Consumer Reports - Clarity Much-Worse-Than-Average Reliability - Really?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Gearhead, Oct 24, 2018.

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  1. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

    According to CR - "The Clarity had much-worse-than-average reliability. Member-reported problems were electronic glitches that led to multiple warning lights when there wasn’t a problem, a faulty cabin temperature sensor, and the trunk failing to open. A Honda spokesman said the automaker has not seen the trunk problem in its warranty data. He said that Honda had issued two bulletins to dealers to handle the warning-light problem, and said it is working on guidance for dealers on how to handle the sensor problem."

    I'm interested in your experience. I've owned my Clarity since March and other than the HV range issue the car's been flawless and a great ride.

    After the CR road test review of the Clarity I lost a lot of faith in their testing. Now I have to wonder about their reliability data and analysis.
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  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Yes, Consumer Reports is not the favorite car testing magazine on this forum. Check out this thread.
  4. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    It's even worse. In their Youtube channel, they said the Clarity is the worst car of all for reliability:

    I have not had a single problem with my car after nearly a year. I think many of the complaints may be due to new owners who may be confused to the normal operation of the car so they reported things they didn't understand as defects in the CR survey. So many "issues" have been cleared up here in the forum once other owners had a chance to chime in. For example, I thought there was a problem with my gasoline hatch taking too long to open until I read about the pressure release. Now, I can see it works perfectly for a feature, not in most cars, that is meant to keep the gasoline usable for longer periods. That's the type of thing people might be reporting as defects until they understand the reason for the behavior.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  5. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

    Yes, the thread on CR predicting reliability with zero data points. I remember Elon getting a kick out of that same approach for the Model 3. So now CR has data that's better than Honda's own data (trunk failing to open). In other words people took their trunk opening problem to CR rather than the dealer. Maybe CR repaired it for them!
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  6. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    CR had lost its credibility with me long ago.

    As for the Clarity the only thing I consider a problem was the multiple warnings which were fixed under warranty by a simple reset.

    So far I have no reason to doubt the reliability of the Clarity.
    Texas22Step likes this.
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  8. Tahuna

    Tahuna Member

    I think a lot depends on your definition of reliability. I've had to take the car into the shop twice in the first 6 months - once for the issue with HV range being wrong, and once for the multiple warning issue. There's still an issue with remote start causing problems with Sirius XM, and Honda has known about that for years, but hasn't fixed it.

    None of these are what most people would call reliability issues, and I'm confident that my car will get me where I want to go. But I've never before had a car that had to be in the shop twice in the 6 months after I bought it. Honda never contacted me about it, even though they know it's an issue and they have service bulletins I had to call them, and I had to show them the service bulletin before they'd fix it. And how does something like the range issue ever get into the car in the first place? Did they never drive one of their cars and look at the range display?

    I agree that CR reviews have issues, and I love my Clarity and wouldn't give it up. But maybe calling Honda out on these issues will get them to take a look at the quality control on their electronics and get them to be a little more proactive on fixing issues when they come up.
    Randy Stegbauer, Kailani and marshall like this.
  9. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I too had the car in twice, once for HV and once for multiple warnings. But I don't consider the HV fix a reliability issue because I think Honda simply had a different view of what that value should show. It was a feature change in my mind.
    bfd likes this.
  10. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

