Consumer Reports Review of Clarity

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by NJClarity, Jul 6, 2018.

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  1. NJClarity

    NJClarity Member

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  3. Tahuna

    Tahuna Member

    The review seems pretty accurate to me. I do like my Clarity, but it has some shortcomings. (Of course, every car does - I haven't found a perfect car yet.) I have no trouble with the shifter buttons since I drive it every day, but this is the only car I've ever owned where I had to explain to someone else how to put it into reverse. And the missing blind spot detection is baffling, along with rear crossing detection. My wife's Honda CR-V has both, and they work great. Don't know why they didn't put that on the Clarity.
  4. Carro con enchufe

    Carro con enchufe Active Member

    I used to have to explain to people how to put my Nissan Versa 6 speed into reverse. The Clarity is much easier than a stick with hidden shifting switch. LOL
  5. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    CR's mileage measurement is worse than Car and Driver's. C and D uses a standard highway loop going 75 mph (and got 46 mpg while Volt got 37 mpg doing the same loop) so it should be worse than CR's, and yet it's better. Perhaps the difference is C and D had the battery charged and CR's didn't?
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  6. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    Same here with our Odyssey vs our Clarity. I think the answer is in the retail price of the Touring - they clearly fought to get to $29,999 AFTER the Federal $7500 tax credit for advertising purposes, and some tings ahd to give (cross/side traffic alert system, radio knobs, lumbar support, etc.).
    Ken7, KentuckyKen and Johnhaydev like this.
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  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I would take with more than a few grains of salt any numbers reported from testing a plug-in EV by Consumer Reports.

    CR's first driving test of the Tesla Model S reported an EV range substantially lower than the EPA rating. It wasn't until quite a few paragraphs into the article, as I recall about mid-way down the 2nd page of a two-page article, where they stated that they only charged the car to 80% because that's what the manual recommended for daily charging!

    Who would plan to drive a BEV a distance which would challenge its range, yet not charge it to maximum before leaving on such a trip? And even that aside, what really torqued me off about CR's highly misleading range rating was that they reported their lowballed range rating in the first sentence or two of the article, and (if I recall correctly) mentioned it again further down the first page, yet CR didn't report that they only charged the car to 80% until much further down in the article! And everyone knows that all but the shortest news articles are written with the expectation that many readers will quit reading before getting to the end.

    If CR decided to limit the charge for whatever reason, didn't they have a responsibility to explicitly state that fact every place they mentioned the range that they got? Would it have been so hard to write "220 miles (with an 80% charge)" instead of just "220 miles"?

    But wait, the story gets even worse: A few days later, I went back and tried to find the reference in the story to an 80% charge, but I found the article had disappeared behind a paywall (the full article was apparently offered for free online for just the first few days after publication), and in its place was a far shorter summary article. That summary mentioned the lowball range rating, but omitted any mention of the fact that CR charged the Model S to only 80%!

    Anyway... because of those and other experiences I've had with how CR rates plug-in EVs: When it comes to the subject of this thread, I would certainly be far more inclined to believe a report from Car and Driver. Who knows what strange or bizarre setup CR used to test the Clarity?

    FWIW: It's not that I question CR's objectivity when it comes to rating plug-in EVs; it's that I question their competence and understanding of EVs.

    "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -- Hanlon's Razor

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  9. Tangible

    Tangible Active Member

    I think CR made the same mistake many other reviewers do: driving the battery down to zero and then running on the ICE alone. This leads to complaints about the noisy low-power engine.

    Experienced Clarity drivers who know they’re embarking on a longer trip put the car into HV mode while there’s still plenty of battery power. This provides a much more pleasant driving experience.

    I also think their criticism of handling is too harsh. It’s no sports car, but I wouldn't call it mushy.

    CR criticized what they call the horizontal bar blocking part of the rear window. To me, this is a glass half full/half empty observation. I think of the area below the bar as a useful extra, and the area above it as an adequately sized complete window.
    LARRY FERRELL and NJClarity like this.
  10. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    This is a bit of an aside of the thread but it seems that Tesla's recommendation to charge the car to 80% for everyday driving should apply to the Clarity too. I know for a fact that Tesla's battery management system keeps an upper buffer when the system stops charging because they can extend the EV range through an over-the-air update for emergencies. The 80% recommendation correlates to research on Li ion batteries to keep the charge around 50% for maximum battery longevity. The worst thing you can do for longevity is to fully charge and fully discharge between cycles. For devices like laptops, it's always recommended to charge them frequently but not fully and never allow them to deplete if possible. Based on that, I've been been charging my Clarity to 80-85% for everyday use and rarely allowing it to drop below 40% except during road trips. I know this won't work for many but I do multiple short drives (5-15 miles each) each day so I just charge between each run.
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  12. Emanuel Green

    Emanuel Green Member

    I assume you're referring to the events referenced in this article. In that case, the vehicles in question were ones with 75kWh battery packs, but software-limited to 60kWh. For the emergency, Tesla remotely unlocked the 75kWh battery capacity, which normally they would have charged for.

