Help us write a Clarity Plug-In Hybrid review

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Domenick, Aug 14, 2018.

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  1. Ok, we've all seen any number of Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid reviews. Some of you have even written up your own mini-reviews.

    Now, the InsideEVs/ staff have one for a few days to review, but instead of doing the ordinary thing, we thought that, since we have this great group of owners here, we could lean on your knowledge.

    So, to get the ball rolling, here are a couple questions:
    What should he know about the car?
    What would you like to see mentioned/discussed in a review?
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  3. iluvscuba

    iluvscuba Active Member

    I have watched and read almost everything I can find regarding the Clarity PHEV. One of the things I found is most of the youtube video about this car has wrong information or mis-conception about the car (especially those video from dealers). So the first thing this reviewer needs to do is to get all his/her information correct, then s/he can get into the good and the bad of the car, don't just do good or bad, do both as I really hate reading/watching a review and it's either a sales or a hatchet job.

    I will start:

    - Make sure to get the Econ, Normal, Sport driving mode right especially all the quirks and nuance.
    - Make sure s/he understands the HV and HV-Charge can be used on all three of the above driving mode
    - This car can be driven like a regular car but you can maximize the range by following some of the rules like turning on HV on highway if you will exceed the EV range or preserve battery if you have a mountainous terrain
    DaleL, Chooch, insightman and 5 others like this.
  4. GV Ottawa

    GV Ottawa Member

    I would also mention the benefits of the regenerative braking / paddles, the 2.5 hour charge time with a level 2 charger, and the real-world all electric range that frequently exceeds the spec given by Honda!
    JyChevyVolt, Chooch and Domenick like this.
  5. Clarity Dave

    Clarity Dave Member

    Bits and pieces that come to mind from my experience of the car (and reading this forum):
    - Sort out the alphabet soup of the driver assist features. I think of them as two pairs, a safety feature on by default and a convenience feature off by default:
    * CMBS (collision mitigation braking system) vs ACC (adaptive cruise control)
    * RMD (road departure mitigation) vs LKAS (lane keeping assist system)
    - Those regenerative braking paddles. After a friend told me about the manual shifting paddles on newer Accords and Civics, the use of '+' and '-' made more sense to me.
    - The usefulness of Brake Hold. I bless the feature every time I'm waiting in line.
    Chooch and Domenick like this.
  6. Zor

    Zor Member

    To add on to Brake Hold, there is a Hill Hold that is a hidden feature that doesn't appear to be mentioned in the manual. If you come to a stop on a hill and release the brake you do not roll backwards until you tap the gas.

    The Clarity is really designed is a mid commuter car for people with 48 mile roundtrips or more if they have access to a charger at work. The car dose well in stop and go. You are likely to see low 60 miles of pure electric with stop and go traffic between 30-50 mph assuming a slightly gentle food on the gas and break.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
    Domenick likes this.
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  8. Peter CC

    Peter CC New Member

    One pedal driving:
    Select Sport Mode
    Pull back on deceleration "-" paddle selector four times for maximum effect.
    The vehicle will remember Sport Mode from your most recent drive, however the paddle process has to be repeated every time the "Drive" Shift button is selected, e.g. from "Park" to "Drive" or "Reverse" to "Drive".
    Review the "Deceleration Paddle Selector" section of the Owner's manual, page 390 in my electronic copy for more details regarding when the vehicle will override your deceleration wishes.
    In this Sport/deceleration ("-" x 4) mode, fully releasing the accelerator provides substantial deceleration.
    Be aware that although your vehicle may be decelerating rapidly, your brake lights will not be illuminated. This may startle or confuse a driver following you, especially if they are following closely.
    Domenick likes this.
  9. Odobo

    Odobo Active Member

    I think it would be good to do a more straight forward comparison between the clarity, volt and Prius prime in terms of road noise (with and without the engine kicks in), space in the cabin (how people can/cannot fit in the back seat comfortably) and the trunk space.

