Nervous potential buyer -- lease? purchase?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Rothgarr, Jun 20, 2018.

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  1. Rothgarr

    Rothgarr Member

    Howdy! Long time reader, first time poster.

    I come from a background of modded Mustangs, Acuras, etc. but I am getting older my thoughts shift towards safety, great mileage, and being environmentally conscious. As such, I've got my eyes on the Honda Clarity (the Chevy Volt's back seat was just too small to fit my 6'3" fifteen year-old.)

    I'm debating purchasing and taking advantage of the 7.5k tax credit (+$2k CT incentives), vs leasing the car.

    What are your thoughts on buying vs leasing with regards to how fast technology changes, how well this car will still perform in 7-10 years, could this first model year have lots of bugs, etc.

    I'm also nervous to miss out on potential Federal and State incentives if I wait another 3-4 years before making a move.

    Any advice? Thanks!
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  3. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    Would you keep a computer for 7–10 years if you couldn't upgrade it? Well, that's something to think about with this vehicle. The longer you keep it, the more obsolete the technology becomes. While you can keep a computer going that long (I'm a good example of that), the more modern computers are - like the Clarity - not very upgradeable.

    But, there are many who will likely keep their Clarity for 7–10 years, and good for them. I won't be one of them, but it will have nothing to do with the car itself. By the next refresh (likely in 4 years) if they're still building the Clarity, that 2.0 version will be even better than it is now. AND the likelihood of there being far more options in the marketplace - for both BEVs and PHEVs at that point in the future appears quite strong…
  4. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    Since you are nervous. It is the U.S. plenty of used EVs about. Get one of those if it suits your need. The federal incentive trickles down to those too.
    New cars are a luxury item, save money buy used.
  5. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    My 2 cents: pull the trigger now and take advantage of the $9,500 tax credits (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush).
    Tech will improve greatly in the next decade but the PHEV Clarity is a fantastic bridge car until we get:
    A affordable 300+m batteries
    B <30 min 80% charging
    C enough chargers in enough places
    D reasonable rates at public chargers
    All the above will not happen overnight and all 3 must happen together to fully realize the potential of BEVs.
    So I do not feel that I will have the need to trade up for at least the next 5 years and probably more.
  6. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    Are you sure about that federal tax incentive trickling down to used cars? I was under the impression it doesn't.
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  8. K8QM

    K8QM Active Member

    If I didn't buy technology because it couldn't be upgraded I'm not sure what I could buy anymore.

    When the old notebook isn't current enough anymore it goes a kid or becomes the traveling notebook, the old TV without enough inputs and apps goes to the garage workout room, the old iPhone is now an iPod and someday the old Clarity will replace the old Accord as the kids car.

    Anyway - there's no way I would buy the 2.0 Clarity in 2022 because the 3.0 Clarity in 2026 is going to be a lot better.

    Rothgarr and insightman like this.
  9. bpratt

    bpratt Active Member

    D My state, Utah, did not have a tax credit but all the state owned chargers are free.
  10. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    The Clarity is a great car. You will lose a lot in depreciation, but given the federal tax incentives if you are able to take advantage of it completely it makes the depreciation inline with other cars.

    There doesn't seem to be any huge issues yet, but there are more bugs than a typical Honda maybe. Some complaints have included HVAC fans making noise (seems to have maybe only been very early cars like mine, haven't seen any complaints in a while), random error codes, some charging issues where the car appears to generate interference, then some random software/control issues that are maybe normal operation but maybe not what we would want.

    The software issues include high engine revving at some times ("angry bees"), entering into system check mode (engine starts when leaving house with a full charge and driving down hill), bad HV range calculation (seems to have a fix now), very slow to resume speed in adaptive cruise control with low speed follow in some modes (Econ especially), some issue where the Satellite radio doesn't work after preconditioning, and probably some other stuff I am forgetting.

    I have had the car for 12,000 miles now and had the one shop visit for the HVAC fan clicking and 1 for an oil change/tire rotation/inspection. Runs great, but does have those other software quirks that don't really bother me much.

    Edit: My hunch is in 1 year the Model 3 for $35,000 will eat into sales of all these cars, but honestly the Clarity is nicer in ways than base Model 3, and by the time you can get one of those tax credits will likely be gone, so if you get $2,500 off MSRP with the Clarity and also a $7,500 rebate, and possibly state rebates, the Clarity is $10,000 cheaper than the future base Model 3. Also, for long range travel you really would want the long range Model 3 ($50k right now), the base model will be a bit short on range. It will do it, but adds a lot of inconvenience, charges a lot slower than long range model and less spare range (makes it harder to operate in desirable 20 to 80% charge range for quick supercharging).

