2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

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 Fuel Cell 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 Fuel Cell 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 Fuel Cell 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 Fuel Cell doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Leaf and the Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Fuel Cell’s electric motor. The Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor produces 41 more horsepower (215 vs. 174) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (250 vs. 221) than the Clarity Fuel Cell’s electric motor.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Leaf (base engine) is faster than the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell:

Leaf

Clarity

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.3 sec

8.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.8 sec

3.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

16.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88 MPH

85 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Leaf gets better fuel mileage than the Clarity Fuel Cell:

MPGe

Leaf

147 HP electric motor

124 city/99 hwy

PLUS S electric motor

118 city/97 hwy

PLUS SV/SL electric motor

114 city/94 hwy

Clarity Fuel Cell

electric motor

68 city/67 hwy

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 Fuel Cell are solid, not vented.

The Leaf stops shorter than the Clarity Fuel Cell:

Leaf

Clarity

70 to 0 MPH

191 feet

195 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

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 Fuel Cell 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 Fuel Cell doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

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

Chassis

The Nissan Leaf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 700 pounds less than the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.

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

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Leaf SV is quieter than the Clarity Fuel Cell:

Leaf

Clarity

At idle

25 dB

34 dB

Full-Throttle

67 dB

69 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

66 dB

Passenger Space

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

Cargo Capacity

The Leaf has a much larger trunk than the Clarity Fuel Cell (23.6 vs. 11.8 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 Fuel Cell’s useful trunk space.

The Leaf’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Clarity Fuel Cell’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear wiper. The Clarity Fuel Cell 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 Fuel Cell 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 Fuel Cell 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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