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Discussion Starter #1
I'm still waffling on the decision of gen 2 Volt vs. Honda Clarity, but I visited a Honda dealership yesterday and think I'm leaning more towards the Clarity due to the interior (nicer interior overall, much more rear seat room). Even though there isn't any cash on the hood of the Clarity, the cost of the base model is very similar to an LT with a couple of options, and the Touring is cheaper than a fully loaded Premier gen 2. If the gen 2 was about $3-4k cheaper in street prices at all points, I'd probably be leaning more in that direction, but it's not...

The Clarity also has 7.2 kW charging, which would honestly help out with charging at work (reserve a spot for a few hours). Can't lock it into EV mode other than just not flooring it, but I don't see this being such a big deal, as if I'm going WOT, I'm going to need the extra power.

So has anybody owned both of these and can speak to their experience?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the link! I did do some searching, but guess that didn't jump out at me in the overall forum searches.
 

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That is me, I haven't driven gen 2 Volt though. Heading to S Korea for work for a bit so might be slow to respond. Space is a huge plus in Clarity, but not all need it.
 

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Hey Viking79, how is entry/exit compared to your gen1 Volt? I'm finding that it's getting harder and harder to contort my 6',2" frame into the Volt.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Viking79, how is entry/exit compared to your gen1 Volt? I'm finding that it's getting harder and harder to contort my 6',2" frame into the Volt.
I've been in all three of the above fairly recently - I'd say the Clarity is a bit easier to get in and out of. It seems like the seat bottom is slightly higher than the Volt, and the door openings are slightly larger in height, plus more headroom.

I don't need a ton of extra backseat space on a frequent basis, but the times that I do need it, it'd be nice when I do need it. Kinda like having a gas generator instead of a full BEV. You don't use it all the time, but when you need it, you typically really need it!

I think I'm more attracted to the Clarity because the interior really feels like a $40k+ base car, while the Volt's isn't bad in any way, it more feels like a $20k car's interior. The Clarity seats are also more comfortable for me than either the gen 1 or gen 2 Volt's seats, which I could see being a sticking point in long term ownership.


viking79,

Your blog is really detailed. Found it in the other thread (link for any others stumbling here: https://carswithplugs.wordpress.com ). Do you generally find the Clarity can keep the engine off climbing hills or pulling out in traffic? So far I've seen 2 Clarities, both had completely dead batteries, which doesn't really give a representative test drive to how I'd operate the car 99% of the time. I find that a gen 1 Volt is fine for most everyday acceleration concerns at about 50-60% throttle in Sport, and the gen 2 honestly feels fast enough at ~30-50% throttle in normal mode. I'm guessing that'll just about turn the Clarity's engine on, but that's just a WAG on my part.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just as a note this is not true. I believe the Clarity Electric is 7.2KW (32A) but the Clarity PHEV is 5.7KW (24A). Which is still faster than the Volt's 3.8KW (16A).
Interesting, I couldn't find any number other than the 7.2 kW rate. 5.7 kW would seem to line up a bit better with Honda's quoted time of 2.5 hrs on L2 from empty, but it could do 7.2 kW and have a tapering rate on the high end.

viking79's blog indicates it's at 7.2 kW though:

I have seen charges limited to 4 kw charge rates in cold weather, slowly increasing sometimes. I haven’t confirmed if this is the car limiting the charge rate of the cold battery, but I suspect that is the reason. If I charge after driving the car around for a while it charges at 7.2 kw, but if I plug it in when the battery might be cooler it seems to charge slower than that. It is possible it is the EVSE, but I don’t think it is.
 

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I bet it's closer to 6.6kW.
 

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If you have another appropriate vehicle I'd suggest looking at a Bolt EV. Way more room, way more range, way better performance. You'd have to check out the seats and it doesn't have ACC, but otherwise it seems a better deal. The Clarity PHEV looks great. My only hesitation would be that there are a ton of electronics on these things and electronics has always been the weak point for Honda. Might not be the case, we just don't know. If you're leasing of course not a big deal.

I'd probably take the better deal assuming I could get the options I wanted.
 

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The CC website guide shows the maximum charging acceptance rate for the 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV as being 6.6kW.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If you have another appropriate vehicle I'd suggest looking at a Bolt EV. Way more room, way more range, way better performance. You'd have to check out the seats and it doesn't have ACC, but otherwise it seems a better deal. The Clarity PHEV looks great. My only hesitation would be that there are a ton of electronics on these things and electronics has always been the weak point for Honda. Might not be the case, we just don't know. If you're leasing of course not a big deal.

I'd probably take the better deal assuming I could get the options I wanted.
Not a fan of the Bolt. It didn't feel comfortable to me at all. The Clarity's interior is lightyears better than the Bolt's (which I feel is below the gen 2 Volt's interior).

