Is the 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid a Good Car?

With an impressive all-electric range and a great driving demeanor, the 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is a top contender for an affordable hybrid sedan.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jul 12, 2022
Powered by gasoline, electricity, or fuel cell technology, the
2019 Honda Clarity
is a compelling plug-in hybrid-electric car with a great driving range, a stylish exterior, and an excellent driving demeanor. Best of all: It’s reliable and affordable.
Whether you’re looking for improved fuel economy, a better ride, or a well-built vehicle that’s solid and reliable, the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is a top contender for a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Plus, with a starting price of just $34,355, it comes with a substantially lower price tag than many other PHEVs or solely electric cars, offering stiff competition for brands like Hyundai and Toyota.
If you’re keen to learn the details on the 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid,
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2019 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid

The Clarity closely resembles newer
Honda Civic
models, but with a more upscale cabin and significantly better fuel economy. From its first release in 2017 to its departure in 2021, the Clarity has remained relatively unchanged yet still boasts a solid plug-in hybrid electric vehicle through and through. 
The Clarity is also offered with two other powertrain options—hybrid-electric and fuel cell — for drivers to choose what suits them best. It has a substantially longer all-electric driving range than some competitors, like the
Prius Prime
, making it more appealing for drivers who want to save on fuel costs. 

Pricing

The starting price for the 2019 Clarity PHEV is less than some other plug-ins at just $34,355 for the entry-level sedan—and it comes equipped with almost everything you could want in a gas-saving plug-in hybrid vehicle. 
If you’re in the market for a plug-in Clarity, two trims are offered: the base Sedan, starting at $34,355, and the scaled-up Touring Sedan, starting at $37,555. Whatever model you choose, the savings still add up! 
Plus, all Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid models are eligible for a whopping $7,500 federal tax credit, bringing the base price of the Clarity below $30,000. 

Performance and fuel economy

One of the big reasons plug-in hybrids haven’t taken off is because their driving ranges were short, and you compromised a substantial amount of features for fuel economy—but when drivers realize how little range they need, the game changes. For anyone who wants to dip their toes into the EV market without full commitment, a plug-in hybrid vehicle like the Honda Clarity PHEV does one heck of a job with practically no trade-offs.
The mid-size sedan packs a 1.5-L four-cylinder engine and electric motor, a 17 kWh lithium-ion battery, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). With 212 horses and 99 lb-ft of torque, you may not be trekking through rugged terrain in your Clarity, but you can achieve a fair bit of power for every driving condition. And like most other PHEVs, the Clarity leverages the one-pedal driving function that uses the powertrain's regenerative braking technology to handle most braking duties.
Compared to other plug-in hybrids, the Clarity achieves a better fuel economy on both gasoline-only and combined gas-electric fuel economy of 42 mpg and 110 MPGe, respectively. And with 47 miles of pure electric driving range, it’s suitable for most local driving and commutes. 
And if you happen to run out of electric power mid-errand, don’t sweat it—the 6.6-kW onboard charger can juice your Clarity up in just 2.2 hours using 240 volts of electricity.
While the Clarity may not be as engaging to drive as other plug-in hybrids of electric vehicles, it’s well-suited for commuters who aren’t interested in pure electric but still want the fuel savings to add up. 
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Exterior styling

Compared to other PHEVs and EVs on the market, the Clarity isn’t exceptionally stylish or eye-catching and is slightly clunky compared to other more refined vehicles. However, what it lacks in exterior personality, it makes up for elsewhere. 
That said, it does boast a bold, aerodynamic body design that helps improve driving efficiency and includes airflow-enhancing rear air-curtain ducts. And with full LED headlights and taillights, road conditions look brighter and clearer, no matter the circumstance.  

Interior and comfort

The Clarity’s interior is a perfect marriage between hybrid efficiency, comfort, and luxury
It may not appear large on the outside, but it’s roomy, with well-shaped front seats that can accommodate most adults. Compared to the
Honda Accord
, the Clarity’s wheelbase is significantly shorter, with almost four inches less back seat legroom. 
And with a full-size trunk boasting 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space (or 439 liters), there’s plenty of room for relatively large cargo. With extra trunk space and a T-shaped center console, its utility is equal parts user-friendly and pure luxury. 

