2019 Honda Clarity Electric vs. 2018 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Clarity Electric are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Clarity Electric has a standard Collision Mitigation Braking System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The ForTwo Electric Drive offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Clarity Electric’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Clarity Electric’s blind spot mirrors use wide-angle convex mirrors mounted in the corner of each side view mirror to reveal objects that may be in the driver’s blind spots. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The Clarity Electric has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Clarity Electric and the ForTwo Electric Drive have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Honda Clarity Electric weighs 1641 to 1661 pounds more than the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Clarity Electric 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Smart covers the ForTwo Electric Drive. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the ForTwo Electric Drive ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Clarity Electric’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are over 40 times as many Honda dealers as there are Smart dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Clarity Electric’s warranty.

Engine

The Clarity Electric’s electric motor produces 81 more horsepower (161 vs. 80) and 103 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 118) than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Clarity Electric gets better fuel mileage than the ForTwo Electric Drive (126 city/103 hwy vs. 124 city/94 hwy MPGe).

The Clarity Electric’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 89 miles on a full charge, 53% further than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s 58-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Clarity Electric’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ForTwo Electric Drive:

 

Clarity

ForTwo

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

9” drums

The Honda Clarity Electric has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the ForTwo Electric Drive. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Clarity Electric has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Electric has larger tires than the ForTwo Electric Drive (235/45R18 vs. 165/65R15). The Clarity Electric’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ForTwo Electric Drive (235/45R18 vs. 185/50R16).

The Clarity Electric’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s standard 65 series front and 60 series rear tires. The Clarity Electric’s tires are lower profile than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s optional 50 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Clarity Electric has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the ForTwo Electric Drive. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Honda Clarity Electric’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Honda Clarity Electric has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Clarity Electric has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Clarity Electric flat and controlled during cornering. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Electric’s wheelbase is 34.6 inches longer than on the ForTwo Electric Drive (108.3 inches vs. 73.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Clarity Electric is 4.4 inches wider in the front and 6.2 inches wider in the rear than on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

Passenger Space

The Clarity Electric has standard seating for 5 passengers; the ForTwo Electric Drive can only carry 2.

The Clarity Electric has 55.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ForTwo Electric Drive (100.5 vs. 45.4).

The Clarity Electric has 1 inch more front legroom, 10.4 inches more front hip room and 11.7 inches more front shoulder room than the ForTwo Electric Drive Coupe.

Cargo Capacity

The Clarity Electric has a much larger trunk than the ForTwo Electric Drive Coupe (14.5 vs. 9.2 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Clarity Electric has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the Clarity Electric, the memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer memory seats.

The Clarity Electric’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Smart does not offer a locking feature on the ForTwo Electric Drive’s standard power windows.

The Clarity Electric’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

Smart Entry standard on the Clarity Electric allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Clarity Electric has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The ForTwo Electric Drive only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Clarity Electric has standard extendable sun visors. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Clarity Electric’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Smart charges extra for heated mirrors on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

The Clarity Electric’s standard rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

The Clarity Electric’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Clarity Electric has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the Clarity Electric. The Clarity Electric’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a navigation system.

Recommendations

The Honda Clarity outsold the Smart ForTwo by almost 16 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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