    Clearly list the standard features (Honda sense, large screen on the prime, etc) on the cars would also help the potential buyer to understand what they can get without paying extra

    Hell do a 1/4 mile drag race if you can to show people how fast/slow the acceleration is on these car :p
  10. Ordell98

    Ordell98 New Member

    Weirdly I would lean LESS on all of the cool modes/features, and MORE on the straight basics of this vehicle: Its size, its range, its cost (with credits) relative to competitors. A lot of the "sport-eco-HV-hv charge" details are great (and I use them!) but they make the car sound a lot more complex than it needs to be. The driveability, the plug range, the interior size, the trunk: These bread and butter items are what matters to most readers/buyers more than the ability to hypermile like a pro.
  11. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    In a Clarity review, I would focus more on the things folks can’t get from the owner’s manual, like the driving experience and ergonomics, etc. For me, a review does not need to teach folks how to drive the car, it needs to let folks know what to expect about ownership if they buy it.

    Positives in my experience/opinion:

    The Clarity is a joy to drive; it’s a responsive, peppy, comfortable car that is easy to get into and out of.

    There is great view out when driving, and the rear camera gives a great view to the rear when backing.

    The car has lots of cool features; read the owner’s manual and you’ll get a lot more out of the vehicle!

    It has a versatile set up for charging and is reasonable to charge with either 120V or 240V power.

    The Clarity has a remarkable long EV range; easily 50% more than the EPA estimated range in the summer.

    There is a lots of usable trunk space.

    The passenger cabin is very large for the class, with good ergonomics

    It has an excellent heating and air conditioning system, with good ventilation.

    The Clarity is a really nice looking car with a design that will still look good in a few years.

    The OEM tires are quiet on smooth pavement, but noisy on rough pavement.

    The car sings a nice song to you and pedestrians at low speeds.

    The plug-in hybrid version is a near-perfect balance of electric and gas engine options and the controls offered the driver (read the owner’s manual!) give lots of options for a particular trip.

    The right hand turning view from the mirror-mounted camera is a great safety feature (Too bad the left mirror does not have a camera!)

    With the federal tax credit, it is very reasonably priced and is expected to have very low operating costs.

    Negatives in my experience/opinion:

    The collision mitigation system and automatic cruise control systems are overly aggressive and occasionally alert/slow down when not needed. It’s a challenge to drive smoothly at the set speed with automatic cruise control engaged.

    The OEM tires are very noisy on rough pavement but quiet on smooth pavement.

    There is no spare and the Honda roadside service has the reputation of being both slow and limited for towing.

    The passenger seat bottom does not raise or tilt in the Touring model, so some folks may need an extra cushion.

    Some tinting of the windows would be nice to reduce heat gain when parked.

    All the transmission shift buttons are not illuminated at night.
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  13. jorgie393

    jorgie393 Well-Known Member

    1) That no one should consider that they’ve driven it *unless they have driven it with a charged battery.*
    2) That is basically competing with the Volt, as one of the two plug-ins where the vast majority of your daily commutes will be all-electric.
    3) Tha this forum thinks it’s a great value :)
  14. stacey burke

    stacey burke Active Member

    On the positive side, it covers far more miles than 50 miles in the city on a charge.

    It’s a great car on a trip, I drove 500 miles and it was an easy drive using ACC. Mileage was excellent, I used 11 gal. in 500 miles (45 mpg at 70 to 80 mph).

    Excellent air conditioning (I don’t know about heater yet).

    Fun to drive with a lot more power than I ever expected in Sport mode. I drive in the mountains (
    Colorado) a lot and never had any problem with power or speed.

    Cost after government credits. I got 7,500 Federal and 5,000 State. Touring cost 35,000 – 12.500 = 22,500.

    This is the best car I have ever owned.

    I have very few negatives, Hard to learn all the new things on the car. You need to watch a lot of YouTube and read to understand how to use this car.

