2019 Honda Clarity Electric vs. 2019 Fiat 500e

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To maximize occupant safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Clarity Electric have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Fiat 500e doesn’t offer pretensioners.

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 Fiat 500e 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 500e doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

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 500e doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 500e doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Clarity Electric and the 500e have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Honda Clarity Electric weighs 1044 pounds more than the Fiat 500e. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Honda dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Clarity Electric’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 52 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Engine

The Clarity Electric’s electric motor produces 50 more horsepower (161 vs. 111) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 147) than the 500e’s electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Clarity Electric gets better fuel mileage than the 500e (126 city/103 hwy vs. 121 city/103 hwy MPGe).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Clarity Electric’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500e:

 

Clarity Electric

500e

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

9.4 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Electric has larger tires than the 500e (235/45R18 vs. 185/55R15).

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 500e’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Clarity Electric has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the 500e.

The Honda Clarity Electric’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500e 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 Fiat 500e 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 500e’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Electric’s wheelbase is 17.7 inches longer than on the 500e (108.3 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Clarity Electric is 6.8 inches wider in the front and 7.5 inches wider in the rear than on the 500e.

The Clarity Electric’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.1% to 48.9%) than the 500e’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Clarity Electric more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Clarity Electric a Mid-size car, while the 500e is rated a Minicompact.

The Clarity Electric has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 500e can only carry 4.

The Clarity Electric has 28.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500e (100.5 vs. 71.6).

The Clarity Electric has .2 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front legroom, 8 inches more front hip room, 10.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 8.6 inches more rear legroom, 13 inches more rear hip room and 10.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500e.

Ergonomics

The Clarity Electric has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 500e doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 500e 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 500e doesn’t offer memory seats.

The Clarity Electric’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Fiat does not offer a locking feature on the 500e’s standard power windows.

The Clarity Electric’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 500e’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The Clarity Electric’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500e’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left open on the Clarity Electric the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 500e can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Fiat 500e 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 500e doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

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 500e doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Clarity Electric and the 500e have standard heated front seats. The Clarity Electric also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the 500e.

The Clarity Electric has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500e doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

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 500e doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Clarity Electric has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500e doesn’t offer rear vents.

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 500e doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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

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