Is the 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid a Good Car?

If you’re looking for a quality PHEV with a great driving range, the 2020 Honda Clarity should fit the bill.
Written by Zachary Morgan
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jul 8, 2022
If you’re sick of paying out the nose for gas and you’re thinking about buying a plug-in hybrid, the 2020
Honda Clarity
might be the car for you. It’s got a futuristic look, a great driving range, and starts at a surprisingly affordable $28,000!
A distinctly unique vehicle from the good folks over at
Honda
, the Clarity is a stylish, smooth-riding, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sedan with a touch of class. Want to know more? 
Well, strap in—
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2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Ever since the arrival of the legendary
Toyota Prius
in the late ‘90s, PHEVs have become a staple in the international auto market. 
The 2020 Honda Clarity, in particular, is a great addition to this ever-expanding catalog. It’s available as a plug-in hybrid sedan, a regular gas-powered sedan, or a super-futuristic hydrogen fuel-cell powered sedan (but the latter is only available in California)!
It might not be the most iconic PHEV on the market—and it’s a shame that only Golden State residents can enjoy that super cool hydrogen-powered model—but the 2020 Honda Clarity is still a great car to jump into the world of hybrids.

Pricing

The 2020 Honda Clarity PHEV is offered in two trim levels: Base and Touring. Pricing starts around $25,000 but can go as high as $30,000 for used models of either trim—not bad when you consider all the money you’re set to save on gas.
Remember, you could be eligible for over $4,000 in federal tax credits when you purchase a Clarity Hybrid, too!

Performance and fuel economy

The 2020 Clarity is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor hybrid system and a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery. In terms of fuel economy, the EPA reports that the Clarity achieves a combined gasoline fuel efficiency of 42 mpg, while the hybrid gas-electric mode more than doubles that at 110 MPGe. No matter which mode of propulsion you’re using, this thing just keeps going and going.
Furthermore, since the Clarity is a PHEV, it is capable of driving short distances using pure electric power. On a full charge, it’s capable of traveling 48 miles. That’s double the distance of a
Toyota Prius Prime
!
When it comes to charging time, the Clarity is capable of reaching a full charge in only 2.5 hours when using a Level 2 charger. You can also use a standard 120-volt household wall charger, but it will take around 12 hours for your Clarity to fully charge using this method.
As for highway performance, most of the Clarity’s appeal lies in its subtleness and lack of drama. Once you're behind the wheel, you’ll find that the Clarity operates just like a regular old family sedan. The ride is smooth and the handling is fluid. While the acceleration is nothing to write home about, it’s just enough to get the job done.

Exterior styling

There’s more than meets the eye with the Clarity’s body styling, as well. At first glance, it looks like just another sedan—one of countless others you probably see every day on your way to work. Once you get a little closer, though, you’ll notice subtle styling that wouldn’t look out of place on a sports car, with swoops and slopes and angles that give it a charm all its own.

Interior and comfort

The interior of the Clarity is nothing to shake a stick at, either. Some of the high points are the accessible ride height, handles in each doorway, and roomy cabin. The roofline is elevated, so you won’t bump your head getting into or out of the car. 

Technology

For the tech aficionados out there, the Clarity might seem a bit lacking. The included 8-inch touchscreen can be somewhat difficult to use, given how small the icons are. The graphics are a bit outdated, as well, and the volume slider can be frustrating to adjust. It is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, either via USB port or Bluetooth, but they don’t always interact very well with the Honda system onboard.

Warranty coverage

One thing that a lot of car buyers like to see is good warranty coverage. The standard Honda limited and powertrain warranties apply to the Clarity PHEV:
  • Limited warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first), battery included
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first)

Trim levels and options

The 2020 Clarity hybrid does not have a bevy of different trim levels to choose from. In fact, there are only two available: the Base and Touring. 
The base model gets you an 8-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats, automatic wipers, and the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features. 
The Touring tacks on leather seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and factory navigation.

The bottom line

The 2020 Honda Clarity is a bit of a sleeper on the PHEV market, but it’s a great way to ease yourself into the hybrid scene with an affordable, no-frills sedan. Sure, it’s not quite as glamorous as a fully-electric
Tesla
and it doesn’t have the same long-standing reputation as the
Prius
, but as long as you’re satisfied with it, it’s everything that it needs to be.

2020 Honda Clarity PHEV vs. 2020 Toyota Prius Prime

So, how does the 2020 Honda Clarity stack up against one of the most iconic hybrids in the business, the
Toyota Prius Prime
Well, it’s a bit of a barn burner! The Prius, as always, reigns supreme in the field of fuel economy, with a stunning 54 mpg on gas-power alone and a downright ridiculous 133 MPGe using gas and electric combined. The Clarity isn’t going down without a fight, though, as its 48 miles of electric-only driving range trounces the surprisingly puny 24 miles for the Prius Prime.
Really, it all comes down to what you need, want, and like. The Prius has captivated thousands of fans since its release over 20 years ago, but Honda has its share of devoted followers, too. If it helps, the vehicles cost about the same, although the Prius Prime trends toward the more expensive side.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
$31,000–$34,000
42 mpg
110 MPGe
48 miles
2.5 hours
3 years or 36,000 miles
2020 Toyota Prius Prime
$28,000–$38,000
54 mpg
133 MPGe
24 miles
2 hours
10 years or 150,000 miles
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2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid vs. 2020 Chevy Bolt EV

A Clarity contender from the fully-electric side of the ring, the 2020 Chevy Bolt is an EV that starts around $27,000.
The Bolt has one obvious advantage over the Clarity: it’s fully electric, requiring no gasoline at all. It has a mind-boggling fuel efficiency of 118 MPGe, and its total driving range can reach as high as 259 miles. On top of all that, it costs about as much as a Clarity, if not cheaper!
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
$31,000–$34,000
42 mpg
110 MPGe
48 miles
2.5 hours
3 years or 36,000 miles
2020 Chevy Bolt EV
$27,000–$35,000
N/A
118 MPGe (all electric)
259 miles
7 hours
8 years or 100,000 miles

How to save money on car insurance

Whether you eventually decide on a PHEV, EV, or regular old gas-guzzler, you’ll still have to protect your vehicle with a good car insurance policy.
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