News: All-New 2019 Honda Insight Hybrid Coming This Summer

News: All-New 2019 Honda Insight Hybrid Coming This Summer

Will Third Time Be a Charm for the Insight?

Honda has revealed that its third-generation Insight hybrid will make its world debut next Monday, Jan. 15 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Called the “Insight Prototype,” the company says the all-new car will be positioned above the Civic as a “premium compact,” offering a roomy interior and civilized road manners.

It’s easy to forget that the Insight name started the hybrid era in the U.S. back in December 1999. The tiny, tear-drop-shaped two-passenger with flared rear wheels boasted an EPA fuel economy rating of 61-mpg city/70 highway/65 mpg combined. (Converted to present standard, the EPA reckons it at 49 city/61 highway/53 combined.)

2019 Honda Insight

It started small back in 1999

Then, in June 2000 the Plain Jane four-door Prius arrived and took the wind out of the Insight’s sails. To fight back, Honda introduced a second-generation Insight in 2009, a four-door compact hatchback that looked a bit like a Prius but didn’t approach the Toyota’s fuel economy. Honda touted it as the “least expensive hybrid,” but it never caught on with buyers and was discontinued in 2014.

This new third-generation model apparently takes the place of the Civic Hybrid, which was dropped from the lineup with the compact car’s latest edition in 2015.

“The new 2019 Honda Insight signals we are entering a new era of electrification with a new generation of Honda products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional trade-offs in design, premium features or packaging,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of automobile sales and general manager of the Honda Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “The Honda Insight is anticipated to receive fuel economy ratings competitive with the best hybrids in the segment, with styling that will have universal appeal inside and out and best-in-class passenger volume.”

“In Excess of EPA 50 MPG”

Honda says the new Insight is expected to receive an EPA fuel economy combined rating “in excess of 50 mpg,” competitive with other compact hybrid offerings. Just to keep pace with competitors’ hybrid offerings, the Insight will need to deliver 56 or 58 mpg to top the highest-mileage versions of the Toyota Prius Liftback and the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, respectively.

To meet or beat the competition’s fuel economy, the Insight will be powered by a version of Honda’s third-generation two-motor hybrid system and multimode direct-drive transmission, the same as found in the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. It features a highly efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine, a powerful electric propulsion motor and lithium-ion battery pack. In most conditions, the new car will operate on electric power only, drawing energy from the battery pack or, if depleted, starting up the gas engine to act as a mobile generator.

Looks Like a Civic

2019 Honda Insight

Looking like part of the family

While Honda hasn’t disclosed what is under the sheet metal, the Insight has a distinct Civic look. It is long and low, with an aerodynamically tapering roof line that echoes a four-door coupe that appears to be optimized for aerodynamic efficiency. It features LED lighting in the front and rear, and its grill shares the “flying wing” styling with other cars in the Honda lineup. Its long wheelbase translates to roominess for the five passengers, according to Honda.

Inside, the Insight appears to be more upscale than the Civic with a seven-inch digital gauge cluster, a larger, eight-inch central touchscreen with volume knob and the push-button shifter found in several other Honda products. A host of premium features includes available perforated leather seating, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates.

2019 Honda Insight

Inside the Insight is all of Honda’s latest tech

It will also incorporate the Honda Sensing suite of active-safety features. Those include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure alert, and a new traffic-sign recognition feature. Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot-camera system will be offered on EX and above trims.

Where Does the Insight Fit into The Honda Lineup?

When it arrives this summer, the Insight’s EPA rating and sticker price will be key to the new version’s success, but those won’t be known until next week at the Detroit show at the earliest. What also may be clear with more info is how this new hybrid fits into Honda’s lineup range. The company has just finished launching the Honda Clarity series, a trio which includes the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid along with battery-electric and fuel cell-electric models. On top of that, the larger 2018 Accord Hybrid is also set to go on sale in the next couple of months.

Like fuel economy and price, we will have to wait and see.

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Test Drive: 2010 Honda Insight

Flash Drive: 2017 Honda Clarity Electric

News: Dedicated Hybrid Coming to Honda’s Truck Lineup

Road Test: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

News: Honda Clarity Named 2018 Green Car of the Year

News: Honda Clarity Named 2018 Green Car of the Year

Clarity Family Wins Honor for Three Models

Green Car Journal awarded its 2018 Green Car of the Year trophy to the Honda Clarity family of vehicles, which comes as a fuel cell electric, battery electric or plug-in hybrid. The magazine noted that “Honda’s Clarity sedan is a future-thinking model that redefines how to deliver what drivers desire today, while also anticipating the shifting needs of a more environmentally positive driving future.”