    I don't regret the Clarity purchase at all, it has been an amazing car to own and already saved our family over 500 gallons of gas in 6 months vs the minivan.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    Uye47 and Rothgarr like this.
  11. seonachan

    seonachan New Member

    In CT, you should be able to get a lease that factors in the $7500 federal credit, and I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the CT rebate applies to leases of at least 24 months. Now you may not be able to negotiate a lower price AND get the $7500 factored in, so if you'd be able to claim the full credit with a purchase, that could be a disadvantage to leasing. But you gain the option to turn it in after x months and move on to something else, or buy it out if the residual is in your favor (and you still like the car).
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  13. lordsutch

    lordsutch Member

    I think what prestoOne means is that the value of the incentives gets folded into the depreciation, so you would effectively benefit from the incentives even though you don't personally receive them if you buy a used BEV/PHEV. You don't get an extra $7500 off a used Volt or Leaf but you still benefit from the original owner (or leasing bank) getting it.
  14. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    100% sure. The feds give the tax credit on new cars. That new car value drops and affects the used market.
    Almost all cars being bought new get some credit.
    I looked at leaf prices in the states...they are attractive.
  15. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    You didn't even say what your driving habits are....I don't see how anyone can tell you "get the Clarity it is a great car".

    Do you do more than 60Km a day? More than 200km a day? If the battery range on the Clarity isn't taking care of a huge portion of your driving then maybe you want a prius because it gets 20% better gas mileage. Then again the Prius only has 4 seats and doesn't look as sauve inside, but it the Prius is known to be able to tow A LOT, the Clarity not so much a towing machine. Maybe a pure EV suits your need.
  16. Steven B

    Steven B Active Member

    So I think what is being said is because the federal tax credit is only valid for new cars (first owners), the used car will depreciate by a similar amount. Not sure if the data exists to prove this, but it is postulated anyway.
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  17. Rothgarr

    Rothgarr Member

    Hey there! I actually work out of my home, so I don't have a daily commute. My driving would basically be taking the kids to karate, going to the grocery store and the mall, etc. I'd encourage my wife to use it most days as well for errands, etc. I do occasionally drive down to NJ from CT. The bulk of our daily driving would fit within the Clarity's 47 mile electric-only range.

    My wife drives a 2017 Honda Pilot with a hitch on it that we use for towing and long trips.

    I'm not quite ready to put all my eggs in an EV-only car, that why I was originally attracted to the Clarity.
  18. leehinde

    leehinde Active Member

    That's essentially my use case and why I picked the Clarity. I work from home, 70% of my driving is local (10 miles or less). I occasionally go visit my daughters who are about 90 miles away and that's why I needed something with some range.

    To your original question, I've never leased a car. I don't like the idea of managing my miles. That's ok for some. So, I bought. So far the local electric utility has sent me $599, I'm waiting on some love from the state (CA) and next year at tax time with the Feds.
  19. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    As far as I am concerned it is common sense.
    The car is subsidized.
    In Ontario a new Clairty would cost $46K - 13K rebate = $33K.
    Do you think my new car is going to sell used at the normal depreciation rate from $46K or $33K or some accelerated depreciation starting some a little north of $33K?
    If the rebate for the cars disappears but the purchasing cost of a new one stays the same the used car market will bump. For now the pricing is suppressed.
  20. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    If you could buy a used Nissan Leaf for ~ 15-20K less and that car would do all your local daily stuff.........that sounds like a better deal financially. If you look those cars can be had for 1/3rd to 1/2 the cost of a new Clairity. Get 2013 and up on a Leaf.
    You stated you were concerned, like most, about the amount of money a new Clarity would cost. How does it fit your need better than a Leaf? Is that worth about 20K?
  21. bobcubsfan

    bobcubsfan Active Member

    The Clarity is our 3rd EV (yes I know it is a PHEV). Our first 2 were Nissan Leaf. We leased all 3 because of leaps in technology. If you do lease, put down the least you can. Zero if they will do it. Yes, your monthly payments will be more, but it is really the same.
  22. Aspesi4

    Aspesi4 New Member

    I'm in a similar situation, but I'm leaning towards purchasing the car instead of leasing.

    First, I've never been a fan of a lease. I tend to like to pay off the car and keep it for years without an ongoing car payment.

    Second, after factoring the $7500 federal and a $2500 Massachusetts rebate, buying in my position makes more sense. If in 4-5 years technology has greatly improved, I can always sell the car for say a measly $12,000 (super conservative). That's only an $8,000 drop for me since net I can get the car for under $20,000. That's definitely in line without other vehicles and I'd be happy even in that situation.

    Third, will the PHEV technology really change that much in the next 4-5 years? Hyundai, Toyota, Kia and many other manufacturers are just releasing there first PHEVs with a range of 25 miles or so. I'm sure these models will remain in production for the next 3-4 years until a refresh comes. At that point if they doubled their battery capacity and got to the 50 mile range like the Clarity, your car would still be relevant. Battery change is coming and some day a BEV will make more sense than a PHEV, but I don't think the BEV will completely take the place of the Clarity PHEV technology.

    Fourth, I compared buying a new Clarity vs. purchasing a 2016 Honda Civic CPO. My analysis concluded that over a five year period the Clarity was a clear winner. It was shocking, but the incentives plus lower maintenance like no brakes and better gas mileage made the difference.

    With the federal and state incentives, I think purchasing makes a lot of sense.
  23. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    Ask the dealer how much it is to purchase the car outright after only 3 years. I think that number is $13K USD.
    Even if you have a no payment / one payment least where it is all paid up front there is a financing charge. Up here it is about $1200 USD

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