Previous Tesla Model X owner / Satisfied Honda Clarity PHEV owner

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by ddrj, Feb 15, 2018.

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  1. ddrj

    ddrj New Member

    Hello forum members!

    When I started to consider a Honda Clarity PHEV, I stumbled upon this forum and was happy to see owners sharing their Clarity PHEV experiences. So, I wanted to share how I became a Clarity PHEV owner.

    In June of 2017, I took delivery of a new Tesla Model X. This was a vehicle I planned to keep for many, many years. However, less than 24 hours after delivery, problems started to occur and they never stopped for 6 months. Issues included axle and hub replacement, falcon wing doors breaking at the spine, random metal popping noises and fit/finish items that required 70% of the vehicle to be repainted. It was the repainting that destroyed the value and worked out to my advantage in the end. Anyway, I could go on and on as my list grew to over 50+ items in 6 months, which doesn't include items the Service Center found. I guess if you are a very patient person and enjoy driving a loaner the Tesla Model X is for you ;) I have friends that own a Model S and have had little to no trouble.

    Fast forward to December 2017 (only 6 months of ownership) the Model X had been in and out of the Service Center for more than 100+ days with no end in sight. So, in the middle of another long spell of the Model X being in the shop, Tesla offered to purchase the Model X for the purchase price minus the 6% Florida sales tax and roughly a $6,000 fair use fee. The fair use fee is laughable, because I spent more time driving a loaner than the Model X I purchased. That night I talked with my wife and decided I should take them up on the offer.

    Now, I have nothing bad to say about Tesla employees because they were always polite and kind. However, it's no secret the factory workers are overworked and the quality simply suffers and it becomes a domino effect. When the Model X was running properly, it was a lot of fun to drive. Was it worth the 120k price tag? That's hard to say.

    After my Model X experience and selling it back to Tesla, I considered a Model S, but I have concerns the company will remain solvent in the next 5 or so years because of major issues with production and quality. Of course, I factored these into my decision the first time around, but living the nightmare made it more real!

    So, after reading the short version of my Model X story, I had the good fortune of purchasing a white Honda Clarity Touring PHEV on January 26, 2018. Before purchasing, the dealership allowed me to take it home for a couple of days to test drive pressure free.

    After driving almost 1k miles, the Clarity PHEV is so elegant and quiet around town and on the highway. My work commute is 40 miles (20 miles each way) and 16 (8 each way) of these miles are highway. When I return home for the day, I have around 12-15 miles remaining. Compared to my Model X, the Clarity is so much quieter. I know it's hard to believe the Clarity is quieter than the Model X, but I had constant wind noise with the Model X and it would never go away along with random rattles that never got resolved. By no means is the Clarity extreme luxury, but in my mind, neither was the Model X. The transition from electric to engine is seamless, and yes, it can be a little noisy at times, but when making a long distance trip, I rarely notice since the radio is running in the background. Apple Car Play isn't perfect, but it works well enough for maps, music and reading/replying to text messages. The tan leather is very comfortable and the backseat has a lot of room when needed. Lane Keep Assist and Dynamic Cruise works well enough for my needs. Tesla's works better overall, but it's more aggressive and Honda gives the user a little more control and flexibility.

    To make use of my existing NEMA 14-50 receptical in the garage, I purchased 40amp Level 2 charger and it replenishes the Clarity in a few hours from empty. While I didn't have to charge the Model X as often, it's not an inconvenience to charge the Clarity each night. When I pull the charger out in the morning, I usually forget to close the lid and the warning on the dashboard comes up and I have to get out and close (minor annoyance). Mind you, the Model X closes automatically, so I am in the process of reprogramming my brain so to speak.

    Anyway, I don't have any major gripes other than the lack of parking sensors. I am still shaking my head as to why this was left off of such a nice car. I live in a small city in North Florida, so it's not a major problem, but I do have to be extra cautions when backing up from a parking space. I saw a post where someone provided instructions to add the sensors and figured there is more risk with getting scratches on the bumper along with adding everything back perfectly. Since I am 100% satisfied with my Clarity (no rattles or scratches), I am not going to take the risk (at least not now).

    One other thing that has been an adjustment is the regenerative paddles behind the steering wheel. I have trouble trying to set them correctly in traffic, so I revert to "Sport" when driving in the city because it holds the regenerative braking and it's the closest resemblance of driving a Tesla. Sport mode doesn't seem to impact my electric range, so this has been a nice feature to use in the city.