2018 Green Car of the Year

Honda’s Clarity Fuel Cell was one-third of the winners

The Clarity was picked from an all-Asian nameplate field of contenders, including the Honda Accord, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Camry. The award was announced during Automobility/LA, the media preview to the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The jury for the award includes Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, president and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and board member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, president emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Mindy Lubber, president of CERES; and Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, plus celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno and Green Car Journal editors. 

2018 Green Car of the Year

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid may have closed the deal for the award

“The Green Car of the Year award is further validation of Honda’s approach to electrification with the Clarity family of vehicles,” said Steven Center, vice president of connected and environmental business at American Honda. “The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, Clarity Electric and Clarity Fuel Cell offer the power of choice to consumers who want to step in to an electrified vehicle without the compromise. We are proud to deliver on that promise to offer these three advanced powertrains you can only find from Honda in a roomy five-passenger sedan with all the creature comforts that consumers expect today.”

Clean Fleet Report has spent time in all three models and concurs that they have accomplished quite a feat by offering such a variety of powertrains in one model. Our test drive of the Clarity Fuel Cell is here and one of the Clarity Electric is here. A full road test of the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is here. We’re not sure the individual Clarity models are the best in each of their categories, but the unique offering of three powertrain choices definitely stands out.

2018 Green Car of the Year

The Honda Clarity Electric is the third member of the family

Road Test: 2018 Honda CR-V Turbo AWD

Road Test: 2018 Honda CR-V Turbo AWD

New Engine Powers an Old Favorite

Honda’s CR-V plowed into the small sport-utility vehicle market in 1997, taking just one year to outsell Toyota’s pioneering RAV4.  Since then, the four-door people mover has become the country’s bestselling small SUV with nearly four million sold, and has been a source of continued sales strength for Honda as car owners gravitate more toward crossover SUVs over sedans.

2018 Honda CR-V

The 2018 CR-V carries over the 2017 new look

Honda’s come a long way from the spunky original CR-V (which stood for “comfortable runabout vehicle”), with its rear-mounted spare tire and spindly suspension parts visible underneath. To keep the sales momentum going, Honda introduced an all-new fifth-generation CR-V for the 2017 model year, which continues for 2018 with no changes. The new “runabout” comes in four flavors: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring.  Pricing starts at $24,150 for the base front-wheel drive LX, with the range-topping Touring with all-wheel drive priced at $34,050. Front-wheel-drive (FWD) remains standard, with all-wheel-drive (AWD) a $1,300 option.

New Turbocharged Engine

There’s a lot to talk about with the new CR-V: styling changes, upgraded interior, safety features and a stellar new turbocharged engine offering. To be price competitive, the CR-V base LX model carries over the proven and reliable

2018 Honda CR-V

Better fuel economy with no loss of performance

naturally aspirated 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower (hp) and 180 pounds-feet lb-ft) of torque. It continues to be a member of Clean Fleet Report’s All-Wheel Drive 30 MPG Club delivering 31 mpg highway/25 city/27 combined. FWD adds one mpg in each cycle.

All other trim levels get their motivation from a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, also used in Honda Civic, that knocks out 190 hp and 179 lb-ft. Unlike some turbo engines, this one is happy drinking regular unleaded gasoline. Both engines have similar horsepower output, but the turbo engine’s advantage is fuel economy. AWD versions return 33 mpg hwy/27 city/29 combined, joining our club. Again, FWD adds one mpg.

Regardless of engine, all 2017-2018 CR-Vs direct engine power to the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Honda has been on a mission to improve its CVTs since introduced on the 1996 Civic HX, and it shows. The rubber-band feeling of previous generations is gone, replaced by revs that shoot up high when needed and return quickly to a more efficient—and less noisy—level when not.

A New Look

Though still unmistakably a CR-V, the latest version of Honda’s small SUV is slightly longer, wider and taller than the last generation, giving it more visual presence than before. Just looking at the new CR-V, with its distinctive new front end, sharply flared fenders and a sculpted hood, is a delight. The crossover’s side profile, meanwhile, looks a lot like its predecessor with the sharp, upward angle seen in its rearmost roof pillar. At the tail, the CR-V’s lamps are mounted quite high.  Design is subjective, but the new additions add up to a much sleeker and more sophisticated design than the outgoing generation.

2018 Honda CR-V

Honda’s new look includes an updated rear

Ground clearance has also increased, from 6.3 inches for FWD models and 6.7 inches for AWD versions to 7.8 and 8.2 inches, respectively. This is particularly good news for CR-V owners who will contend with snow and those who venture off road.