    You raise a really good point. One reviewer said the Clarity is a car built by engineers for engineers. It definitely helps to visit this forum and learn about the many features and capabilities of the car which, if you don't understand the details, can look like bugs rather than features. Honda should consider the weak understanding of the car I've encountered with Sales and Service. That might explain some frustration on the part of owners having what they think is a problem with the car versus lack if understanding. Angry bees comes to mind. Still, CR represents their testers as engineers so they should do the leg work to find out what's really going on, especially on more advanced models.
    Daniel M W and Texas22Step like this.
  11. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    While I do think this is complete nonsense and that the numerous dash warnings/Chargepoint charging/HV mileage software glitches would be considered long term reliability issues, I do think that Honda spent too little time on the software for this car before they rolled it out. My 2012 Chevrolet Volt has better dash information than the Clarity. You can tell for each charging cycle (driving between charges) the kWh used and miles driven on battery, gasoline consumed and miles driven on gas, and as such mpg on gasoline and kWh/mile for battery as well as combined stats if you are interested in seeing hundreds of miles per gallon type numbers. The 2013 and forward Volts also show instantaneous kW power consumption and charging (regen). On the A and B trip meters, Volts track gallons of gas consumed (would be nice to also track kWh consumed). I've never reset my A trip meter, so it shows total miles and gallons of gas consumed, so it is pretty easy to approximate percentage of miles driven on electricity vs gas and how many gasoline miles are on the ICE. Honda could have spent a few minutes going through existing PHEV screens and information and at least tried to replicate this level of (or more) information to be supplied to the driver of the Clarity. All that said, the engineering of this car seems great. I'd kind of like to have more control when/how much the ICE runs, but truly that's more of a desire than a real need. I have burned so little gasoline in the first 2400 miles of driving (about 7 gallons of which at least 5 have been highway trips after exhausting battery) that I can't really complain about the amount of time the ICE has run so far. Still, I think the more information and control that could be shared with the driver of the car, the more likely drivers would appreciate the engineering behind the Clarity.
    DavidXC, Daniel M W, Vezz66 and 2 others like this.
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  13. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    Every person here who did not have plugs for PDI installed is considered a problem. Everyone has 1 problem with the HV mileage issue as well .. it's easy to show it does actually have worse than avg. I agree with the assessment . Also many reported a pillar rattle that is close to 3 problems each per vehicle which would equal 300 problems per 100.

    Of course the problem with CR is that they are all weighted the same . That is the real problem
  14. Phunny

    Phunny Member

    Anytime you have to take the car to the dealer for a repair, it's an issue.

    I am very nervous that there are software bugs deeper in the car that will affect long-term reliability. If the lights don't even work, I don't expect the algorithm to have the right data.

    I think Clarity shares the same Earth Dreams engine as the 2017 /2018 CRV, minus the Turbo. Could Clarity also have the fuel dilution problems? It's seems quite possible given that the engine often runs for only a few minutes during a trip.
  15. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    No one's going to know anything about reliability for another few years. Even then, the number of cars out there with the Clarity badge will remain small sample size theater. It's important to note sample flaws as anecdotal data - many have had something or other not that wasn't perfect at delivery. How many major repairs have been logged as of the past year? That's a little more important data, but we're not seeing those numbers. I give CR credibility, but I'd certainly question their methodology and sample size when it comes to making predictions about the population from an admittedly tiny sample.

    Our Clarity has been perfect in every way. We almost DON'T want to take it in - there's some notion that the dealer will figure out a way to change or "fix" some setting and things won't work the same anymore. I don't count software adjustments (with HV range and other issues) as major problems. A rattling window, or a loose piece of decoration might be a little more concerning if it's happening with frequency.

    We've had some reports of cars that kick into ICE/HV mode more frequently than seems necessary, and that would be a big concern if it affected many owners. It's still a PIA for those who can't get Honda to admit there's an issue, but it doesn't seem to be a general issue for many owners.

    So at the end, it seems like how these delivery issues are weighted - as mentioned by others it seems to be equally - is what creates the "low" rating.
  16. DVoran

    DVoran Member

    No “reliability” problems in over 8,000 miles but software design and information is below average for what we all expect these days. Would by nice if someone came up with a good smartphone based software that would plug right into the ODB outlet and bypass the automaker’s lack of software prowess. There’s just so much more information we drivers want that we know is there.
    Totally agree with the Volt’s more informative, intuitive and useful user interface. If it hadn’t been $5,000 more and a compact car, that would’ve made the difference. But at the end of the day the Clarity is the best “cheap” car I’ve ever owned and I’m laughing all the way to the bank. Hands down beat the value equation than my previous Mercedes Benz.

    Sent from my iPad using Inside EVs
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  17. KenG

    KenG Member

    They lost me a while back when they gave glowing reviews to the Renault Le Car....Hey CR.... see any on the road?

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs.... and my Clarity has been perfect since last March.
  18. They are full of crap, CR reliability ratings mean nothing except how high their readers IQ’s are. I have 10k miles, no issues other than minor things. I even decided not buy the extended warranty after the car proved to me that it was well built.
  19. ryd994

    ryd994 Active Member

    It is a fancy car with a lot of fancy technologies. All kinds of glitches can occur from all places. I can understand, because this is the first year Honda ramp up on this model.