    Last, but not least, the rear end of the Clarity doesn't bother me...not anymore. As the weeks progressed, I became more accustomed to the design. If you can live with the styling, it's a great car and the practical side of me says the interior helps you forget about the "junk in the trunk."

    The Clarity wasn't my first choice because I would have preferred a SUV - something like a BMW X5e, but with only a range of 12-15 miles, it doesn't seem practical at this point in time. I am "hoping" in the next few years we will see an influx of SUVs that will function like the Clarity, but when/if that time comes, I will enjoy the Clarity because it is simply nice car.

    In reference to the price, I paid $35,980 (MSRP was $37,480) as they matched a competitors price a few hours away and it was close to the end of the month. We will make full use of the $7,500 tax credit, so that brings the price down to 29k.

    Feel free to ask any questions and I will reply.

    Thanks for reading!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
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  3. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    Nice write up. One thing Honda does, which many people don't realize is they are somewhat slow to release product to the US market because they try many things out in other markets like Asia and Europe before coming to the US. The US market is important so they tend not to release unproven things. So they typically get things working well when released. The first generation of this drive train was released in a short run of Accord plug in models in 2014, this is the update unit as they took a few years to clean up the rough spots.
  4. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    That is a bummer to read. I really want a Model X. I would like to think your experience was not the normal experience for X drivers. I will say if you are looking for a nice, quiet ride then you made a great choice with the Clarity. And it is just a bit cheaper than the X.
  5. ddrj

    ddrj New Member

    Thanks for sharing this information about Honda. I wasn't aware this was originally part of an Accord run in 2014 - very interesting for sure and I am glad this is not the true 1st generation of this car.
  6. ddrj

    ddrj New Member

    It was certainly a bummer indeed. I wanted nothing more than to own a Model X and the Service Center did their part by fixing repairs quickly. Sadly, the vehicle would start having issues a day or two after I left. The last week I owned the vehicle the door handle feel off, so this is just how my luck went. Ironically, Tesla didn't want to sell me another Model X because they feared I may get another one with issues and be back in the same boat. Even though they bought back my vehicle, I had to sign paperwork saying "this car is not defective..."

    On a positive note, the Clarity is a refreshing car that is easier on the pocketbook. Also, I would like to believe manufacturers are on the cusp of bringing more affordable choices so more can enjoy.
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  8. brady

    brady Member

    I was on the waiting list for a model 3, couldn't wait any longer. Also, good ole Oklahoma just wont jump on board of electric anytime soon (charging network). So after an aggressive search I stumbled across the clarity and pulled the trigger. Rear parking sensors aside (grrrr) what else could a guy want for less than 30k. I have had 3 lexuses in the past all hovering around 55k and this clarity rides, drives and "feels" just as nice with several advantages to the clarity. Here are my only clarity issues 1) rear wheel cover styling is weird (not a fan) 2) lack of parking rear sensors 3) and no d*$n knob to turn down the radio.

    How many times can I turn down the A\C knob thinking its the stereo, at a notch under 30k I am still scratching my head how I have such a nice car at half the price I have paid in past! I have 500 miles on the odometer and still sitting on full from the dealer courtesy fillup.....I am 100% satisfied and I am a picky car guy to say the least!!!!
    atr, chris5168, clean.air@CA and 4 others like this.
  9. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    If Honda put in the infotainment system and Honda Sensing features they put into the 2018 Accord Touring into the Clarity (blind spot monitoring, cross traffic warnings, parking sensors), it would be the perfect car (at least, for me).
    ClarityDoc and dstrauss like this.
  10. brady

    brady Member

    I agree 100% I always want more for less. I just think HONDA was up against the wall on price with the cost of the battery and extra technology this car has. Prob about $5000 bucks on battery\technology (conservative minimum). Given the 2018 accord touring is $34,690 and add + 5000 (battery and tech) you would be 40k retail for an accord with a battery option. Even with the rebate you would still be around $32,500 retail. Ill take the clarity for under 30K and "check my six" a little more carefully when in reverse. IMO .
    AlanSqB and ddrj like this.
  11. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Great write up and welcome aboard.

    I’ve got a late 2017 Model S and have only had one very minor problem, that was taken care of the next day by a Tesla ranger who came to my home to fix the issue. Can’t ask for better service than that. Other than that, the S has been an absolute joy and like nothing I’ve ever driven before.