    So while Teslas probably do have some amount of upper buffer for battery health, as far as I know it can't be unlocked except in this one very specific configuration.
  13. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the clarification. Wow, that's pretty crazy that Tesla included all those extra cells for the lower range car. That's definitely the one the buy because the battery will last a lot longer than the full cost 75 kWh version when you're only using 80% of the range or less all the time. Nonetheless, I have confidence that Tesla keeps a significant upper limit buffer for all their cars. Even with that, they do recommend charging to only 80% for everyday driving to improve battery longevity.
  14. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Not really. There's always some difference between usable capacity and full capacity in a battery pack, but in a BEV that reserve is going to be a fairly small percentage of total capacity. It may be a far larger percentage of total capacity in a PHEV. (Some claim that in the Chevy Volt, the reserve is 30% when the car is new.) I agree that even in the Clarity PHEV the pack should not be charged to more than 80% of full capacity for daily use, but there may be a rather large discrepancy between what your instrument panel shows as "80%" and what is actually 80% of the full battery capacity. The Clarity PHEV may well be engineered so that even when the instrument panel reads "100% charge", there is still a sufficient buffer in the pack to prevent rapid aging, at least when the car is new.

    Unfortunately, this is a very complex issue with no clear-cut answers. EV makers don't give us ordinary mortals the actual figures for their EV battery packs' actual full capacity and usable capacity, nor info on how the packs handle loss of capacity thru aging. Sadly, that info is held as trade secrets. :(

    Johnhaydev likes this.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    It was a marketing ploy. Tesla sold Model S (and maybe Model X?) 75 kWh cars electronically limited to 60 kWh at a lower price than the MS75, with the enticement that they could later be upgraded to MS75 for a fee, unlocking the "extra" pack capacity.

    You're correct to say that those packs would last longer than the older, true MS60 packs, because of the much larger buffer. Of course, the tradeoff for that is the lower range limit. And in general Tesla's battery packs age very slowly, so I'm not sure accepting the lower range is that good a deal. My opinion only; YMMV.

  16. NJClarity

    NJClarity Member

    I agree 100%!
  17. Texas22Step

    Texas22Step Well-Known Member

    This CR "review" seems to me (as a pretty satisfied Clarity owner) to be full of very subjective terms (such as "clumsy," "confusing," "predicted reliability," and the like) and misleading (at best) information that puts the top Clarity MSRP at $58,490, even though the mainstream product and the only Clarity available for sale in all 50 states (the PHEV version) tops out at about $37,490 MSRP (even before the federal tax credit and any other state incentives). This "comparison" with the offerings from Toyota and Chevrolet (none of which are fuel cell cars) leaves readers thinking that Honda wants up to $58,490, while a "comparable" car from other manufacturers is $20,000 less, when in fact the Clarity BEV & Fuel Cell versions are "lease only" vehicles available only in a handful of states.
  18. Carro con enchufe

    Carro con enchufe Active Member

    I saw the same issue in a Car Conections review, that they lump all 3 clarity’s in the same review, though virtually no one will get the FC or BEV versions, and then complain extensively about the lack of range in the bev or lack of trunk space in the FC. confusing to a reader unfamiliar with the phev
  19. Tangible

    Tangible Active Member

    It’s Honda’s fault, really, for giving the same name to three totally different cars. This inevitably leads to a lack of clarity (ha ha) in the reviews. The public is confused enough about what a PHEV is without the manufacturer making it worse.
    insightman likes this.
  20. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I see what you did there. ;)
  21. I used to stick a picture of where R was on my stick shift 6-speed Sentra Spec-V for valet parking after I changed the stock shift knob (which has the pattern). The R of Sentra is at the lower-right while my 6-speed Miata is at upper-left, seems the manufacturers can't come up with same scheme.
  22. neal adkins

    neal adkins Active Member

    I respect consumer reports opinions. But bear in mind that the clarity is a very complex car and some features take time to understand. I definitely disagree with some of the reviews stating the claritys handling is clumsy. I drove on many different roads and loved the handling. No it doesn't corner like a gocart but definately was smooth and easy to brake and control when entering a curve. using the regen paddle was cool to assist slowing the car down. The steering is very excellent.

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