Why did you buy a Honda Clarity PHEV?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by descolado, Mar 12, 2018.

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  1. descolado

    descolado Member

    Hello everyone,

    I dug around the forum for a post similar to this one, and I haven't been able to find anything dedicated to answering the question of why you bought a Honda Clarity.


    I'm something of a layman to the EV/Green car revolution so do forgive my ignorance or approach toward any questions which I may pose to the site. I actually found this forum via Reddit's r/Clarity and I'm very glad I did. I'm grateful the community here is very enthusiastic, helpful and knowledgeable of our model PHEV!

    In my post I am going to provide the wordy story of what led me to purchasing the car, along with a TL;DR summary. Feel free to reply as you see fit!

    I intend on doing a separate post for my review of the Clarity after one month of ownership. For now though, I'd like to understand what may have motivated others to making their purchase.

    Car Purchase Story

    To tell you a little of my back story, I am coming from long line of Honda and Acura ownership ranging from two Acura Legends, one Honda Prelude and two Acura RSX's. You could probably say I am biased toward Honda quite a bit.

    The Clarity is my first ever new car purchase, and it surprises me to consider how quickly I pulled the trigger on purchasing the car. Prior to this vehicle I have only ever driven cars 5+ years old.

    Necessity drove me to purchase a newer vehicle, as my most recent Acura was rear-ended which resulted in minor rear bumper damage. Family safety concerns and a long daily commute were also high on my consideration list for getting a more modern vehicle.

    While waiting for my Acura to be repaired, I had the opportunity to drive a couple different rentals which gave me some inspiration toward purchasing a newer, or later model used vehicle.

    I initially fell in love with the Volvo 2018 S60 and later the 2017/2018 S90. The S60 is a fun mid-size sedan with lots of creature comforts, and the S90 is a beautiful executive class sedan. The 2018 S90 was my first experience with semi-autonomous driving featuring lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. I really feel that Volvo has some top notch technology packed into these vehicles and was blown away by tech due to my previous nil exposure to such features.

    Unfortunately for me, Volvo is a pretty expensive brand. I ultimately decided the high cost for a slightly used or new Volvo wasn't in my budget. Plus these cars pose a high cost of ownership and higher depreciation factor than I felt comfortable with long term budgeting for. Finally, the death knell for the Volvo was that my rental S60, which I had for about two weeks, experienced a strange exterior trim defect (made in China, anyone?) which left me further second guessing the brand quality.

    Next I drove a rental 2018 Nissan Murano. Well made, comfortable, but kinda boring for my tastes. Also, I don't desire an SUV. I did also look at the 2018/2017 Nissan Maxima and Altima for comparison's sake. I have to say, the Maxima is a very well designed vehicle and is fun to drive...but for a modern car with not that great fuel economy and requiring premium fuel, I decided it wouldn't be a good fit. Meanwhile, the Altima just felt like a poorer man's compromise and I was unimpressed.

    Other brands considered...

    BMW (pricey, unknown reliability and my lack of experience with the brand).

    Hyundai..test drove the Elantra. Nice ride, comfortable and well made, but some of the on board tech felt dated. Additionally, their semi-autonomous glitched out a few times during the test drive. Finally, looking at the depreciation factor on this brand, they drop quickly. Didn't seem worth it for me.

    Subaru; drove the Impreza sedan and sport hatchback - they make the Clarity feel fast and more dynamic to drive, even with AWD. Also, the interior while "nice" felt very cheap. 'Nough said.

    Back to Honda..

    Last year, the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback was my personal halo car. I test drove a few different Civics Hatches last year and another this year and got serious about a used 2017 Hatch being privately sold on Craigslist but decided against it in the end. The Civic is a brilliant car, but I see them everywhere down here. Also, the ride quality isn't as smooth as I'd like for long drives. They're also quite small, and I am a tall dude (this is only ironic because I've driven RSX's for the past six years).

    So on to the 2018 Accord for this year...Drove two and while they are enjoyable I wasn't really inspired enough to want to purchase it new (or even last year's style).

    So how did I get to a Hybrid EV...?

    At this point I would like to pause my story and explain that I have a coworker who purchased a 2015 Accord Hybrid a few months ago and gave me the chance to take it for a spin as a "thank you" for helping her decide on a car purchase.

    After a spin around the business park in the 2015 Accord Hybrid tuned to sport mode, I have to say this was the moment I began to take Hybrid vehicles seriously. Responsive, fun, sporty, stylish and fuel economical...WHAT?

    She paid a fair price for it in 2017, which had me equally impressed for the car's value holding power that only a Honda can carry from my experience.

    Somewhere in the back of my mind the Clarity echoed this eureka moment.

