duties to one of their employees with a 100-mile daily commute to assess the Honda as something to sit in while you stare at traffic for several hours a week. It's unclear if they were inspired by this bit from the Southern California Honda dealers that's been floating around for a few months now.
The Honda Clarity PHEV, which went on sale at the end of 2017, gets a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine tied to an electric motor for a combined output of 212 horsepower. A 17-kW battery provides an EPA-estimated 47 miles of electric-only range and Honda says it will charge from empty in less than 3 hours with a 240-volt Level 2 charger. The higher spec Touring version goes for $37,520 before local and federal incentives – of which the Clarity still qualifies for the full $7,500 IRS tax credit. While it has a nicely appointed interior, the Clarity misses out on some of the newer technology the Accord and Insight hybrids have adopted (like a volume knob!). Neither of those cars, however, say "different" with exterior styling.
But now that the Chevrolet Volt has ended production, the Clarity PHEV could be the pick for people looking at a mainstream sedan while unsure if they can commit to a full electric for their commuting duties.