HondaClarity is a silent ride with polarizing styling. The sedan looks and feels like a luxury brand, and is quite a shift from the Hondas we know and love.
A new kind of Honda
eco-mindedsedan is available nationally as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or a hydrogen fuel cell lease-only model in California.
The Golden State is the only state with enough hydrogen infrastructure to handle the model. “Since the fuel cell is used to power an electric motor, the Clarity drives and feels like a battery-powered EV, and you can fill the hydrogen fuel tank in just a few minutes,” according to
The 2021 Honda Clarity features a 1.5L inline-4 hybrid engine and front-wheel drive. With an impressive range, the plug-in hybrid sports a 181 hp electric motor with a 17.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Car and Driverexplain that “the car's gas engine, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, serves mainly as a generator for the battery and rarely drives the front wheels directly.”
Drivers can expect a 48-mile all-electric range for the PHEV with a combined horsepower of 212. The plug-in hybrid can reach 60 mph in just 7.7 seconds.
Drawing electricity from a fuel cell, the hydrogen-powered Clarity cranks out 174 hp with 221 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can expect the Clarity plug-in to fully charge in 12 hours using a 120-volt outlet and only 2.5 hours using a 240-volt source.
The hydrogen-powered Clarity has a 360-mile range, depending on how and where you drive. “When you lease a fuel-cell Clarity, Honda provides a fuel card good for $15,000 worth of hydrogen,” Car and Driver tells us.
As far as the plug-in’s EPA, drivers will get about 110 MPGe considering electricity and gas together. And the fuel-cell Honda Clarity has a combined MPGe of 68.
Exterior and interior styling
The Clarity’s exterior integrates black plastic trim, rounded edges, and sharp creases to stand out in a crowd. Fortunately, most design elements provide functionality, contributing to the sedan’s advanced aerodynamics and fuel economy.
The rear slanted window may remind you of a hatchback, but we promise it’s a sedan. The front of the car is also styled with boomerang-shaped DRLs and elongated headlights.
The 2021 Honda Clarity offers buyers a spacious and comfy cabin with low-set expansive windows. A faux suede dash and soft leather seating support a modern and elegant interior. Unlike the Honda Accord, the hybrid can accommodate large adults in its contoured front seats due to its short wheelbase.
While rear-seat passengers may feel a bit close to the roof, overall the five-seater provides an ample amount of space per row. Luckily, outside noise can barely be heard in the cabin. However, the ride suffers from a soft suspension that’s problematic over large bumps.
The plug-in hybrid has 16 cubic feet in the trunk, while the fuel-cell version only offers 12. The infotainment system is a bit cumbersome, with a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also lacks a volume knob.
Kelley Blue Book (KBB), “Honda has replaced the traditional shift lever with a row of buttons for engaging the gears. It’s a clever way to save space in the center console and also looks quite cool.”
If you’re looking for navigation and audio, check out the large touchscreen above the gear selector. According to Car and Driver, “There are two USB ports: a 1.5-amp input for use with smartphone integration and a regular 1.0-amp input for audio playback and charging.” The fuel cell and plug-in hybrid version of the Touring both offer factory navigation.
How much will the 2021 Honda Clarity cost?
Starting at $34,995, you can get your hands on the 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, which includes the $995 destination fee. The Touring version starts around $37,595, and both models are eligible for the $7,500
federal tax credit.
The Clarity Fuel Cell is available for $59,485, though you can’t actually buy it.
According to KBB, “Honda offers a 3-year lease requiring $2,878 due at signing and $379 a month. The lease includes $15,000 worth of hydrogen over the duration of the lease and is only offered in select areas of California.” Buyers can also receive California’s $4,500 Clean Vehicle Rebate credit.
Edmunds recommends going with the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid instead of the innovative fuel-cell version. This option gives drivers the most flexibility, as hydrogen infrastructure can be limited and inconvenient.
Unfortunately, the 2021 Honda Clarity will be the last one, as the car was discontinued after the 2021 model year.