Honda Clarity Electric Long-Term Test

honda-clarity-techThe Honda Clarity Electric, one of the three versions offered in the automaker’s Clarity series of vehicles,  is an innovative and somewhat futuristic-looking mid-size sedan powered exclusively by lithium-ion batteries. It has recently joined Green Car Journal’s long-term test fleet to enable a thorough analysis of what it’s like to live with this battery electric vehicle on a daily basis. The Clarity Series was awarded the magazine’s 2018 Green Car of the Year® award.

Honda designed the Clarity Electric to carry on the automaker’s signature DNA while also giving it a unique appearance with an aggressive front fascia, eye-catching daytime running lights, and angled rear wheel skirts. We find the overall design compelling without going over the top. The electric variant is visually distinguished from the two other models in the Clarity Series with unique front styling, headlights, taillights, and its own 18-inch alloy wheels.

honda-clarity-rearThe interior, too, is forward-looking without resorting to design features too far afield of those that might seem foreign to mainstream buyers. Driver and passengers are treated to what only can be described as a lounge-like cabin with leather upholstery, suede-like trim, and a thoughtful array of instruments and controls that are well-placed and convenient. An 8-inch touchscreen display is intelligently integrated into the instrument panel.

Driver-assist systems are extensive, with Honda Sensing offering such desired features as adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, collision mitigation braking that warns a driver to take corrective action and applies emergency braking if needed, lane keeping assist, and road departure mitigation that can help keep the vehicle in its lane.

honda-clarity-underhoodClarity Electric is powered by an electric drive system featuring a 161 horsepower high-output motor delivering 221 lb-ft torque. Energy is supplied by a 25.5 kWh battery pack. Normal, Econ, and Sport driving modes can be selected. Our early experience with this electric sedan is quite favorable. Handling is precise and the ride comfortable, with plenty of power at the ready for a fun and dynamic driving experience. We also like its paddle-controlled regenerative braking selections that vary the intensity of electricity generation and drag during coast-down.

Honda is leasing the Clarity Electric at select dealers in California and Oregon only with terms that include a mileage allowance of 20,000 miles per year and roadside assistance. Green Car Journal editors are focusing its Clarity Electric testing in California’s Central Coast region where the magazine is headquartered, an ideal location given the area’s diverse driving conditions offering open highways, tight city streets, and curvy canyon roads. We’ll be reporting on our experiences in the coming months.

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