I can get the gen 2 Volt for cheaper if I'm wanting more of an LT with just leather + driver confidence package, but if I had to guess, I'm thinking the depreciation will be more severe on the Volt than the Clarity. So lower payment, but probably higher total cost of ownership there. The Premier Volt will be the same price as a Touring Clarity, and I imagine the Clarity will have a much lower total cost of ownership there. It's not the only consideration, but it does factor.

Plus I think the Clarity or Volt would have me using EV miles for 90+% of my driving, so the benefits of a pure BEV for me are pretty minor. But I see where you're coming from with the Bolt recommendation. It's a nice car for those that it works out for.
 

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Not a fan of the Bolt. It didn't feel comfortable to me at all. The Clarity's interior is lightyears better than the Bolt's (which I feel is below the gen 2 Volt's interior).

I can get the gen 2 Volt for cheaper if I'm wanting more of an LT with just leather + driver confidence package, but if I had to guess, I'm thinking the depreciation will be more severe on the Volt than the Clarity. So lower payment, but probably higher total cost of ownership there. The Premier Volt will be the same price as a Touring Clarity, and I imagine the Clarity will have a much lower total cost of ownership there. It's not the only consideration, but it does factor.

Plus I think the Clarity or Volt would have me using EV miles for 90+% of my driving, so the benefits of a pure BEV for me are pretty minor. But I see where you're coming from with the Bolt recommendation. It's a nice car for those that it works out for.
Even if you're driving 90% on EV in the Clarity, you still have to have the oil and air filters changed at regular intervals along with all the other ICE maintenance (i.e. Belts, Spark Plugs, etc.). Bolt would skirt all of that. But like you said, the interior of the Bolt feel a few levels below the Clarity so that's an important consideration as well. There's trade offs to both.
 

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Just as a note this is not true. I believe the Clarity Electric is 7.2KW (32A) but the Clarity PHEV is 5.7KW (24A). Which is still faster than the Volt's 3.8KW (16A).
home chargepoint 32A - graph - 2018 Clarity PHEV (not fully discharged):
Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 5.49.41 PM.jpg
seems to agree with my enphase power monitor (15 minute updates):
Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 12.03.24 PM.jpg

Honda Clarity PHEV 6.6 kW charger spec'd as 32A, it may be a 208V vs 240v issue in the spec. See specs at the Honda EV site (link)

I traded in my Gen 2 (ACC) for the Clarity PHEV Touring. I liked both Volts (had both Gen 1 and Gen 2), and particularly Gen 2 Premier had some features I miss, however overall the Clarity has a much larger car feel, is far more comfortable, and meets my needs well.

That said, the dealership sold my Gen 2 ACC, siren red in two days. The Volts are great cars too.
 

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... My only hesitation would be that there are a ton of electronics on these things and electronics has always been the weak point for Honda. Might not be the case, we just don't know. ...
I had exactly the same concern for a GM car (yet, had no problems at all, Gen 1 or Gen 2), but that's what extended warranties are for. Bought one for the Clarity too, I might keep the Clarity for some years.

It was some years back, but also had three Accords, and a Prelude, not a single significant problem with any of them (well the Prelude did have a loose brake clip and corresponding rattle that took a while to find and fix).
 

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I actually prefer the smaller size of the Volt and my wife does too. It's mostly her car to drive and after test driving a Fusion hybrid she found that car much too large. The Clarity is every bit as big, in fact it's an inch longer and an inch wider.

Also the Clarity suffers from its own form of ERDTT, but unlike the Volt it can happen all year around and in all climates. It's called Engine Running Due To Throttle. Hit the throttle hard for maximum acceleration and the ICE comes on. That won't happen in the Volt, and I love that fact.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
home chargepoint 32A - graph - 2018 Clarity PHEV (not fully discharged):
View attachment 145682
seems to agree with my enphase power monitor (15 minute updates):
View attachment 145690

Honda Clarity PHEV 6.6 kW charger spec'd as 32A, it may be a 208V vs 240v issue in the spec. See specs at the Honda EV site (link)

I traded in my Gen 2 (ACC) for the Clarity PHEV Touring. I liked both Volts (had both Gen 1 and Gen 2), and particularly Gen 2 Premier had some features I miss, however overall the Clarity has a much larger car feel, is far more comfortable, and meets my needs well.

That said, the dealership sold my Gen 2 ACC, siren red in two days. The Volts are great cars too.
How do you find the acceleration of the Clarity under EV only power vs. the gen 2 Volt?
 

