2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vs. 2018 Ford Focus Electric

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Focus Electric doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’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 Focus Electric doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Clarity Fuel Cell and the Focus Electric have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell weighs 494 pounds more than the Ford Focus Electric. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 3 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s electric motor produces 31 more horsepower (174 vs. 143) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 184) than the Focus Electric’s electric motor.

As tested in Car and Driver the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is faster than the Ford Focus Electric:

 

Clarity

Focus

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.1 sec

10.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.3 sec

10.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

5.7 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

80 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s maximum driving range is 360 miles, over three times as far as the Focus Electric’s 115-mile range. After it exhausts its pure electric range, the Clarity Fuel Cell can then refuel in minutes at a hydrogen station, while the Focus Electric has to recharge for 5 hours and 30 minutes. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 20 hours.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Clarity Fuel Cell’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Focus Electric:

 

Clarity

Focus

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

10.9 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.7 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Fuel Cell has larger tires than the Focus Electric (235/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Focus Electric’s standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Clarity Fuel Cell has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the Focus Electric.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Fuel Cell’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the Focus Electric (108.3 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Clarity Fuel Cell is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 2.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Focus Electric.

The Clarity Fuel Cell handles at .79 G’s, while the Focus Electric pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Clarity Fuel Cell has 10.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Focus Electric (101.5 vs. 90.7).

The Clarity Fuel Cell has .8 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, 4.1 inches more front shoulder room, 3 inches more rear legroom, 2.8 inches more rear hip room and 4.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Focus Electric.

Ergonomics

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

The Clarity Fuel Cell has a standard heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Focus Electric can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Focus Electric’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

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

Both the Clarity Fuel Cell and the Focus Electric offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Clarity Fuel Cell has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Focus Electric doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Focus Electric doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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

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