2021 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

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2021 MODEL
$33,400 - $36,600

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2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: June 10, 2020
Abhinandan Banerjee's image

Abhinandan Banerjee

Senior Correspondent

Having known a thing or two about being trendsetters, the folks at Honda are always pushing the boundaries of their engineering. And a classic reminder of this approach is their only alternative fuel offering, the 2021 Honda Clarity. 

See detailed review »

Pros

Comfortable and spacious

Long Range 

Silent cabin

Easy cruiser attitude

Cons

Touchscreen system is gimmicky

Not sporty at all

What's New?

The Honda Clarity remains unchanged for 2021.



Styles

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid in Alloy Silver Metallic color
Alloy Silver Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Base

Base

power
193 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$33,400


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) Starting at $33,400 MSRP TBD 193 hp @ 6300 rpm, 2.5 L, Inline 4,
TBD TBD TBD

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Touring

Touring

power
310 hp @ 6700 rpm
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$36,600


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Touring 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) Starting at $36,600 MSRP TBD 310 hp @ 6700 rpm, 3.6 L, V-6,
TBD TBD TBD

Expert Review


The Honda Clarity has been around for a good 5 years now since its relaunch. For 2021, the car will carry forward the same cues from last year with only minor modifications in the standard feature offerings. While its fuel cell variant is a force to be reckoned with, the plug-in hybrid is the more practical option to go for.

And with that kind of practicality, come the equally pragmatic adversaries like the Toyota Prius Prime, and the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid. 

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Features

To keep things clear and well defined, the Honda Clarity PHEV is offered in a choice of 2 trims, Base and Touring. While both of the trims have almost similar features, the Touring trim gets the plusher cosmetic upgrades that make it feel more uptown. 

Trims

Base

Touring

MSRP (AWD)

N/A

N/A

Key Features

Honda Sensing

Safety & Driver-Assistive Technologies

Adds/Upgrades from Base trim

 

Cloth Upholstery

Leather Upholstery on seats and steering wheel

 

LED Headlamps with DRLs and LED Taillamps with Auto On-Off

Satellite Linked Navigation System

 

18-inch Alloy wheels

Power Adjustable Driver and Passenger seats

 

8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD Radio, SiriusXM, HondaLink, and HomeLink

Besides the existing features, Honda also offers a bucketload of additional packages and accessories that come in handy during the customization stage and help you build the Clarity to your heart’s content. 

Which trim should you buy?

While both of the trims seem like a great choice, the base trim is pretty encompassing in itself. It comes with most of the creature comforts and tech features of the upper trim and yet stays value for money.

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Engine and Performance

Breathing life into the Honda Clarity is a perfect combo of a 1.5L I-4 engine and 2 electric motors. The combined power from the system is 212 hp and the combined torque is 232 lb-ft of torque. 

The marvelous job of taming the power from the powertrain and putting it to the front wheels is a CVT transmission system. Despite being a CVT run car, the Clarity is a spirited driver.

Model

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid*

Toyota Prius Prime*

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid*

MSRP

N/A

$39,220

$33,040

Engine

1.5L Inline-4, 2 Electric motors

1.8L Inline-4 with hybrid system

1.6L Inline-4 with 1 Electric motor

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

Continuously variable-speed automatic

Continuously variable-speed automatic

6-speed manual

Power (hp @ rpm)

212

N/A

165

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

232

N/A

N/A

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

When compared to the others, the engine of the Honda is the smallest while Toyota employs the biggest engine. But, Honda has much more reliance on electric power with 2 motors while the other two stick to just one. 

How fast can a Honda Clarity go?

As a PHEV, the Honda Clarity is faster than most others of the segment. Thanks to the immediate power delivery from the electric motors, the Honda Clarity PHEV completes the 0-60 run in just 7.6 seconds and the quarter mile comes up in 16.1 seconds.

Model

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid*

Toyota Prius Prime*

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid*

0-60 MPH (sec)

7.6

9.8

8.2

Quarter Mile (sec)

16.1

N/A 

N/A

Top Speed (MPH)

N/A

N/A

N/A

Engine

1.5L Inline-4, 2 Electric motors

1.8L Inline-4 with hybrid system

1.6L Inline-4 with 1 Electric motor

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

Despite being heavy, in comparison to the competition, the Honda Clarity cruises to victory while the Hyundai Ioniq claims the next spot. With this, Honda also proves that bigger engines do not always win races.