    Honda is famous of putting innovative engineering solution into production. You might want to call those innovation "hacks". The reliability of these new technology can dip on the 1st gen. The oil dilution problem is a good example: Honda has naver used turbo so widely before. These hacks will mature in future iterations, and most bugs are easily fixable without hardware change.

    The real reliability for car, is that when need the car to move, it move. Never have any problem on this.

    Many reviews on Honda say, they are built by engineers, built for engineers. I like hacking my car, and I know how to troubleshoot glitches, and the most importantly, I know to RTFM
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
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  20. Texas22Step

    Texas22Step Well-Known Member

    IMHO, I believe that Honda put out the Clarity PHEV in all 50 US states, Canada and other countries, as the first foray into EV driving by the general public, where one just gets into a car and goes without worrying much about the details and statistics of operation.

    In my case, for example, I have some interest in these details, but ultimately still decided to buy a L2 charger that was hundreds of $ cheaper rather than more expensive, with WiFi and other features that would report some of these details. Yes, Honda could have included vehicle software reporting for every detail, but really why, if the car is intended to ultimately serve a broad swath of the driving public? Many people on the street don't even know the name of their representative in Congress, much less every detail of their car's operation. It is a tough balancing act for a PHEV manufacturer, particularly with early adopters wanting to know more about their EV's, but their true target audience not really demanding (or wanting to pay for) that information. Only time will tell whether Honda has gotten this right.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
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  21. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    The Clarity has an Atkinson Cycle engine, which is quite different from typical ICE cars including Honda's. I don't know about this particular engine but Atkinson engines as a group have turned out to be very reliable across multiple manufacturers. Honda generally builds some of the best gasoline engines out there (their big issue has been their automatic transmissions) so I don't expect there to be problems with this one because it's relatively simple compared to their new turbo engines. More than anything else, it's the automatic transmissions across all manufacturers that's the costly Achilles Heel for cars. The Clarity does not have a gear changing transmission at all.
  22. Tacoma Soccer Dad

    Tacoma Soccer Dad New Member

    CR has probably correlated early issues with long term reliability...go figure. I love my Clarity, but it's had some early glitches. I suspect the long term reliability will be fine, but I don't blame CR for warning consumers. They have limited information since it's a new model and the data they have suggests long term problems.

    I almost purchased a Prius Prime because of Toyota's reliability. After driving the Clarity, I decided to take a leap and purchase the car I wanted to drive and hope it would be reliable.

    For what it's worth, Honda is rated by CR as the 15th most reliable brand (out of 29). Below is some info from CR:

    "Honda: Honda’s reliability is bogged down by some of its new and redesigned models. The Odyssey minivan had much-worse-than-average reliability, with problems including the infotainment system, and door locking and unlocking. The CR-V SUV and the new Accord dropped to average, with problems including the infotainment system and interior rattles. Honda’s Clarity line of alternative-fuel cars had much-worse-than-average reliability. Reported problems included electronic glitches."
    Viking79 likes this.
  23. DaleL

    DaleL Active Member

    CR brags that they get reliability surveys from subscribers for 1/2 million vehicles. What they do not report is the number of surveys for each vehicle model and year. The Clarity is a low volume vehicle, 9,600 through August of this year. 17 million vehicles are sold in the USA each year. The CR vehicle survey includes models over a nine year period. "Consumer Reports obtains its reliability data from an Annual Questionnaire that is sent to members of and Consumer Reports magazine. In all, we received responses on over 500,000 vehicles in our latest survey, detailing 2000 to 2018 models."

    By simple arithmetic, assuming that the ownership of Claritys was representative, CR got responses for about 31 Claritys. (500,000 divided by 9 = 55,555 which is the survey responses for each model year. 9,600 divided by 17,000,000 times 55,555 = 31.37.)

    The Clarity PHEV has no safety related recalls. My Clarity was manufactured (As far as I know and disregarding the HV range issue.) without any defects.

    I just do not trust CR. Just because they do not accept advertising does not mean that they are unbiased.

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