2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vs. 2019 Volkswagen e-Golf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Clarity Fuel Cell and the e-Golf have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 675 pounds more than the Volkswagen e-Golf. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The Clarity Fuel Cell comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Honda will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the e-Golf.

There are over 60 percent more Honda dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Clarity Fuel Cell’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 23rd in initial quality. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 1 place higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s electric motor produces 40 more horsepower (174 vs. 134) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 214) than the e-Golf’s electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s maximum driving range is 360 miles, almost three times as far as the e-Golf’s 125-mile range. After it exhausts its pure electric range, the Clarity Fuel Cell can then refuel in minutes at a hydrogen station, while the e-Golf has to recharge for 1 hour for only an 80% 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 26 hours.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Clarity

e-Golf

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.7 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Fuel Cell has larger tires than the e-Golf (235/45R18 vs. 205/55R16).

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 e-Golf’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Clarity Fuel Cell has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the e-Golf.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Fuel Cell’s wheelbase is 4.8 inches longer than on the e-Golf (108.3 inches vs. 103.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Clarity Fuel Cell is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than on the e-Golf.

Passenger Space

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

The Clarity Fuel Cell has 8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the e-Golf (101.5 vs. 93.5).

The Clarity Fuel Cell has .7 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom, 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear legroom and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the e-Golf.

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 e-Golf 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 e-Golf 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 e-Golf can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 e-Golf doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Clarity Fuel Cell and the e-Golf 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 e-Golf.

The Clarity Fuel Cell’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The e-Golf’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

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

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