2021 Honda Clarity

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Sales of plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) are taking off, and the Honda Clarity is a significant reason why. This well-rounded PHEV has a long list of desired standard features along with an excellent all-electric range of 47 miles (as estimated by the EPA) and an approachable price tag. Many green-minded drivers love the versatility of being able to plug in their car to get enough electric miles to reach most of their daily destinations, without the worry of needing to plug in should they run out, thanks to the gas-burning engine that takes over when the charge is used up. The Clarity name was previously used for an all-electric vehicle, which Honda discontinued following model year 2020, and it’s still in use for a hydrogen fuel cell variant that’s only available in California.


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Powertrain Specs & Trims

Powering the front-wheel-drive 2021 Honda Clarity is the efficient team of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline-burning engine and an electric motor system with a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery pack (which Honda covers with an 8-year battery warranty). This powertrain has an electronic continuously variable transmission (e-CVT) and generates a total system output of 212 horsepower and 232 pounds-feet of torque. According to the EPA, the ’21 Clarity achieves outstanding fuel economy of 110 MPGe (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent), 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway (gas), and a total (gasoline and electric miles combined) driving range of 340 miles.

When the Clarity is fully charged, it can go up to 47 miles solely on electric power before calling on its gas engine. Regeneration paddles (levers marked with + and – that are mounted on the back of the steering wheel) give the driver an alternate way of slowing the car without using the brake pedal, while simultaneously harvesting braking energy that would otherwise be lost. The amount of energy that’s captured depends on which selectable drive mode is used (in other words, how hands-on and engaged the driver chooses to be); it’s stored in the battery to extend the range of electric miles.

The streamlined two-trim lineup of the 2021 Honda Clarity PHEV consists of the base model and the Touring. The base is far from basic, with its heated seats, dual-zone auto temperature control, LED headlights, push-button start, multi-angle backup camera, and Honda LaneWatch blind-spot technology. The Smart Entry with Walk-Away Auto Lock comes in handy, letting the driver lock and unlock the doors with the key fob conveniently remaining in their pocket. Upgrades to the Touring trim include power-adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seats, perforated-leather-upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Technology for Connectivity and Safer Driving

The infotainment system in the base 2021 Honda Clarity has an amply sized 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth (for phone calls and audio streaming), two USB ports, both satellite and high-definition radio, and eight speakers for the audio system. The Touring trim also gets navigation. HondaLink is available to enable several convenient functions such as saving your parking location, viewing your fuel range, and scheduling service via your smartphone.

The 2021 Clarity is built with a super-high-strength chassis that provides enhanced front crash protection. It also gets a number of standard active safety features within the Honda Sensing driver-assist technology suite (forward collision warning, collision mitigation, road departure mitigation, dynamic cruise control, lane keeping assist, and lane departure warning). Honda LaneWatch, which activates a monitor whenever a turn signal is used, also comes standard.

*(NHSTA) Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s New Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model tested with standard side airbags (SAB).