Honda Clarity vs. Insight: What's the Better Choice?

With two great hybrid options from Honda, which 2021 model is best? Check out what we liked, didn't like, and if one really does outshine the other in a Honda Clarity vs. Insight comparison.
Written by Elaine Duvet
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jun 5, 2022
Do you often find yourself in stop-and-go traffic in the city? Or venturing out on long weekend road trips just to try wild blueberry waffles across the bay? Sounds like you’d enjoy the
hybrid
life. And if you’re looking at the Honda Clarity vs. Insight, you might have a hard time deciding. 
With a reputation soaked in reliability and practicality, which
Honda
is the better choice from the
Japanese automaker
Jerry
, the
car ownership super app
, breaks it down.

Honda Clarity’s range and performance

When it comes to the Honda Clarity vs. Insight, both Hondas feature 1.5L inline-four hybrid engines, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT), and front-wheel drive.
The 2021 Honda Clarity is a balanced ride with a decent electric range. According to
U.S. News
, “It is available throughout the country as a plug-in hybrid, and California residents have the option of leasing a hydrogen-powered fuel-cell model.” As a PHEV, the vehicle offers a 48-mile all-electric range and competitive fuel economy.
The Clarity plug-in hybrid is powered by a 181 hp electric motor with a 17.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. “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,”
Car and Driver
tells us. 
It takes 7.7 seconds for the plug-in hybrid to hit 60 mph, with a combined 212 hp. Drawing electricity from a fuel cell, the hydrogen-powered Clarity cranks out 174 hp. 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 claims to have an EPA of 360 miles, but this number can fluctuate depending on how and where you drive. And according to Car and Driver, “When you lease a fuel-cell Clarity, Honda provides a fuel card good for $15,000 worth of hydrogen.”
As far as the plug-in’s EPA, drivers will get about 110 MPGe considering electricity and gas together. The fuel-cell Honda Clarity trails behind with a combined MPGe of 68.

Honda Insight’s range and performance

The 2021 Honda Insight offers impressive fuel economy and a pleasant driving experience. It reminds us of the practical and roomy Honda Civic sedan, but with a seamless hybrid system. 
“The crucial difference is the Insight’s combination of a gasoline engine and electric motors, which supply power in a non-traditional way in the name of efficiency,”
Car and Driver
notes. 
Quicker than the average hybrid, the Insight is powered by 151 hp and can jump to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. With a quiet and refined powertrain, the vehicle’s gas engine kicks in seamlessly when prompted. We wouldn’t consider it a sporty ride by any means, but the handling is solid, the steering is quick and the suspension absorbs bumps well. 
As we’ve seen with other hybrids, though it remains confident, the predictable brake pedal is a bit clunky. The LX and EX trims get an EPA of 55 mpg in the city and 49 mpg on the highway. And the well-equipped Insight Touring offers 51 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. 

Inside the Honda Insight

The Honda Insight sports a polished design that feels more refined than its sister Civic. But unfortunately, the driver’s seat doesn’t offer adjustable lumbar support. 
According to Car and Driver, “The Insight's battery pack is located under the rear seat, so it doesn't infringe on cargo capacity at all; the rear seats still fold mostly flat to accommodate larger items.” 
Since the Insight has a separate trunk, its cargo areas are easier to load, feature organizational bins and the center console is also useful for holding your smaller personal items.
If you’re looking for info regarding the speed limit or fuel economy, the digital gauge in the instrumental panel will help you out. Though modern, the infotainment system has complicated menus and also lacks a tuning knob.
With the lower-trim Insight LX, you’ll get a 5.0-inch screen that doesn’t even come with SiriusXM. For an 8.0-inch touchscreen with lots more features, you’ll need to pay extra for the EX and Touring models.

Inside the Honda Clarity

The Honda Clarity’s cabin is comfortable, practical, and roomy. With a shorter wheelbase than the Honda Accord, the hybrid can still accommodate large adults in its contoured front seats
The five-seater does provide a good amount of space per row, but folks in the backseat may brush their head against the ceiling.
In the fuel-cell car, drivers can expect 12 cubic feet in the trunk, while the plug-in hybrid offers 16 cubic feet. The standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 
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. 

Honda Clarity vs. Insight: Does one come out on top?

The 2021 Honda Insight has a starting price of $23,130, while the 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid starts at $33,400. 
The Insight provides drivers with high quality and exceptional value. It was even named the 2021 Best Hybrid and Electric Car for the Money by U.S. News. It’s got awesome gas mileage, fast acceleration, and lots of room for cargo and passengers. Not to mention a ton of standard safety technology. 
However, it’s still a
compact car
and lacks athleticism. And under stress, the gas engine does have a tendency to produce a loud drone. If you don’t have a need for speed and want a practical hybrid, the 2021 Honda Insight is a great option. 
On the other hand, it's hard to beat a plug-in range like the Honda Clarity’s. While it’s not a Tesla, for the price, we’d take the balanced ride and handling any day. But it did rank lower when it comes to reliability. 
While the 2021 Insight received five out of five stars from the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
, the Honda Clarity has yet to be tested.
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