2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vs. 2019 Chevrolet Volt

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 Volt doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Clarity Fuel Cell and the Volt 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 591 to 615 pounds more than the Chevrolet Volt. 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 Volt’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.

Engine

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s electric motor produces 25 more horsepower (174 vs. 149) than the Volt’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Clarity Fuel Cell gets better fuel mileage than the Volt running its gasoline engine (68 city/67 hwy MPGe vs. 43 city/42 hwy).

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s maximum driving range is 360 miles on pure hydrogen. The Volt has to start its internal combustion engine after only 53 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Clarity

Volt

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Fuel Cell has larger tires than the Volt (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 Volt’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 Volt.

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 Volt 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 Volt’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Fuel Cell’s wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer than on the Volt (108.3 inches vs. 106.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Clarity Fuel Cell is 1.6 inches wider in the front and .7 inches wider in the rear than on the Volt.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57.3% to 42.7%) than the Volt’s (58.5% to 41.5%). This gives the Clarity Fuel Cell more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Clarity Fuel Cell is quieter than the Volt Premier (34 vs. 37 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Clarity Fuel Cell a Mid-size car, while the Volt is rated a Compact.

The Clarity Fuel Cell has 11.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Volt (101.5 vs. 90.3).

The Clarity Fuel Cell has 1.3 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front hip room, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom, 4.3 inches more rear hip room and 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Volt.

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 Volt 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 Volt 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 Volt’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 Volt can only close 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 Volt’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet charges extra for heated mirrors on the Volt.

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 Volt doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Clarity Fuel Cell and the Volt 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 Volt doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Recommendations

The Honda Clarity outsold the Chevrolet Volt by 10% during 2018.

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

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