2021 BMW 330e vs. 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/13

The 330e’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 330e 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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 330e has standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 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 330e offers optional Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The 330e offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The 330e offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid only offers a rear monitor.

To help make backing safer, the 330e’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 Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The 330e’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 330e 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 330e the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/13

The 330e comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 330e’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 330e for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Honda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

Reliability

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The battery on the 330e is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 330e’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

Engine

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The 330e’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid produces 76 more horsepower (288 vs. 212) than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The 330e has 3.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (10.6 vs. 7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The 330e’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 330e’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid:

330e

330e opt.

Clarity

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.2 inches

The 330e’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 Plug-In Hybrid are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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The 330e’s optional 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330e offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 330e can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 330e offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 330e 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 330e’s wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (112.2 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

The 330e’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.3% to 50.7%) than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s (57% to 43%). This gives the 330e more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 330e’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s (37.2 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

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The 330e is 7 inches shorter than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, making the 330e easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 330e’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s useful trunk space.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 330e offers cargo security. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 330e. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the 330e offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/13

The 330e uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the 330e is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring, the 330e has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The 330e offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 power windows standard on both the 330e and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 330e is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 330e’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. 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 330e 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.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 330e offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 330e also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the 330e is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 330e’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

On extremely cold winter days, the 330e’s optional 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 330e offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The 330e’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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