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Honda Clarity: New York Auto Show

 What Is It?

Taking a 3-in-1 approach, the Honda Clarity marks the first time in which three different electrified powertrains are available in one vehicle. Honda expects a fivefold increase in its electric vehicle (EV) sales in the next 4 years as it works toward a goal in which two-thirds of its global sales are to be electrified by 2030. Clarity represents a critical building block to that end.

In December of 2016, the Clarity Fuel Cell launched. It is the first of the three legs of the Clarity stool, supplying electricity to the fully electric motor through the chemical reaction of hydrogen fuel cells. Joining it over the next few months will be the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and the Clarity Electric.

Honda promises an all-electric range of 42 miles for the Plug-in Hybrid, which would be the longest range of any current midsize hybrid. Once the battery is depleted, a 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine will take over for a total estimated range of more than 330 miles, with a recharge time from a 240V source of less than 3 hours. Combined horsepower of the gas engine and electric motor is 181 horsepower. Honda expects the government to rate mileage for the hybrid system at 105 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent).

Affecting mileage, but providing a choice between ultra fuel economy and more aggressive performance, the Plug-in Hybrid offers three driving modes: Normal, Econ and Sport.

The time it takes to recharge a fully electric vehicle has historically been a huge stumbling block for consumers. Honda goes a long way in addressing the recharging issue with its Clarity Electric fully electric vehicle. Charging at a 240V source is a mere 3 hours, while a DC fast-charging system can bring the battery array to 80 percent of capacity in 30 minutes.

Honda expects the government to rate MPGe fuel economy for the Clarity Electric at 120 mpg in the city, 102 mpg on the highway and 111 mpg combined. It also provides three driving modes varying from best fuel economy to sport.

Honda Clarity is a true 5-passenger sedan. Styling inside and out is modern without being gimmicky.

 How Much?

To be announced. Clarity Fuel Cell offers a lease program for $369 per month.

 When Can You Get It?

Clarity Electric: late summer 2017 in California and Oregon.

Clarity Plug-in Hybrid: fall 2017.

 Add It to Your Shopping List Because….

No matter where you are on the environmentally friendly continuum, Honda Clarity has a version for you. If you want go electric, but your driving needs demand more range, it’s the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. Engineered for committed electrified believers, Clarity Electric fills the bill. And, if you want the next-big thing, It’s Clarity Fuel Cell. The electrified powertrains aside, Clarity is a fully functional family hauler with all the popular connectivity and driver-assist technologies.

 Other Cars to Consider

Plug-in Hybrid

2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid — Solid styling, lots of passenger and cargo room, and a value in the segment.

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf — Quiet operation, hatchback styling and better-than-expected handling.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime — Best-looking Prius, comfortable cabin and Toyota reliability.


2017 Kia Soul EV — Decent range, fun styling and value-priced.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq — Exceptionally efficient, mainstream styling and loaded with high-tech.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV — Impressive range, roomy interior and dynamic acceleration for its segment.

See all 2017 New York Auto Show articles

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More

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