    Rewinding back three weeks, I visited my local Honda dealer and was perusing their showroom nonchalantly. Its nice to walk around the showroom at dealerships solo because I find the sales people are less aggressive and more apt to let you peruse at your leisure.

    They had a Clarity in the showroom, hanging out at their main entrance. A Solar Silver Touring build. I sat in the driver's seat and scoped out the interior, impressed by the design and form. I went home, and started doing my homework.

    After seeing several reviews of the car I began to take it seriously. Great fuel economy? Check. Cool modern technology? Check. Check. Reasonable cost? (After the $7500 Tax Rebate) Check. Check. Check.

    I popped back into Honda a week later and drove a White Clarity Touring, it was nice. I asked for the Solar Silver and beat them down on the price below MSRP and was satisfied with the deal.

    They loaned me the car for the day to take to my wife for approval and later that day it was a done deal.

    So why did I get a Clarity (TL;DR Summary)?
    1. Great personal history with the Honda brand.
    2. Modern car which will hopefully be long term cost effective.
    3. Well designed, comfortable and unique to my taste.
    4. Tax savings to offset tax cost and perhaps first year depreciation.
    5. It was time for a newer, safer and more modern ride.

    I look forward to reading your replies!!
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
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  3. Hobbesgsr

    Hobbesgsr Active Member

    1. Fuel/EV efficiency
    2. Size - Fits my growing family of five
    3. Honda Reliability I also grew up on Honda/Acura’s
    4. Provincial Rebate: EVIP / EHVIP
    5. New safety tech. Ie. Honda Sensing
    6. Android Auto / Apple Car Play
    descolado likes this.
  4. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the story.

    We already had owned two Prius cars so were on the hybrid bandwagon since 2008. Our second Prius was a 2015 model so pretty new and we usually keep cars 8 to 10 years. But we were having solar installed toward the end of 2017 and I thought it would be neat to have a plug-in to charge from the solar. I began making a spreadsheet, listing all of the PHEV's I could find. I hadn't run across the Clarity and suddenly it popped up at the beginning of December. The Clarity was more money than I wanted to spend but man it hit all the hot spots in my comparison spreadsheet. Here are the reasons we bought the Clarity PHEV.

    1) Extra EV range. All the other cars were in the 25-30 EV range. Only the Volt (which I considered too small and I don't trust GM reliability) had a similar range. I'm so glad we went this route. The 40-50 mile EV range is perfect for us. We normally put at least 30 miles on the car before noon. We charge and can then easily do some afternoon drives that usually total about 15 miles. All on electric.

    2) Honda brand. I'd owned lots of Hondas over the years and experienced extraordinary reliability, same with the Toyota line.

    3) It was available before the end of 2017. I was concerned the federal government was going to kill the EV car tax credit at the end of the year.

    4) Five seats

    5) Large trunk with sort of a pass-thru. Not as good as a Prius but this would have to be a compromise. Cargo space is a big deal for us. So far it's working out but summer and going to the beach will be the big test.

    6) When we test drove it I was completely sold. It was so darned quiet and smooth. It feels elegant to me. I love the gauges (hated Prius gauges).

    An all electric car would be my first choice, once the car can be charged in 15 minutes or less. That's still a few years away.

    This is the most expensive car I've ever purchased. But in the end it was not too bad. We paid $40,600, got the $7,500 tax credit, then $3,500 from the State of California, and sold the 2015 Prius for $14K. Actual cost $15,600. Plus we drive free for months at a time due to solar charging.

    It's a great car with very few negatives. No car is perfect. But it also has a big pile of positives. I love driving it.
    descolado likes this.
  5. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    I work from home and drive short errands around town throughout the day, totaling about 50-60 miles. I also like to take road trips occasionally. I realized that this pattern was not easy on my AWD vehicle and the mileage is not great. Those short trips produce really harmful emissions. I had been thinking about a PHEV for some time but none fit my needs until the clarity came out. It was perfect and I felt it would fast become a best seller. I was right about the car being absolutely wonderful for us but I guess there's a reason why automakers aren't knocking down my door to get my advice.
    descolado likes this.
  6. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    PHEVs are still transitional vehicles in my way of thinking about things, so I'd really rather have the BEV that gets me around and around with little or no time spent at a recharging station. That isn't happening as fast as it needs to, so until then we're going to be needing these transitional cars.

    For Clarity, I do wish there was more EV range - though 50 miles works for me (much better than the 12-15 miles I was used to). Also, I wish the ICE was a little more refined - and larger. I'd like the ability to step on the pedal and quickly get around someone when I'm going 65-70MPH (there are still places on the interstates where this seems necessary). Clarity gives up some power to gain the flexibility and mileage figures it has. I'd be fine with a 30mpg ICE if it meant more cubic centimeters and torque, but I realize that wouldn't necessarily help the Clarity PHEV achieve its goals.

