2019 Toyota Prius Prime vs. 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

To help make backing safer, the Prius Prime Advanced’s 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Prius Prime’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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Prius Prime and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Prius Prime the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius Prime for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Honda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

There are over 18 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Honda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Prius Prime’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Prius Prime’s reliability 77 points higher than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Honda is ranked 15th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Prius Prime gets better fuel mileage than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid:

 

 

Prius

Clarity

 

 

Running on electricity (MPGe)

145 city/121 hwy

117 city/102 hwy

 

 

Running gasoline engine

55 city/53 hwy

44 city/40 hwy

 

The Prius Prime has 4.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (11.4 vs. 7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

The Prius Prime stops shorter than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid:

 

Prius

Clarity

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Prius Prime 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Prius Prime’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55.5% to 44.5%) than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Prius Prime more stable handling and braking.

The Prius Prime Plus handles at .79 G’s, while the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 5 feet tighter than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s (33.4 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Prius Prime may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 pounds less than the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

The Prius Prime is 9.8 inches shorter than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, making the Prius Prime easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Prius Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Prius Prime has .3 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom and .1 inches more rear headroom than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius Prime has a much larger trunk than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (19.8 vs. 15.5 cubic feet).

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

Ergonomics

The Prius Prime Advanced has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Prius Prime Advanced’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Prius Prime detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

On extremely cold winter days, the Prius Prime Advanced’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Prius Prime Advanced’s Intelligent Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid isn't recommended.

The Toyota Prius outsold the Honda Clarity by over four to one during 2018.

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

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