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I went to a local mall that held a Honda Clarity drive event. We were allowed a short test drive of the vehicle as well as a pitch from the Honda representative.

My thoughts:

The car is unique in the fact that it drives in such a normal fashion. The Clarity drive mode defaults in trying to stay in all electric mode. There is a discernible point in the accelerator pedal when pressed it will engage the engine. The Clarity really wants use to stay in electric mode only. The Clarity has 2 motor electric drive and essentially makes it a direct drive transmission. There is no shuttering with an older CVT. It is smooth and quiet and sufficiently powerful for most driving. It can be charged via a 110V outlet ( I believe it will go about 47miles on electricity and recharge is several hours on 110V household current. It also has 220V quick charger). It also has "regen" paddles that allow control of the severity of the "regen". It will almost make it a one pedal affair in the strongest setting.

The interior is quite stunning. There is many unique material choices and the ergonomics are spectacular. It will fit 5 people in relative comfort. Sight lines were very good. It does have this weird little glass panel behind the backseats that allows you to see behind you a little further than without one. It is a strange design feature but kind of useful. The touchscreen responded quickly but doesn't have a volume knob. The steering wheel has all the redundant controls on them. The seats ( a big sticking point for me since I really do not like my Insight seats for long drives) appear to be very well designed for comfort and longer drives.

The exterior is a mess in my opinion. The front 3/4 is fine. The rear 1/4 is stylistically all over the place. The rear wheel slats looks disjointed from the rest of the car. The back hatch is a 2 window affair. It seems that the Clarity could have been a proper hatch but Honda backed off and fashioned it as a sedan to suit US tastes. (This is only my opinion!). Would this dissuade me from buying it? No because the good points outweigh the bad on this.

Good:
*easy to charge at home without and retrofitting
*smooth drive experience
* Interior is well though out and easily has room for five
* Fits most American's drive habits on electricity alone with a gas engine for longer drives
*Cavernous trunk space

Bad:
*Exterior styling is chaotic
*Unsure where this really fits in Honda's lineup with the upcoming Insight/Accord hybrids

My Conclusion:
This is as big if not bigger than the new Accord on the inside but about the same on the exterior. . The Clarity may make an appealing lease is that suits you. I do feel that the exterior treatment will put off some people. Also if you want a new Plug-in from Honda , this is it for now. As an aside, I feel that the new Insight might be the right vehicle out of the bunch of Honda' latest hybrid offerings. If Honda intends to introduce a plug-in Accord, than the Clarity may be redundant in the lineup.

Thanks for reading
 
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