Help - Prius Prime vs. Clarity PHEV

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by My Name Is Zorro!, Feb 2, 2018.

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  1. Hi All,

    I currently have a new-gen Honda Civic and love it. However with my city driving I'd like something with better fuel economy.

    I was looking at the Prime, and felt:

    • Very bright LED headlights (the LED's on my Civic are just OK, not a very precise beam pattern);
    • Liked the 11" tablet screen;
    • Perception Toyota green technology is probably the most reliable;
    • Very good hybrid economy at 52 city.

    • Don't like Toyota dealerships (have tried buying one several times in the past):
    • Can't find any around North Texas area and that concerns me around ability to get service at any Toyota dealership;
    • Love the hatchback design as I usually fill up my Civic trunk but space is smaller on the Prime;
    • No Apple Car Play which I absolutely live by;
    • Only a 22 mile battery range.

    Then I recently came across the Clarity. I LOVE Honda as a car company and I like my local dealership. I thinks the Prime looks better, has better storage, better headlights, and would feel more different/new than going from one Honda to another, but I like my current Honda.

    If any of you have owned or driven a Prime, I'd really appreciate it if you could help compare/contrast the handling / ride / features of the two in terms of which one you like better and why. I am also concerned that Toyota as had a considerable amount of time to dial in the Prius, and Honda *may* just not me as competitive in this market.

    Thank you!
    Domenick likes this.
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  3. teedee

    teedee New Member

    I test drove the Prime and there's no comparison to the Clarity in all those areas. The Clarity interior is more spacious and has a more premium luxury feel than the Prime. Not to mention the quiet cabin. Clarity accelerates smoothly, handles better (especially in sport mode) and has enough power. I felt like the Prime was struggling. Carplay/Android Auto is pretty great for my long commute. If you get the Touring model, there are memory seats. There are a couple threads here that discuss the features in a lot more detail.

    I will say that the Prime drove better than other Prius models that I've tested.

    Since you are happy with your Civic, the Clarity will feel like an upgrade.
  4. teedee

    teedee New Member

    Plus don't discount the buying experience.

    I also test drove the Hyundai Ioniq and the sales guy was so horrible, I will never consider that brand again.
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  5. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Although I never test drove the Prime due to its looks and size, the Clarity has more than double the electric range of the Prime. To me that’s huge.
    Akinto, Chris Messer and WadeTyhon like this.
  6. There is only one Prime I could find here out of 8 local Toyota dealerships - and it was 45 miles away. That makes me wonder right off the bat. In calling or visiting dealers they didn't even want to talk to me about the Prime. All the Toyota dealerships I've ever been in over the years always seem second rate at best. It's been opposite in the Honda dealerships.

    I brought my Civic in for an infotainment update yesterday, and I noticed 3 Clarity's on the lot. Also seems like other local Honda dealerships have them in stock already. That makes me feel like there will be more local dealer support than the Prime.

    And although I know I am taking a step backwards on acceleration vs. my Civic, I still want to feel like I have *some* ability to accelerate and pass/quickly merge onto highways when needed.

    I appreciated the feedback on your experiences of the two!
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  8. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    I was in the same boat a few years ago. I had driven Toyotas for nearly a decade. Never once had a good dealer experience here in the Dallas area.

    None would sell me a Rav 4 EV since it was a compliance car only, and none had a Prius Plug-In on the lot. I finally gave up on toyota when I was looking into shipping a Rav 4 EV here and every dealer I spoke with refused to even look at the car. Several chevy dealers were autorized to work on the Spark EV and one dealer (classic chevy) was actually enthusiastic since they had never seen one before.

    North Texas Toyota dealers are anti-EV. Ive dealt with it personally. You don’t wanna deal with that. Don’t waste your time with them.

    The Honda dealers in DFW are keeping a healthy stock of the Clarity. Go for the Honda!
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  9. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    I have a wife and two kids so the extra cabin room was important. Also, the Clarity PHEV has a huge trunk and a passthrough to the cabin so losing the hatch wasn't as big a deal. The Prime can't even seat five people if necessary. I never test drove a Prime because the nearest one was 12 hours away, but the seats looked comfortable and the big center screen looked cool, but no Android Auto/Carplay really killed it for me. I want to use Google Maps, not whatever is built in and will go out of date in a few years. In a world where the Clarity doesn't exist the Prime would be my fallback option, but lucky for me the Clarity existed at just the right time.
    Domenick and dstrauss like this.
  10. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    The two cars are very different and fill different niches. For us, the Prime is just too small. We like to take road trips so our adult sized teenagers would be very uncomfortable in a Prime. The Prius is significantly smaller than the compact Toyota Corolla while a Clarity is a bit bigger than the full size Toyota Avalon. So if cabin comfort is important, go for the Clarity. If you can use the car in mostly EV mode, the Clarity provides a much longer range, without much loss to energy efficiency. If your daily driving is very long and mostly HV, then the Prius will provide better mileage. Everyone's individual circumstances are different so it's nice to have choices. Out of all the cars out there (of any type of propulsion), we found the Clarity to be ideal for our needs (daily drives are 100% EV). And if, God forbid, you should be in a serious accident, you'll fare better in the much larger Clarity.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  11. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    Another issue with the Prime - all Prius PHEVs for that matter - is the limiter on EV speed. With their system, at 62.5mph (100kmh), the ICE automatically kicks in (at least on the 2012-2016). For the Prime it's 75mph. That's misleading, though, because the torque just isn't there in either vehicle - for whatever the reasons. So try getting onto the freeway without the ICE popping on (in SoCal and other big urban areas, it probably doesn't matter since freeway speed is often less than what's found in a school zone).