Honda Clarity Brakes

The Honda Clarity is one hefty vehicle that crosses the 4000 lbs mark. To bring a vehicle as heavy as this to an amicable stop, the brakes need to be on point. And to make sure that happens, the folks at Honda have equipped the Clarity with one of the best brakes in a Honda which are also quite big. 

Model

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid*

Toyota Prius Prime*

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid*

Brake Rotors Front (inches)

12.3

10

11

Brake Rotors Rear (inches)

12.2

10.2

11.2

Curb Weight (lbs)

4052

3375

3318

60-0 MPH (ft)

N/A

N/A

N/A

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

When you take a look at its rotor size, you will come to notice that Honda uses the biggest brakes in the Clarity to make way for confident and linear braking without jitters. And Honda has certainly delivered on that front. 

How is the drive experience of the Honda Clarity?

The Honda Clarity might look like the NSX from a glance, but in reality, it is far from it in terms of performance. The ride is meant for cruising down the road rather than breaking any speed records. The suspensions are tuned for comfort and provide the same to a good avail. Cutting a tight corner is also not a challenge since the ride will stick the turn very nicely. 

The steering wheel is weighted just right and offers a lot of feedback like all other Hondas. Despite packing a lot of weight, the car handles like a charm and can be likened to driving a much smaller vehicle. The cabin stays silent at all times and the absence of any vibrations further make sure that the ride remains calm and comfortable. 

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Fuel Economy

Fuel economy has always been one of the key factors in Plug-in Hybrids since these vehicles tend to offer a much better MPG figure. 

On that note, the Honda Clarity PHEV offers 44 MPG in the city, 40 MPG on the highway, and 42 MPG combined. For a car that is planning to take on segment leaders, these are pretty respectable numbers. 

Model

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid*

Toyota Prius Prime*

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid*

MPG (City)

44

55

N/A

MPG (Highway)

40

53

N/A

MPG Electric (Combined)

42

54

52

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

7.0

11.4

11.4

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) (mi)

308 / 280/ 294

627 / 604 / 615.6

N/A

Emission (Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

N/A

N/A

N/A

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

Although the Clarity’s numbers are impressive, they are still far behind the segment leader, the Toyota Prius Prime. With a bigger fuel tank and better fuel economy, the total range of the Prius Prime is more than double than what a Honda Clarity can offer after a full refuel. 

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Interior

The interiors of the Honda Clarity are pretty similar to what you would expect in a Honda Accord. Contrasting leather or cloth upholstery with wood and metal inlays give it a very uptown feel. The center console is decorated with the infotainment system and various in-vehicular controls.

Model

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid*

Toyota Prius Prime*

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid*

Seating Capacity

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (inches)

39.1 / 59.7 / 42.2

39.4 / 54.2 / 43.2

39.1 / 56.1 / 42.2

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (inches)

37.1 / 57.3 / 36.2

37.2 / 53 / 33.4

37.4 / 55 / 35.7

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

The seats are comfortable in the front but get slightly cramped towards the back. Anyone over 6-feet might find the rear legroom to be subpar since it is comparatively small, despite being the biggest in its competitors. The other notable features you will find inside the cabin are:

  • Multifunction steering wheel with Tilt and Telescopic adjustment
  • Push-Button Start
  • Keyless entry
  • Dual Zone Automatic Climate control with interior air filtration
  • Auto Dimming rearview mirror
  • 2 One Touch power windows
  • Auto Locking doors
  • Cruise Control
  • Dual Front Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
  • LED Map Lights
  • Front and Rear Cupholders
  • Sliding Sun Visors
  • Leather Wrapped Steering wheel
  • 8-Way power adjustable driver seat with power adjustable lumbar support
  • 4-way power adjustable passenger seat

Along with these features, there are many accessories and add-on packages available that are forever ready to raise the bar of the interiors to new heights. 

What is there to keep me entertained?

