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

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

The e-Golf has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Clarity Fuel Cell doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The e-Golf SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Clarity Fuel Cell doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the e-Golf’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.

Both the e-Golf 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The e-Golf’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Clarity Fuel Cell’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the e-Golf gets better fuel mileage than the Clarity Fuel Cell (126 city/111 hwy vs. 68 city/67 hwy MPGe).

Brakes and Stopping

The e-Golf stops much shorter than the Clarity Fuel Cell:

e-Golf

Clarity

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

195 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The e-Golf has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Clarity Fuel Cell; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The e-Golf 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.

The e-Golf SE handles at .86 G’s, while the Clarity Fuel Cell pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the e-Golf’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Clarity Fuel Cell’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen e-Golf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 pounds less than the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.

The e-Golf is 2 feet shorter than the Clarity Fuel Cell, making the e-Golf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The e-Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Clarity Fuel Cell (22.8 vs. 11.8 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the e-Golf’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 e-Golf’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

The power windows standard on both the e-Golf and the Clarity Fuel Cell have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the e-Golf is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Clarity Fuel Cell prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the e-Golf has a standard rear wiper. The Clarity Fuel Cell doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the e-Golf SEL Premium detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Clarity Fuel Cell doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the e-Golf SEL Premium has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Clarity Fuel Cell doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The e-Golf SEL Premium’s Parking Steering Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Clarity Fuel Cell doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The Clarity Fuel Cell has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Clarity Fuel Cell has never been chosen.

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

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