2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vs. 2019 Chevrolet Bolt

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Chevrolet Bolt doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell weighs 571 pounds more than the Chevrolet Bolt. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Bolt’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 8 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s maximum driving range is 360 miles, 51% further than the Bolt’s 238-mile range. After it exhausts its pure electric range, the Clarity Fuel Cell can then refuel in minutes at a hydrogen station, while the Bolt has to recharge for 30 minutes for only a 45% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 50 hours.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Clarity

Bolt

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

10.9 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.4 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Fuel Cell has larger tires than the Bolt (235/45R18 vs. 215/50R17).

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 Bolt’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 Bolt.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Chevrolet Bolt has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Fuel Cell’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the Bolt (108.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Clarity Fuel Cell is 3.1 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Bolt.

The Clarity Fuel Cell handles at .81 G’s, while the Bolt Premier pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Clarity Fuel Cell has 7.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Bolt (101.5 vs. 94.4).

The Clarity Fuel Cell has .6 inches more front legroom, 4.2 inches more front hip room, 5.1 inches more front shoulder room, 4.8 inches more rear hip room and 4.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Bolt.

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 Bolt 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 Bolt doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’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 Bolt’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

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 Bolt can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Clarity Fuel Cell has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Bolt doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Bolt’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’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 Bolt doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Clarity Fuel Cell and the Bolt 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 Bolt 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 Bolt doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Recommendations

The Honda Clarity outsold the Chevrolet Bolt by 12% during 2018.

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

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