In-vehicular entertainment is one of the key driving factors nowadays. And more so with the millennial generation. So, the Honda Clarity PHEV comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system which is a pretty decent unit but gets glitchy at times. The notable features of this setup are:

  • 8-inch touchscreen infotainment 
  • 8-speakers with 180W output
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • HomeLink
  • HondaLink
  • SiriusXM Radio
  • Satellite Radio with Real Time traffic 
  • Satellite Navigation
  • Bluetooth
  • HD Radio
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • 1 USB Port with Audio Streaming

The sound quality is adequate to keep you hooked, but we could have been happier if Honda provided an additional premium sound system for the music lovers. 

How much cargo space does the Honda Clarity have?

In terms of cargo space, the Honda Clarity comes with a modest area. The cargo capacity of the Honda Clarity PHEV is 15.5 cu-ft which is just adequate enough for carrying 2 months of household supplies before the area taps out.

There are cupholders in each row, and spacious door pockets in the Clarity that try to soften the blow of the lesser cargo space. 

Model

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid*

Toyota Prius Prime*

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid*

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

15.5

19.8

23

*figures from 2020 model year for reference

When pitted against the others, the Hyundai Ioniq easily claims the top spot with its ample and spacious cargo compartment. The Toyota Prius Prime’s cargo capacity is less than the Ioniq but is still amply big enough to carry around a lot of stuff.

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Exterior

One look at the Honda Clarity, and you might confuse it to be a cross between the Honda Accord and the Acura NSX. The body lines follow the structure of the Accord while the headlamps and highlights carry the accents of the NSX. 

Model

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid*

Toyota Prius Prime*

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid*

Curb Weight (lbs)

4052

3375

3318

Length (inches)

192.7 

182.9 

176.0 

Width (inches)

73.9 

69.3 

71.7 

Height (inches)

58.2 

57.9 

56.9 in

Ground Clearance (inches)

N/A

4.8

5.3

Wheelbase (inches)

108.3 

106.3 

106.3 

*figures from 2020 model year for reference
The structure is smooth flowing as long as you stick to the front but as you move towards the back, it starts to look boxy and more like a minivan, especially around the rear wheel where it has a square cut-off section along with a modest attempt at giving it a widebody look.

The notable features of the exteriors are:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires
  • Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
  • Security System with Remote Entry
  • LED Taillights
  • Body-Colored Decklid Spoiler
  • Smart Entry with Walk Away Auto Lock
  • Heated and Power operated side mirrors with turn signals 
  • Fin-Type Roof-Mounted Antenna
  • LED Headlamps with DRLs and Auto On-Off

Besides these features, there are a lot of accessories that you can pick up during customization to “soup-up” the ride and at least make it look sporty, even though it isn’t. 

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Safety

Honda cars have earned their name by being one of the most reliable and safe cars in the world. And the Honda Clarity PHEV only takes that premise further. It comes with Honda Sensing Safety & Driver Assistive Technologies as standard in both the trims. The features that fall under this safety suite are:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Honda LaneWatch
  • Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with Dynamic Guidelines
  • Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS)
  • Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) 
  • Traction Control
  • ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • 8 dual stage airbags 
  • Front 3-Point Seat Belts with Automatic Tensioning System
  • Child-Proof Rear Door Locks

The IIHS and NHTSA have not tested the Honda Clarity yet. However, with the elaborate safety suite and collision mitigation systems in place, the brand has made sure that every ride is a safe one. 

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Competition

Toyota Prius Prime

In the world of plug-in hybrids, the Toyota Prius Prime is the gold standard. It offers the best fuel economy, immense reliability, and loads of comfort in both rows, which easily makes it the winner of the lot. Also, it is cheaper than the Honda Clarity, and that shows when you drive it since it does not provide the spritely drive experience for which the Honda is known for.

Hyundai Ioniq PHEV 

A capable car that took the competition right to the gates of Tesla Motors, was the Hyundai Ioniq. Offered both as a full EV and a PHEV, the car is the quintessential Hyundai with stylish and bold exteriors, comfortable interiors, and all in a safe and reliable package. The drive experience lags behind the Honda Clarity.

2021 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid Final Verdict

Though the Honda Clarity is not a looker, it is a feature packed offering that offers the classic Honda drive experience, remains comfortable and spacious and at the same time makes sure that you are always safe. Furthermore, as a Plug-in Hybrid, it also keeps a keen eye out for the environment and bolsters the stance of hybrid mobility whilst remaining easy on the pocket.
So if you want something that can tick almost all of the boxes, then the 2021 Honda Clarity PHEV is the one to pick. 

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