2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid vs. 2019 BMW i3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 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 BMW i3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The i3 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and the i3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid weighs 774 to 1098 pounds more than the BMW i3. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.


Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the i3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the i3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Honda dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s warranty.


The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 42 more horsepower (212 vs. 170) than the i3’s standard electric motor. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 28 more horsepower (212 vs. 184) than the i3s’ standard electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has 4.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the i3 Range Extender (7 vs. 2.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the i3:




Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has larger tires than the i3 (235/45R18 vs. 155/70R19). The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the i3 (235/45R18 vs. 175/55R20).

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the i3’s standard 70 series tires. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s tires are lower profile than the i3s’ 55 series front and 50 series rear tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid flat and controlled during cornering. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the i3 (108.3 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid a Mid-size car, while the i3 is rated a Subcompact.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has standard seating for 5 passengers; the i3 can only carry 4.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has 17.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the i3 (101.5 vs. 83.6).

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has 1.7 inches more front legroom, 6.1 inches more front shoulder room, 4.3 inches more rear legroom and 8.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the i3.


The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring 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 i3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the i3’s standard power windows.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has standard extendable sun visors. The i3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and the i3 have standard heated front seats. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the i3.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The i3 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’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 i3 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.


The Honda Clarity outsold the BMW i3 by over three to one during 2018.

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

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