2018 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Review

Clarity Fuel Cell

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2018 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Overview

Honda introduced the third generation of its fuel-cell technology in the form of the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell, this time scaled up to the midsize category. As before, it’s available exclusively as a lease to residents of select areas in California. For 2018, the model carries on with no content updates.

From the outside, the Clarity Fuel Cell continues to stand out with its tailored version of Honda’s current school of design. Many of these elements—the ridged roof, the squared-off bumpers, the prominent rear lip spoiler, and the rear wheel air curtains—are designed to help the Clarity Fuel Cell slip through the wind. Others, like the full-height front LED accents, and contrasting black roof, are purely style choices. Either way, the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell looks like no other car on the road.

That attitude is carried into an interior that is almost like a concept car in its ability to be both high-tech and zen. Suede on suede and simulated matte wood are attached to artfully-shaped panels, some of which float and create plenty of space. There’s space for five occupants, but—thanks to the hydrogen tank—just 11.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Every Clarity Fuel Cell uses a fuel cell to convert hydrogen to electricity and an electric motor mounted directly to the front wheels. The system outputs 174 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, with MPGe ratings of 69 city, 67 highway, and 68 combined. The Clarity can travel up to 366 miles on a single tank of hydrogen and refueling takes between 3 and 5 minutes. While the car prioritizes smooth, efficient, and linear power delivery, there is a sport mode that re-tunes it for spirited driving.

The Clarity Fuel Cell is offered in a single well-equipped model that includes 18-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels, keyless access and start, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Options are limited to a premium set of wheels and one of three colors: Bordeaux Red Metallic, White Orchid Pearl, or Crystal Black Pearl. And, thanks to the Honda Link app, owners can check the status of the car or find hydrogen stations along a specific route using a smartphone.

Honda also bundles the Clarity Fuel Cell with its full complement of Honda Sensing safety technology, which includes a reversing camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and lane-keep assist.

Pricing for the Clarity Fuel Cell is identical to last year. It leases for $369 per month with $2,868 due at signing, which includes the first month’s payment. Honda allows up to 20,000 miles per year, and it returns $15,000 in hydrogen fuel and 21 days of luxury car rental service from Avis for buyers who need to travel away from areas that have hydrogen stations. California residents may qualify for a $5,000 rebate and use of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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