A Delightful Interior

One look at the CR-V’s interior alone may be enough to convince you to buy this SUV, the interior looks and feels high-end. The cabin is roomier—rear legroom increases to a whopping 40.4 inches—and features upgraded materials such as a soft-touch dashboard and exquisitely stitched seats. Upper trims even add handsome imitation wood trim. Typical of Honda, there are no actual gauges in the cluster; just a digital speed readout and a virtual tachometer, which are easy to read at a quick glance. Seats on our CR-V Touring test vehicle had nice leather trim wrapping that looked almost sporty but provided just enough bolstering.

2018 Honda CR-V

The CR-V interior moves up to delightful

Honda knows its buyers well, as evidenced by some of the small changes, such as returning the radio volume knob, available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, twin 2.5-amp USB ports in back, a reconfigured center storage bin designed for what real people stash and reshaped door pockets with drink holders that will accommodate bottles as large as one liter in size. Depending on trim, there’s either a five- or seven-inch display screen, and below, the CR-V’s climate control system is simple and intuitive.

Standard equipment includes power windows, locks and outside mirrors; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; air conditioning; cruise control; Bluetooth connection; and a backup camera. Stepping up in trim levels finds pushbutton start, heated power seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded audio system with satellite radio, a navigation system and a sunroof.   

Not only is the CR-V’s cabin spacious, but the rear doors open wide, giving lots of elbow room to easily install a child or booster seat. New this year is an available hands-free power tailgate. Like others, it opens the hatch with a sweep of the foot beneath the bumper. Once opened, there’s a class-leading 39.2 cubic-ft. in the cargo area, and 75.8 cubic-ft. with the seat backs folded.

Honda’s CR-V comes standard with the usual allotment of airbag safety equipment, anti-lock brakes and stability control. All but the base LX comes standard with blind-spot, rear cross-traffic, lane-departure and forward collision warning systems, plus automatic emergency braking and lane-departure prevention. This sort of equipment is almost always optional on competitors, and often then restricted to top trim levels.

Competent Driving

Our evaluation Honda CR-V was a fully loaded AWD Touring model with a sticker price of $34,595, including a $900 destination charge. The test model seemed faultless, with nary a squeak or rattle. Knobs and gauges were properly placed and easy to use and see.

As you would expect with a major model makeover, the body became more rigid to improve ride and handling. The independent suspension, front and rear, borrowed from the Civic, is also new. The redesigned CR-V was both comfortable over rough roads and composed around corners. The suspension did a commendable job of striking a balance between the two; it stayed cushioned when cruising but was still tight enough to keep the CR-V from leaning too much around corners. Though not particularly sporty, on country roads the little SUV headed into turns with some eagerness.

2018 Honda CR-V

Class-leading storage now accessible by foot

Our CR-V was great around town, even though there was often turbo lag—a slight hesitation between hitting the gas pedal and feeling the full thrust kick in—when pulling away from a stop light. While it wasn’t the quickest thing on four wheels, acceleration was smooth. It always had enough juice to merge into fast-moving freeway traffic and then happily cruise in the far left lane.

Driving at 70-75 mph on the freeway, the CR-V easily exceeded the EPA’s estimate, turning in 36 mpg. Combined fuel economy, after totaling 326 miles, was 31 mpg.

In the Marketplace

In a segment that includes such stalwarts as the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Chevy Equinox and Jeep’s new Compass, this newest CR-V manages to rise to the top. While not the best at every single thing, it’s a top class compact SUV with a great interior, plenty of passenger room, lots of cargo space and excellent fuel economy with the available turbocharged engine.

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Tech: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Road Test: 2017 Acura MDX Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Acura MDX Hybrid

Powerful, More Efficient Flagship SUV

Hybrid vehicles are designed to improve upon gasoline-powered cars rather than replace them. The Acura MDX, a midsize, three-row crossover SUV, is no paragon of fuel efficiency on its own, but when you add an electric component to the drivetrain, it jumps up to earning the mileage of a compact hatchback, despite its bountiful power, hauling capacity—and mass.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

The 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid adds fuel economy without sacrifice

Knowing that the current action in the personal transportation business is in the crossover segment, Acura positions the MDX Hybrid as a flagship. While the Hybrid’s engine drops from a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 to a 257-horsepower 3.0-liter one, adding in not one but three electric motors and a 1.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pushes the total output to a formidable 321 horsepower and 289 pounds-feet of torque, making it the brand’s mightiest SUV ever.

Acura’s engineers tucked all this extra technology underneath the car, so passenger and cargo space is unaffected, and the extra couple of hundred pounds adds to stability by lowering the center of gravity.

