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2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Overview
When Honda introduced the Clarity Fuel Cell last year, they announced it would be the first of an upcoming lineup slated to include both electric and plug-in-hybrid variants. Sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? But Honda has successfully engineered a modular platform for the Clarity that allows different powertrains to be installed without sacrificing interior space or driving dynamics. Last month at the New York Auto Show, Honda at last unveiled the all-new 2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and its Clarity Electric sibling.
The 2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is comprised of an electric motor good for 181 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. A 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder gas engine acts as a generator for the 17-kWh battery pack and helps drive the front wheels in certain situations. Honda claims that the Plug-In Hybrid can travel up to 42 miles on just electric power and boasts a total driving range of over 330 miles with the engine engaged. Fuel economy is estimated to be 105 MPGe combined, and recharging the battery pack will take about 2.5 hours with a 240-volt charger.
You won’t mistake the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid for anything else on the road, thanks in part to its futuristic exterior design. Up front is a narrow grille with a large Honda emblem and thin LED headlights. The sides feature a bold character line that runs through the door handles, sculpting along the bottom edge of the doors, and aerodynamic 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid’s innovative looks continue inside with a sparsely populated dash and a floating center console. Many of the interior parts are made from recycled materials—the upholstery, for example, is made from plant matter. Back-seat space is expected to be similar to the Fuel Cell, with plenty of head and legroom. Honda hasn’t provided cargo-space measurements yet, but they should be slightly better than the Fuel Cell’s 11.1 cubic feet. Standard equipment will likely include power-adjustable front seats, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and an 8-inch touchscreen featuring HondaLink, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
As for safety features, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with the Honda Sensing driver-assistance suite. The suite includes adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and road-departure mitigation.
Unlike the Clarity Fuel Cell and Electric, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid will go on sale across the entire U.S. later this year. Pricing is expected to begin in the mid-$30,000 range.
Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.
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