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I actually prefer the smaller size of the Volt and my wife does too. It's mostly her car to drive and after test driving a Fusion hybrid she found that car much too large. The Clarity is every bit as big, in fact it's an inch longer and an inch wider.

Also the Clarity suffers from its own form of ERDTT, but unlike the Volt it can happen all year around and in all climates. It's called Engine Running Due To Throttle. Hit the throttle hard for maximum acceleration and the ICE comes on. That won't happen in the Volt, and I love that fact.
yes, that is correct, with gentle driving on not so cold days, the engine came on very rarely, if at all. Instead of a tachometer, there is a round curved bar graph of power. At the higher levels, there are dotted lines. If you call for a higher part of the power curve, the engine will start and add power. In Sport mode, the dotted part falls a little lower, but unlike the Volt (which just re-maps the go pedal, you actually get more power in Sport mode).

Since the wx turned cold, the engine comes on a lot more often, especially with the seat heaters on. The Clarity seems to prefer to supplement the cabin heating with engine power. It's a feature or a curse depending on your point of view.

In the Clarity, the engine coming on from time to time is called normal operation. If the engine coming on in a PHEV is a disqualifying fact, you will not like the Clarity PHEV.

Here is a manual page that describes when the engine starts due to power demand:
Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 7.01.29 PM.jpg
Picture is too small (added a better jpeg too), here is the text:
• POWER/CHARGE Gauge
• Electric motor - The degree to which the electric motor is being powered is displayed by the readings on the POWER side.
When you depress the accelerator pedal, the white needle on the gauge moves. The curved blue line on the gauge shows the range within which only the electric motor provides propulsion to the wheels. The length of this line varies depending on the drive mode and the remaining power of the High Voltage battery. When the white needle exceeds the curved blue line, the engine starts and the curved blue line turns white.
• Battery charge in progress - The degree to which the High Voltage battery is being charged is displayed by the readings on the CHARGE side when coasting or during deceleration.
• Electric motor - The power output of the electric motor is restricted when the high voltage battery charge level is running low (one segment on the gauge). If you accelerate aggressively, the engine may start even though the white needle has not exceeded the curved blue line.
 

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How do you find the acceleration of the Clarity under EV only power vs. the gen 2 Volt?

I find plenty of power and no problem, for example, bringing the heavier Clarity quickly up to highway speed. There is less low end torque than Volt.

It may be more difficult to answer for EV only. My recollection is around town, warmer wx, almost no engine starts, even pushing it a little harder. Probably entering the highway, the engine did come on.

In Gen 1, I could floor the go pedal, and it took off like a rocket, but never a tire squeal (Michelin Pilot A/S). In Gen 2, I could not floor the go pedal without kicking up a dirt and rock storm by spinning tires (so, playing with power required some caution for those behind you). Probably some drivers need the ability to spin the tires, that is not an important feature for me. I did eventually learn how to feed the power in more carefully for rabbit starts.

The clarity is heavier and bigger. I find plenty of power when I need it. However, drivers looking for wild and crazy may be disappointed. Probably best to do a test drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I find plenty of power and no problem, for example, bringing the heavier Clarity quickly up to highway speed. There is less low end torque than Volt.

It may be more difficult to answer for EV only. My recollection is around town, warmer wx, almost no engine starts, even pushing it a little harder. Probably entering the highway, the engine did come on.

In Gen 1, I could floor the go pedal, and it took off like a rocket, but never a tire squeal (Michelin Pilot A/S). In Gen 2, I could not floor the go pedal without kicking up a dirt and rock storm by spinning tires (so, playing with power required some caution for those behind you). Probably some drivers need the ability to spin the tires, that is not an important feature for me. I did eventually learn how to feed the power in more carefully for rabbit starts.

The clarity is heavier and bigger. I find plenty of power when I need it. However, drivers looking for wild and crazy may be disappointed. Probably best to do a test drive.
I've only been able to find one with a fully depleted battery, which felt OK from an acceleration standpoint, but the engine is somewhat loud in that instance when asking for a lot of power (as you'd expect).

I have a refundable deposit down with the caveat that I have to test drive it before purchasing, and I'll require that there's at least some charge and drive it around before I accept it.


Ultimately I think I can live with a "slower" PHEV vs. a solely ICE powered car as long as it gives instant response - which the Clarity should with some charge. There's a really long lag time between an input of a lot of throttle and anything meaningful happening in an ICE car (throttle slowly ramping in due to drive by wire throttle, transmission then deciding to kick down a couple gears on modern transmissions, THEN you get some acceleration probably 0.5-1 second after you wanted it). But I haven't actually owned a PHEV - so it's kind of hard to say what will satisfy me from a long term perspective on speed.

This purchase is definitely new automotive ground for me, which is what's making it pretty tough to sort out the choices!
 
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