A Transmission Upgrade

The Sport Hybrid gets a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual mode, like the one in the RLX Sport Hybrid sedan and the nine-speed version in the NSX. You get virtually instant gear changes, as the second clutch sets up the next gear before you select it. Dropping the usual torque converter, a dual-clutch transmission is more efficient. You can use steering wheel mounted paddles to pick your own gears to add to the sportiness.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

The hybrid tech is all packaged underneath

The three motors are integrated tightly into the existing powertrain. In front, a 47-horsepower motor is part of the transmission. At the rear, twin 36-horsepower motors sit where the differential for all-wheel-drive lives.

Acura’s SH-AWD all-wheel-drive technology is a proven feature. The twin rear motors in this application use torque vectoring to affect handling in positive ways. For example, during turns, the outer wheel can be given more torque. All three motors regenerate electricity while braking to fill the battery for more EV driving.

The Numbers Are Good

The Hybrid MDX gets EPA ratings of 26 mpg city/27 highway/27 combined. The regular MDX achieves 18/26/21 respectively, so the Hybrid is 24 percent more efficient. Smog and Greenhouse gas numbers are both 6’s, which is normal for 3.0-liter V6s. The 329 grams of CO2 emitted by this car is about three-fourths of what many similar-sized vehicles put out, so there’s some positive environmental impact.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

The hybrid system allows for downsizing of the engine but not not the total power

Despite its size and height, electronic tuning and controls allow you to personalize the driving experience, so you can tackle interesting roads. While the standard MDX offers three preconfigured driving modes—Comfort, Normal and Sport—the MDX Hybrid gives you a Sport+ mode as well. Each setting uses the car’s electronic controls to enable more and more extreme modification to steering effort, throttle response, shock damping, shift points and the amount of torque vectoring to suit the driving conditions and the driver’s taste.

A New Face

Acuras have worn some aggressive faces in the last several years, but have toned that down recently to look less beaky. The new MDX design features the “Diamond Pentagon” grille, made up of tiny elements radiating away from the oversize Acura logo at the center. This is becoming the new face of the brand, scaled to fit each model. Knowing that they compete against models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz with long-familiar visages, Acura has struggled to create a meaningful identity that sticks. This new look is easy to take, but time will tell.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

The MDX shows the new face of Acura

Interiors are plush in an upscale way, with the distinctive boldly carved dash and doors making every moment inside an Acura a stimulating experience. Materials rate above sister division Honda’s, as expected.

The MDX Sport Hybrid comes in two forms: Technology and Advance. The Advance incorporates the Technology package. Highlights of the Technology package include a navigation system with voice recognition, AcuraLink Communication System with Real-Time Traffic, the Acura ELS Studio Premium Audio System, a GPS-linked Tri-Zone Auto Climate System, Blind Spot Information System and rear cross traffic monitor, rain-sensing wipers and more. The Advance brings in a surround-view camera system, leather sport seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, wood trim, rear door sunshades, and more amenities.

The Final Tally

2017 Acura MDX Hybrid

The MDX Sport Hybrid adds fuel economy to luxury

Prices start at $53,915 for the Technology Package version. My White Diamond Pearl tester, an Advance model with no additional options, listed at $58,975. The non-hybrid MDX starts at $45,025, if you want the look and utility, but not the hybrid performance.

As it has done for all its existence, Acura fights against the German luxury brands, as well as Lexus, Infiniti, Cadillac, Volvo and other. Honda can hope its customers will move upward into Acuras, part of the assignment for the founding Integra and Legend models. The MDX is an Acura perennial, and with crossovers hotter than ever, is a suitable flagship. The Sport Hybrid makes it more than a bit more fuel efficient.

In order to give you, the reader, the best perspective on the many vehicles available, Clean Fleet Report has a variety of contributors. When possible, we will offer you multiple perspectives on a given vehicle. We hope you’ll enjoy these diverse views–some are just below—and let us know what you think in comments below or at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

First Drive: 2017 Acura MDX (Michael’s view)

Road Test: 2016 Acura MDX (Larry’s view)

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Flash Drive: 2017 Honda Clarity Electric

Flash Drive: 2017 Honda Clarity Electric

Another Honda Foray into Electric Drive

Honda is an engineering-driven company and its product lines have generally reflected that. They’re not likely to win design awards or draw accolades for marketing campaigns, but they are loaded with tech goodies and built with a solid engineering input.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric

The Clarity EV’s got a classy, sporty look

Enter the 2017 Honda Clarity Electric. It’s not the first electric car from Honda (that was the limited edition Fit of a few years ago) and far from the first on the market. You could argue it’s still not the first purpose-built EV from Honda since it shares its body with the Clarity Fuel Cell (I know, still an electric car, but with some significant differences we’ll touch on later).