    The Model X is definitely prone to more issues than the S, and I suspect a lot of it has to do with the gull wing doors and overall complexity of the car. A nearby neighbor has the X and he has had issues with his doors. He still loves the car though.

    With all that said, despite a lower ‘luxury component’ (whatever that means) than my S, I still thoroughly enjoy driving the Clarity. I don’t think there’s a car on the road that, dollar for dollar after tax credits, can offer what the Clarity does.

    Aside from the screwy range estimate issues on the car, the only glaring omission I find, is the lack of backup sensors.
    ClarityDoc, AlanSqB and ddrj like this.
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  13. brady

    brady Member

    Ken, absolutely no hate for the Tesla S, its def a killer dream ride. If a windfall of 100k falls in my lap I would be all over it.
  14. Rob_v1

    Rob_v1 Member

    Gave up on the Tesla Model 3, after so many delays, apparent quality issues, and too many weird design choices, like lack of conventional dash. And it's sure no $35k car! We are enjoying the Clarity Touring, and have no regrets about canceling our Model 3 reservation.
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  15. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Brady, I was very lucky. I got one of the last S75 vehicles. It was a new inventory car that had to be brought to N.Y. I wound up paying $70,500 before the tax credits. After the credits, the cost will come down to $62,500. Still expensive, but well worth it. I could never understand the guys that would pay another $25,000 for greater acceleration. I can't imagine needing more than the 4.2 second, 0-60 I currently have. It's just insanely fast.
  16. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    Does anyone know the Clarity's cost to build? How much actual mark up is in it compared to an Accord? Honda must be losing money on its fuel cell sibling, just to get it on the highway. Is that true for the other two? And the R&D costs must add up, since they are not manufacturing as many to recoup those.
    I remember that Toyota sold the early Prius at a loss. Is that the case here?
  17. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    It's hard to say for the PHEV version. The new Accord hybrid is using the same drive system except that the ICE is 2 liters instead of 1.5. The new Insight's drive train is reportedly identical to the Clarity's except it will only have a 1.7 kWh battery. On top of that, much of Clarity's interior came out of Honda's parts bin. The steering wheel is from the CR-V, the seats from the Civic (that's why they're so small for such a big interior), older Honda Sensing, etc. The body and suspension is uniquely Clarity's and that's already a huge cost. By spreading the cost of R&D to other higher volume vehicles, the Clarity PHEV doesn't necessarily need to be a loss leader.
    ddrj and Domenick like this.
  18. ddrj

    ddrj New Member

    I am glad to see you are having a great experience with your Model S. I have some friends that have had solid experiences as well. I love the S and hope Tesla can pull out of this production rut they seem to fall into with new models. One can hope, right?

    I believe the Clarity is the sleeper car for 2018 in terms of what you get dollar for dollar. I hope it does well for Honda.
    AlanSqB likes this.
  19. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    Agree on all counts. :)
    PHEV Newbie and ddrj like this.
  20. ddrj

    ddrj New Member

    Yes, it definitely is a killer ride. It's just a tad too low for my taste, which is why I am thankful the Clarity exists.
  21. ddrj

    ddrj New Member

    That's a nice deal and ride! And paying $25k more for something that looks exactly the same doesn't sit well with me.
    Ken7 likes this.
  22. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    I would suspect if they sell all they plan to make they may break even. As noted in other posts, much of the internal parts are from current product. It's the body and chassis tooling that are costly at low volume. They designed to a price target so it didn't have every feature people are looking for, but it covers the main ones.

    Basically going by what people who work in projects come to know, the following statement below. It's about code but applies to products. You can get about 90% of the main features, the other 10% will drive the cost and development up considerably. If you want to meet a good price point the 10% will not be implemented.

    "The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.

    — Tom Cargill, Bell Labs"
  23. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    @ddrj - great story and welcome to the club.

    After two full months and 2300 miles, I can say without qualification it is the best ride I've owned in 48 years of driving (wow, did he just say that)...with only a few changes/additions, this will be the best PHEV out there:
    1. Give it the BEV battery pack and can the BEV model - you'd get 90+ miles EV - a total of 400 miles range
    2. Cross traffic and side traffic sensors like the 2018 Odyssey - no excuses for that oversight
    3. Steal the 2018 Accord infotainment system - PLEASE!
    4. And fix the computer gauges - as annoying as the 1201 alarm was to Armstrong

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