2020 Toyota Prius Prime vs. 2019 Honda Clarity Electric

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 Electric doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

To help make backing safer, the Prius Prime Limited’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 Electric 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 Electric doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Prius Prime and the Clarity Electric 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 IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Prius Prime the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Clarity Electric 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 Electric.

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th, 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 Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

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 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Clarity Electric (145 city/121 hwy vs. 126 city/103 hwy MPGe).

The Prius Prime’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 652 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Clarity Electric’s range is only 89 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only an 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 19 hours.

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 Electric doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 5 feet tighter than the Clarity Electric’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 650 pounds less than the Honda Clarity Electric.

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

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 Electric.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius Prime has a larger cargo volume than the Clarity Electric (19.8 vs. 14.5 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 Electric’s useful trunk space.

Ergonomics

The Prius Prime Limited 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 Electric doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Prius Prime Limited’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Clarity Electric’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 Electric doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

On extremely cold winter days, the Prius Prime Limited’s standard 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.

The Prius Prime Limited’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 Electric doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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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