But it is a Honda, well-engineered and packed with everything Honda engineers thought the market would need to embrace an electric Honda. Its motor with 161 horsepower (hp) and 221 pounds-feet (lb-ft) of torque, plenty to move a 4,024-pound midsize sedan. The system, similar to the electric motor in the Fuel Cell Clarity, delivers an excellent 114 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent, showing the efficiency of the motor’s ability to convert electrons to power on the road. However, it only has an 89-mile range out of its 25.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric

The interior’s got luxury touches

It appears Honda’s engineers have triumphed over its marketing folks, who clearly should have seen the 200+-mile range Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 and 100+-mile range second generation Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and others coming. The EV propulsion technology appears up-to-date, but the range performance clearly is not. It appears that the Honda engineers looked at the figures for the average American commute (about 50 miles), added some extra cushion and figured they were good.

Blast From the Past

The exercise brings to mind Honda’s first hybrid—the 60+ mpg two-passenger Insight (not the later hybrid of the same name). It was a wonderful piece of engineering that delivered fuel economy numbers that have set the mark until the advent of plug-in cars. The market was not impressed. First, it’s extreme aerodynamic shape turned off folks looking for a more conventionally styled car. Second, since it was a two-passenger model it missed the market mainstream, which is four-passenger sedans. Finally, it was a diminutive vehicle launched in a sea of SUVs and large sedans. As a result, it has a short run and only its engineering reputation survives.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric

The Clarity’s trunk holds almost as much battery as luggage

The market approach for the 2017 Honda Clarity Electric is better than the Insight—it’s a midsize sedan with four doors and plenty of room for five passengers. The battery steals a little trunk space—14.3 cubic feet is left for prospective owners.

Then there’s the conservative nature of Honda. As with their previous EV and its Clarity Fuel Cell, the 2017 Honda Clarity Electric will only be available for lease, not purchase, unlike most of the electric cars on the market. Does this indicate a tentativeness toward the EV market by Honda? It’s unclear and maybe moot since leasing is the smart way to own an EV in this age of rapidly changing technology.

The Drive

I was only allowed a short drive in the 2017 Honda Clarity Electric, so the impressions are limited. It had all of the characteristics of a classic Honda—responsive steering and throttle, good road feel and a nicely laid out and highly functional interior. The car has plenty of spunk. The 18-inch wheels fill the wheelwell and give the Clarity Electric a muscular stance.

Inside, the detail feels like the Clarity is aimed at the entry-level luxury market. It features an eight-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assist technologies. As the only midsize full electric on the market, the Clarity does have a claim to its own piece of the growing EV segment.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric

The chassis of the Clarity EV is simple–and keeps the car planted to the ground

While on-road performance was good, the layout of the car did have some quirks. Ingress and egress from the back seat is a little awkward.

Initially the 2017 Honda Clarity Electric will only be available at select dealers in two states—California and Oregon—both of whom have incentives for EV purchases that leasees would quality for. The initial three-year lease is $269/month with $1,730 down. It allows a generous 20,000 miles a year.

One advantage of the smaller battery pack is faster charging. The Honda can be fully recharged at a 240-volt Level 2 charger in three hours., and hit 80 percent charge at a DC fast-charger in 30 minutes.

Part of the Family

As noted earlier, the 2017 Clarity Electric is the second model with the Clarity name (third if you count the first generation Clarity Fuel Cells—Honda clearly likes to recycle names. The Fuel Cell model was first, introduced earlier this year (also as a lease-only model). The third member of the family will be a plug-in hybrid model.

2017 Honda Clarity Electric

The third member of Clarity team will be the first with a gasoline engine., but it will plug in like this EV

The PHEV will have a four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine augmenting the electric drive. The combined system will have 181 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque.

The family resemblance will be carried through for all three models. Although Honda claims the EV has distinguishing features from its Fuel Cell system car, without having them side-by-side, I think most folks would be hard-pressed to tell them apart. The Clarity’s dimensions are within inches of Honda’s mainstay Accord, which makes us wonder whether this may be a preview of future Honda midsize sedans.

The final quirk appeared when I looked under the front hood. The compact electric motor looked like lost in a spacious engine bay. It turns out fuel cell technology takes up quite a bit more space than current electric technology, so Honda engineers should start working on a frunk for the Clarity Electric’s next generation.

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News: Honda Surprises with Clarity Electric 

Honda Smart Home Integrates Electric Car

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.