    Most of the negative things I have seen posted are really the users preference, such as no sun roof, no CD player, no lumbar support… the list goes on but none of these are problems to me. They are things that the owner wished were included, not problems.

    Not a negative on the car but you have to be sure that you have 7,500 Federal Tax Liability. If you are not sure you need to see someone that can help you. (tax consultant) And you need to research your state and see what help they can give you. There are also some Utilities that give money for chargers. It take some work to make sure you get what you are capable of receiving.
    GTO 409 likes this.
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Honda calls it "Hill Start Assist" on page 379 of the Owners Manual.
    Domenick likes this.
  16. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    Everyday driving should be the focus. Play around with the modes, but also just get in and take the car for a 100 mile drive without any intervention on the modes. Just drive it and write some opinions based on that drive. I haven't seen any reviews that mention a "just drive it" scenario. Too much is made of all the modes, and while it's a tinkerer's paradise, the person who's trying to decide whether Clarity can really replace ol' Trusty in the garage will want to know if indeed it can. All the things a Clarity can do that a regular car can't are just icing if you can write it up from that angle.
    GTO 409 and Ordell98 like this.
  17. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Everyone naturally compares the Clarity to the Chevy Volt. Chevy calls the Volt a range-extended electric car; Honda called this variation of their Clarity a Plug-In Hybrid.

    As a range-extended EV, the Volt runs on battery power until the battery is exhausted, then it starts up its range-extending engine. In a non-intuitive contrast, the Clarity PHEV uses both its EV capabilities and its engine to maximize overall efficiency. As a result, the larger and heavier Clarity PHEV matches or exceeds the efficiency of the Volt.

    Although some Clarity PHEV owners complain about the absence of an EV Mode button, the computer brains that run the Clarity need access to both the motor and the engine to
    a) select whichever one is most efficient for the given driving conditions, and
    b) allow both to operate simultaneously to provide maximum acceleration when needed.

    If you have a small garage or you must have a hatchback, the Volt may be the better choice. Otherwise...
    jorgie393 likes this.
  18. Carro con enchufe

    Carro con enchufe Active Member

    Bottom line, if you drive less than 50 miles a day, you’ll rarely use any gasoline. And unlike many BEV owners, you don’t need to have a separate gasoline powered car for long trips.
    insightman likes this.
  19. BertBDJ

    BertBDJ Member

    It’s a crazy request, but reviews hardly every show useful images of the trunk. Show us what a set of golf clubs or a baby carriage looks like going into the space. On camera, a pan of a black trunk does nothing to show how vast the space is.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
    dstrauss, Chooch, Domenick and 2 others like this.
  20. GTO 409

    GTO 409 Member

    I agree with this 100%. Reading over the forums makes it seem like an overly complicated, convoluted piece of Microsoft software that was designed by a committee without clear sensibility.

    I'd like to see a major portion of the review be from the perspective of a regular ICE driver switching to this — just driving it!

    A fair, pro-con, and detailed critique of Lane Watch vs. BSM and the lack of cross traffics monitoring would be good, too. If it's as poor a choice as many think, including Consumer Reports, a pointed review could help prod Honda into making a change. Wouldn't it be great if Honda became the first to provide both Lane Watch and blind spot monitoring, along with rear cross traffic alert.

    The very limited tire pressure monitoring system — AND THE LACK OF A FULL SIZED SPARE — should be noted, too.

    Also, the most pressing question of all — is there a sunglasses holder overhead as there is on the old Honda Accord?!
  21. Thanks for all these responses, guys!

    Here's the monroney/sticker for the specific vehicle being tested, just in case there's info here that might affect the review.
    (here's the media page for the image, in case it's too difficult to read here)

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  22. Chooch

    Chooch Member

    Yes, please do include this info! I don't even understand the different letters and have been driving the thing since February!
  23. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    This is a very early car, VIN under 1000, hopefully it has been charged occasionally.

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