    So why I bought mine is a mix of: wanted a new PHEV, didn't want another Prius, couldn't get enthused about a Bolt or a Volt, didn't need a second Tesla (or other BEV) in the garage, and was a little concerned about the tax credit disappearing (for 2018). Had I been absolutely certain the tax credit was still going to be available this year (back in mid-December) I would've probably waited to see what happens with next year's car selection. As it is, I am happy we didn't wait - given how nice the Clarity fits into the overall travel scheme around here.

    Although our Tesla is a go-to for day trips and trips along the interstate, it is great to have another nice option, like the Clarity, to use beyond the somewhat limited range of the Tesla. The western US is still a BIG place, so even with a 260-280 mile range, getting into (and out of) some of the more interesting areas can take several hundred miles of backroad travel. In the past we've curtailed a few side-trips because of low range and charger proximity. So the Clarity should do quite well to fill in the kinds of trips when we might most likely need to depend on the availability of gasoline rather than electricity.

    Back in the city, I doubt we'll use more than a few gallons of gasoline per month. I bet we've used less than 10 gallons in the last three months.
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  8. bruinjacket

    bruinjacket New Member

    Is that a typo? I thought it was $1,500 for CA
  9. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    For us lower income people it is $3,500. I was pleasantly surprised.
    Domenick likes this.
  10. bruinjacket

    bruinjacket New Member

    Today I learned!
  11. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    Prior to Apr. 2016 this little bonus didn't exist. Federal poverty level is currently $16K/yr so a family of one would get this at $48K or below. Each extra person adds $12,540.

    At the other end, one can no longer request a Clean Vehicle rebate if they are a single filer making more than $150K/yr (joint filers would be double that).
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  13. descolado

    descolado Member

    Great feedback from the forum. I do agree with the sentiments that the car isn’t perfect but the good outweighs. Look forward to hearing others’ reasons!
  14. iluvscuba

    iluvscuba Active Member

    My journey:

    - Started hearing about EV and PHEV in early 2016
    - Can't find the 2016 Volt in Ottawa
    - Test drove the 2017 Volt but does not like the engine whine
    - Test drove the 2017 Leaf but dealer told me it will get about 50km in Canadian winter which is no good for me
    - Test drove the 2017 Ioniq EV and almost bought it until I heard about the 2018 Leaf and want to compare before purchase
    - Son does not like the look of the 2018 Leaf so we test drove the 2017 Volt again but still does not like the engine
    - Ready to put down a deposit on the 2018 Leaf in mid Jan when I learn about the Clarity PHEV
    - Found a local dealer that has stock and test drove, love it.
    - Brought son to test drove Clarity, he likes it too
    - Start researching about Clarity, found PriusChat forum, learn more about the car
    - Test drove it a 3rd time and put down a deposit

    Since then I helped 2 friends bought the Clarity also
    PHEV Newbie and descolado like this.
  15. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    These are fun to read.
    descolado likes this.
  16. Fidzio

    Fidzio Member

    Ran a 2010 Jetta Sportwagen as a local round town driver for 7 years - great fuel economy and zippy around town. Then came "dieselgate" and VW offered to repurchase my 7 year old car (with 190k km) for $15K. Where do I sign!!! :) Our son bought a Chevy Volt last June and I liked the quiet, the fuel economy, (zero fuel, as we generally drive less than 75km daily!) and that was my plan until I found the Honda Clarity in December. I would have preferred a hatchback, but the Volt is a little lower and has poor rear visibility and similar range and gas fuel economy. After a few test drives in the Clarity we bought one and we love it!!!
    KentuckyKen and descolado like this.
  17. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Enjoying all the stories too: here’s mine.
    Started out in Toyotas in 1979 and wound up in my first Honda, a 1989 Accord, when the Toyota dealer would not deal on price. Got a great deal and that old wishbone suspension gave a great ride. Best car I ever owned. So were the two CRVs later that I got for my mother in law. Bullet proof reliability, low cost of ownership, and great handling. I was sold on Honda and never looked back. My son drives an Acura and feels the same way.
    Fast forward to 4 weeks ago.
    I was driving a 10 yr old CRV and was totally happy with it but had been wanting a PHEV for the EV economy and gas engine range when taking trips. Only one out there was the Volt at that time and it was just too small, poor sight lines, and no real back seat. So I was in a holding pattern until Honda sent me an email about the Clarity which I had never heard of before. Well after a week of no TV because of scouring the internet 24/7, I realized the Clarity was exactly what I was looking for. Honda reliability, electric economy while in town (90% of my driving; I’m a homebody) but with no range anxiety due to hybrid ICE and with all the modern safety features. I test drove one, did my research on invoice/holdback and got a great deal and 0.9% Honda financing. Also found D80 Honda Care (8yr/100,000m) for $1,304 thanks to this forum. It was very unlike me to pull the trigger in only one week after I became aware that the Clarity even existed, but here I am!
    After 3 weeks of ownership and 600 miles with no gas used at all, I am the happiest camper in the world. It rides great, is the quietest car I’ve ever been in, has plenty of room, more than adequate acceleration in EV mode, and the Honda Sense has already saved me a fender bender. It does have a few things I would change but over all is pretty near perfect.
    Although I’ll have to admit I bought the Clarity primarily for economical reasons (cheap electricity in KY and $7,500 tax credit) say 80% and only 20% for the environmental reasons.
    I raised my son to know you love people not things, but man, I love this car!
    descolado likes this.
  18. Aaron_Menchions