    The Clarity, OTOH, particularly in Sport mode, gets up to speed in about 8 sec. Not Tesla-Gs, but not Prius piddling, either.
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  13. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Both Toyota and Honda cars are great. We've had heat experiences with both.

    I do miss the Prius hatchback and superior fold down seats. But the Prime trunk and weird floor design turned us off. Prime space wasn't too big a deal but seating for only four was unacceptable.

    Now that we have the Clarity it is obvious we made the right choice .For us the EV range is such that, barring the occasional long trip out of town, we won't be visiting gas stations more than once a year. The Clarity is far quieter than the Prius and the extra space is much appreciated.

    Looks are subjective but for us the Clarity is much better looking than the Prime. My wife wouldn't even get into the Prime after looking through the window.

    I must say though that the 2015 high beans were fantastic and I'm disappointed in the Clarity high beams. We have a hill to climb one mile from home where we must watch for deer crossing on the curvy road .
  14. Thanks everyone for your detailed responses. I appreciate it very much. Sounds like the Clarity is just a better car all the way around.
  15. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    Well, maybe. Do you have a family? The the Clarity is better. Do you commute a long way every day? The the Prius might be better. Do you really like Android Auto or Carplay? The you have to get the Clarity (although apparently Toyota finally caved so in a few years it may be a toss up).

    The Clarity makes a strong argument, but I can see some cases for the Prime.
  16. It's just my wife and I. I almost always have the trunk full in my Civic and it is 14.5 cubic feet. I need a big trunk.

    I do about 80/20 with 80% being urban city driving.

    I absolutely live by my Apple car play for nav, and that is a huge strike against the Toyota in my opinion.

    I like the futuristic looks of the Prime interior and the significant amount of info it conveys on the screens. I had a Mini so a speedo in the middle is no big deal for me.

    Acceleration is important to me and my concern is the slowness of the Prime would get old REAL fast (I understand the Clarity is slower than my Civic and am OK with that). I feel like the Prime may be a step back in comfort and such from even my Civic Touring. However I actually prefer the look of the Prime over the Clarity. I like the front of the Honda, but the back rear wheel is soooo ugly IMO.

    When in the city, the 47 mile range of the Honda will cover my driving much better than the 25 of the Prime.
  17. Adding to my post above - The Civic Touring is a SURPRISINGLY impressive car. I often have people in the car and they don't believe me when I tell them it's a Civic. I actually was going to buy a previous gen Accord Touring and on a whim tried the Civic - the Civic was the superior and nicer car. I don't want to take a step backwards in terms of comfort, luxury, quiteness, etc. with the Prime and I am concerned it is.

    I think I would really like the dash layout and large screen size on the Prime, but would quickly tire of the lack of acceleration and feeling that the car itself was a step backwards.
  18. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    The Civic is a remarkable achievement for Honda and the sales reflect that. The line is the best combination of value, performance, and quality today. The Clarity is a big car that weighs over 2 tons (big battery). It certainly won't be as nimble as your Civic. However, it's not a slouch either. Car and Driver measured a 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds, just a fraction slower than the turbo Civic ( ). A recent review by Car Gurus described handling of the Clarity like a slot car ( ).

    From my own experience, the Clarity has minimal body roll on curves and the steering is quick and precise. What is negatively impacting the car's handling is the OEM tires, which are designed to maximize fuel efficiency but they've received negative reviews for handling, bad weather traction, and braking. They are expensive tires so no doubt Honda chose them to maximize mileage and EV range. Once I replace them with decent tires, I have no doubt the Clarity's overall experience will shine on all points. Of course, high performance tires will impact the mileage negatively.
  19. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    I would be interested to hear your experience when you do this.
  20. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    It'll be a while. The OEM tires are OK and I'm not one to waste a new set of tires unless I feel they're really bad (Like the General OEM tires I had on a mini-van years ago. They were the lowest ranked tires in Consumer Reports and I found them to be squirrelly and giving long stopping distances. I changed them immediately and it was like night and day). Actually, the Clarity's Michelins are pretty good compared to other "green" tires. As a class, they just don't perform as well as regular A/S tires.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  21. I read the reviews on the OEM tires and they appear to be fairly poor in the rain. I would change them over as I tend to do on all my new cars with the tires of my choice. When it rains here, it is torrential downpours with flash flooding the norm.
  22. JyChevyVolt

    JyChevyVolt Active Member

    The Civic is very fuel efficient already. I say keep the Civic.
    Kailani likes this.
  23. I spend my life sitting at red lights or going a couple of hundred yards between lights for miles and miles and miles. It would be nice to be able to be at these red lights and not feel like I am wasting all my gas.

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