2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vs. 2019 Tesla Model S

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 Tesla Model S doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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 Model S 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 Model S have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 17 times as many Honda dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Clarity Fuel Cell’s warranty.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 12 places higher in reliability than Tesla.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s maximum driving range is 360 miles, 7% further than the Model S 100D’s 335 mile range and almost 40% further than the Model S 75D’s 259-mile range. After it exhausts its pure electric range, the Clarity Fuel Cell can then refuel in minutes at a hydrogen station, while the Model S has to recharge for 30 minutes for only a 54% 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 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Clarity Fuel Cell has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Chassis

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 800 pounds less than the Tesla Model S.

The Clarity Fuel Cell is 3.3 inches shorter than the Model S, making the Clarity Fuel Cell easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Clarity Fuel Cell has 7.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Model S (101.5 vs. 94).

The Clarity Fuel Cell has .3 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more rear legroom, .9 inches more rear hip room and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model S.

Servicing Ease

A Smart Maintenance is standard on the Clarity Fuel Cell to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for air filter replacement, tire rotation and transmission fluid replacement based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model S.

Ergonomics

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

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model S doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

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 Model S doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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

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