The Honda Clarity works well in electric-only mode, but its loud gas engine and quirky gear selector and dashboard controls should give shoppers pause.

In electric-power mode, the car runs quietly and smoothly, providing quick acceleration even when climbing hills. But if the driver punches the accelerator or when the vehicle switches over to gas-only because the battery is depleted, the four-cylinder engine awakens with a ruckus that’s strikingly loud. 


In our testing, the car went 48 miles on electric power, almost matching the category-leading Chevrolet Volt. The Clarity got 39 mpg overall on gas in CR tests. It has a mediocre combined range of a little more than 300 miles. (The car takes 2.5 hours on 240 volts and 12 hours on 120 volts to recharge.)

This four-door sedan has a comfortable ride, but handling is awkward because the body leans in corners and steering response is sluggish. It has more interior space than its rivals, but the front seat isn’t very supportive because of a short cushion and limited adjustability.

Controls are confusing, including the fussy push-button gear selector. The Clarity comes standard with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. It uses a distracting video feed along the passenger side instead of a more effective blind-spot warning system that covers both sides.

Read the complete Honda Clarity road test.

2018 Honda Clarity

HIGHS: Acts as an EV for short distances, ride comfort, interior room
LOWS: Clumsy handling, front-seat comfort, confusing controls, noisy engine
POWERTRAIN: 212-hp, 1.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine; continuously variable transmission; front-wheel drive
FUEL: 48-mile electric range, 39 mpg on regular fuel

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the July 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.