2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Honda Clarity Electric

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Leaf has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Leaf SL has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Clarity Electric only offers a rear monitor.

To help make backing safer, the Leaf (except S)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Leaf SL’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Leaf and the Clarity Electric 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, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 15th in reliability. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

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

Engine

The Leaf’s standard electric motor produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 221) than the Clarity Electric’s electric motor. The Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor produces 54 more horsepower (215 vs. 161) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (250 vs. 221) than the Clarity Electric’s electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Leaf’s standard maximum EPA estimated driving range is 151 miles on a full charge. The Leaf PLUS’ maximum EPA estimated driving range is 226 miles on a full charge, over two and a half times as far as the Clarity Electric’s 89-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

The Leaf’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Clarity Electric are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

The Leaf has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Leaf has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better maneuverability, the Leaf S’ turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Clarity Electric’s (34.8 feet vs. 38.4 feet). The Leaf SV/SL’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Clarity Electric’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Leaf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 600 pounds less than the Honda Clarity Electric.

The Leaf is 1 foot, 4.3 inches shorter than the Clarity Electric, making the Leaf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Leaf has 2.1 inches more front headroom and .2 inches more rear headroom than the Clarity Electric.

Cargo Capacity

The Leaf has a much larger trunk than the Clarity Electric (23.6 vs. 14.5 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Leaf’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Clarity Electric’s useful trunk space.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear wiper. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Leaf SV/SL detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

On extremely cold winter days, the Leaf’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Clarity Electric doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Leaf, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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