Technology

If you’re a tech fan looking for the ultimate interior functionality, the Clarity comes packed with loads of standard features like other vehicles in Honda’s lineup.
You’ll find loads of high-tech features for your drive — push-button start, an 8" Display Audio System with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-speaker audio system, and more. You’ll also find Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, Honda LaneWatch blind-spot display, and HondaLink remote climate pre-conditioning.
But that’s not it. The Clarity PHEV also comes packed with a solid lineup of Honda Sensing driver assistance features standard in both trims, These include: 
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system
  • Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) system
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS®)
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) 
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (LSF)

Warranty coverage

Where warranty is concerned, Honda offers a decent limited warranty. However, unlike Toyota and Hyundai, Honda doesn’t provide complimentary scheduled maintenance with any model of the Clarity. Here’s what their warranty covers:
  • Limited warranty: three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Drivetrain warranty: five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Corrosion warranty: 5 years, unlimited miles
  • Hybrid/electric components: eight years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Roadside assistance: three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first)
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Trim levels and options

The 20219 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is available in two distinct trim levels: Sedan and Touring Sedan
Even the base Sedan is adequately equipped with every feature a driver could want — heated front seats, LED brake lights, daytime running lights and taillights, smart wiper system, steering wheel-mounted controls, steering wheel-mounted deceleration paddles, tire pressure monitoring system, and much more.
Upgrade to the Touring trim level, and you’ll also get these features:
  • 8" Display Audio System with Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System
  • HomeLink® remote system
  • Leather-trimmed seating surfaces 
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • SiriusXM™ satellite radio

The bottom line

If you’re looking for a peppy and affordable sedan, the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is a strong contender. However, it may not be the best option if you’re looking for something more futuristic or spacious. 

2019 Honda Clarity PHEV vs. 2019 Toyota Prius Prime

The
Toyota Prius
is one of the original hybrid vehicles, but the 2019
Prius Prime
, which started at around $28,000, stands out with greater efficiency — but how does it stack up against the Clarity PHEV?
The Prius Prime packs a 1.8-L four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, a battery pack, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that maximizes the Prius's efficiency. However, its powertrain is less impressive and relatively slow, but it seamlessly switches between three driving modes (Power, Normal, and Eco). 
The Prius Prime has the Clarity beat in terms of fuel economy, offering a respectable 54 mpg combined and 133 MPGe combined gas and electric. Plus, it has a slightly faster charging time of just two hours. And with more than a $6,000 price difference, the Prime may be better suited to those sticking to a strict budget. But if you’re looking for a larger car with more rear legroom and cargo space, the Clarity PHEV is your car.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2019 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
$34,355
42 mpg
110 MPGe
47 miles
2.2 hours
8 years or 160,000 miles
2022 Toyota Prius Prime
$28,305
54 mpg
133 MPGe
42 miles
2 hours
10 years or 150,000 miles
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2019 Honda Clarity PHEV vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

The
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
is another one of the Clarity’s biggest competitors. With a starting price of just $26,305, it’s a much more attractive price point for people looking to get into the EV market without paying a fortune. 
With three trim levels to choose from, there’s something for everyone with Hyundai’s Ioniq PHEV. And thanks to a 1.6-L four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Ioniq PHEV offers a respectable fuel economy in gas-only and hybrid modes. 
The EPA estimates a combined fuel efficiency of 52 mpg on gas-only, while combined gas and electric more than doubles that at 119 MPGe. However, when you compare that to the fuel economy of the Clarity PHEV, it’s not a huge difference — about 10 miles for both sides. 
And like the Clarity, the plug-in hybrid powertrain means the Ioniq PHEV can operate for short distances on all-electric with a total electric driving range of 29 miles — a far cry from the Clarity’s 47 all-electric miles. 
While the Ioniq boasts plenty of attractive features, the price difference means the Ioniq may be more suited for those on a budget. However, if you’re willing to shell out the extra cash (remember the federal tax credit), the Clarity PHEV is well worth it.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2019 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
$34,355
42 mpg
110 MPGe
47 miles
2.2 hours
8 years or 160,000 miles
2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
$26,305
52 mpg
119 MPGe
29 miles
2.25 hours
10 years or 100,000 miles

How to save money on car insurance

If you’re shopping around for a hybrid to cut costs on
car expenses
, you’re not alone — rising gas prices are making it increasingly unaffordable to drive. But when you get behind the wheel of the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, you may be cutting fuel costs, but you likely aren’t cutting insurance costs. Insuring a hybrid can be more expensive than insuring a gas-powered Honda, but there’s one thing on your side:
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