We only published our first-drive report on the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid last week, and the car is just now showing up at Honda dealers across the country.
But that means the first examples are already been bought and driven.
A couple of readers indicated that they were among the buyers, so we asked for their first impressions.
DON’T MISS: 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid first drive
Lo and behold, a reader known only as “Viking79” pointed us to a page on his personal blog, Cars With Plugs.
It contains a long and thoughtful set of first impressions of his 2017 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, along with photos.
He already owns a 2012 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car, and traded in an old family minivan on the new Clarity Plug-In.
In general, Viking’s impressions of the plug-in hybrid Clarity match ours.
He views it as a very viable entry in the segment, echoing Honda’s positioning of it as a five-seat mid-size sedan that competes against smaller compact hatchbacks.
READ THIS: 2018 Honda Clarity full range – review
It’s worth reading his entire post, which is comprehensive, but we’ll excerpt his conclusions to give you a sense of his review.
This car is a much bigger car [than the Volt], over a foot longer and far more interior space and rear seat room make the Clarity PHEV a much better choice as a people hauler (for more than 2 people).
The Volt offers a slightly sportier EV only drive and also provides more information about vehicle efficiency to the driver, offering MPGe ratings, etc. The Honda was clearly designed to just be driven and not to make the driver think about the details.
I have been very pleased with my purchase of the car, and look forward to driving it for many years. It checked the boxes I wanted in a car, space for 5 with some storage, ability to drive many EV only miles, and good gas efficiency as well.
Viking’s assessment of the car correlates with ours, but we remain curious about Honda’s intentions for the car.
The company has said numerous times it expects to sell 75,000 Clarity models of all varieties over four years, presumably 2018 through 2021.
The bulk of those will be plug-in hybrids, along with a small number of the hydrogen fuel-cell and 93-mile battery-electric versions.
Even if Honda cracks the code on how to market plug-in hybrids—something no other maker seems to have done—that sounds like an upper bound on the potential market.
Still, at least one early owner is favorably impressed. And for the first time in seven years, the Chevrolet Volt has a strong competitor.