    Aaron_Menchions New Member

    What dealer did you get it from?

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
  19. iluvscuba

    iluvscuba Active Member

    Linda from Barrhaven Honda in Ottawa

  20. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    DITTO - this is my story EXACTLY except i was coming out of a 2015 Toyota Highlander. I was a Prius guy for the last six years, but we gave mine to my daughter, I took the Highlander, and my wife got an Odyssey. Wasn't even two months and I was itching for the Prius Prime, but styling (sorry, looks to me like it was beat with the ugly stick), a 25 mile EV range, and lack of availability in the entire State of Texas cooled my jets - but then I started reading up on the Clarity, my local dealer was able to swing a trade of his for the gray I wanted, and the rest is (my) history...
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  21. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Just to add that I'm at the stage of my life that there won't be a lot more new cars (I'm not that old, I just like driving my cars to the ground) so I wasn't looking for a cheap econobox. There's the BMW and Benz plug-ins but they are half-hearted efforts and not economical to drive. Please don't be offended but the Prius Prime and Chevy Volt (even the top end model that costs more than the Clarity) are too small and have a somewhat cheap feel to them. BEVs were out of the question because I really don't want to spend a lot of time figuring out where the next charging station is on a trip and even 30 minutes (Tesla supercharger) is too long of a wait to "refuel", in my opinion. Clarity satisfies so many of our needs that it was a no brainer. With the tax credit, state rebate and discount, we found the purchase to be incredibly economical at $26,900 before tax and registration (average US new car purchased is about $34,000). I bought an electric luxury car (most of the time) for the price of compact! On top of that, our electric rates are very low whereas gasoline is above average. The Clarity pays for itself every mile I drive it!
    descolado likes this.
  22. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Reasons I bought a Clarity?
    1. Any new vehicle we get is going to have a plug with at least 25 miles all electric range
    2. New vehicle had to have active safety features
    3. Wife drives the vehicle so she has to like it
    4. Wife puts about 20,000 miles a year on, mostly short trips around town, some longer trips get the mileage up
    5. Had to be able to fit 5 for trips (but only 4 people 90% of the time)
    6. Priced less than $40,000 before federal tax credit.
    7. Had to be able to drive long trips on the highway anywhere
    This narrowed down to two choices, the base 2018 Pacifica Hybrid or the Clarity PHEV. Decided we didn't need the van any more (coming from a Nissan Quest). PacHy at $40k is pretty basic, they remove the active safety features and some other features that should be standard, so the one we would have wanted would have been closer to 50k.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  23. K8QM

    K8QM Active Member

    It's pretty amazing to me that we bought a car at all. Before the Clarity our current "fleet" consisted of a 20 year old pickup only used for truck errands; plus a Honda CRV, Honda Accord and Toyota Highlander with an average age of 14 years and an average mileage of 190,000. When the Highlander was given to us last year it skewed the numbers a bit since the Accord (250k) and the CRV (230k) are our daily drivers.

    For 2 or 3 years we've been saying that we needed a new vehicle just so we wouldn't end up having to replace two in the same year but there just hasn't been anything that lit us up enough to even go car shopping. We've been lukewarm on the Prius offerings, the Accord hybrid never seemed any great advantage over a non-hybrid Accord after growing up with Chevys (during some of their worst years) I just wasn't interested in going that direction.

    Cut to a Saturday morning hike when my wife says she saw a commercial for a new Honda PHEV the night before and that after reading up on it she'd like to drive by the dealer on the way home and take a look. I "knew" it was a waste of time, but we stopped by anyway and the dog and I made small talk with the salesmen mosh pit while my wife looked over the vehicle. We ended up doing a test drive and buying the car the next Tuesday and picked it up on Friday of the same week so maybe I didn't know as much as I thought.

    We've had ours for almost a month now and both are enjoying the car. The struggle now is to determine who is going to sell their old car as 5 vehicles for 3 drivers is a bit of an overkill.

    So, why did we buy?

    1. PHEV
    2. Honda
    3. Tax credit still available
    4. Yeah, maybe our daily drivers are getting a little old.

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