2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vs. 2019 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid 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 Fuel Cell and the Optima Plug-In Hybrid 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.

Warranty

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 35 percent more Honda dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Clarity Fuel Cell’s warranty.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Clarity Fuel Cell gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine (68 city/67 hwy MPGe vs. 38 city/43 hwy).

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s maximum driving range is 360 miles on pure hydrogen. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has to start its internal combustion engine after only 29 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Clarity Fuel Cell’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid:

 

Clarity

Optima

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Fuel Cell has larger tires than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (235/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).

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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s standard 55 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

Passenger Space

The Clarity Fuel Cell has 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear legroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Clarity Fuel Cell has a much larger trunk than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (11.8 vs. 9.9 cubic feet).

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Ergonomics

The Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

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