The 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is one of the industry’s best kept secrets. As the media continues to direct attention toward the influx of new EVs hitting the market, hybrids seemingly draw less and less attention.
But the entry-level cost for most EVs is significantly higher than those of more established hybrids—even those with a proven track record like the Honda Clarity. After being named KBB.com’s 2020 Best Buy in its class, the cat is now out of the bag. The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid will be a secret no longer.
That’s right—the Honda Clarity took home the hardware in a segment that includes the Toyota Prius Prime XLE. On name recognition alone, many buyers would be drawn to the Prius and deservedly so. It’s arguably the most popular and well-established hybrid vehicle since its inception—an industry titan you might say.
Unfortunately, those buyers would be making a grave mistake. Their lack of proper research would leave them with an inferior choice, as the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid simply outclasses its biggest rival in a head-to-head comparison test.
2021 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid vs. 2020 Toyota Prius Prime XLE
Perhaps its biggest advantage is the Clarity’s 47 miles of all-electric range—nearly double the Prius Prime’s 25-mile rating. For city commuting, the Clarity truly excels and can save its owners a fortune at the gas pump by running solely on electric power. On longer trips, both the gasoline and electric power sources combine to yield an EPA-estimated 340-mile range. The Clarity takes only 2.5 hours to charge using a 240-volt source, or up to 12 hours using a 120-volt outlet.
While hybrids have gained a reputation for being a snooze to drive, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid breaks away from the mold. With 212 combined horsepower, the Clarity can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in as little as 7.7 according to Car and Driver. The Prius Prime is hardly a match here, featuring only 121 combined horsepower and drastically inferior acceleration.
Another primary factor buyers demand in a family car like the Honda Clarity is adequate interior room and passenger comfort. Nobody enjoys cramped quarters or being shoulder to shoulder against accompanying passengers in the back seat. With 10 more cubic feet of total passenger volume, there’s more room to stretch out and relax on road trips.
Standard Technology and Safety Equipment
The 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with LED Headlights and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Other amenities include heated front seats, push button start and smart keyless entry.
One of the Clarity’s most innovative features is Honda LaneWatch—which shows a live video of the passenger side roadway on the infotainment screen that reveals nearly four times more than the passenger side mirror alone. Honda Sensing is also included, equipping the 2021 Clarity with a suite of safety and driver assistance technologies that includes Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, Lane Keeping Assist System, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow.
Pricing and Options
The 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid starts at $34,395 after destination and delivery. Unless you spring for the $395 Crimson Pearl or Platinum White Pearl exterior colors, there are no additional extra-cost options available other than OEM accessories and assorted protection packages that include items like all-season floor mats, splash guards, and a trunk tray.
The plush Touring model starts at $37,595 and includes additional luxury features such as leather-trimmed seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power front seats, and an on-board navigation system.