After taking home the award for Best Large Car in the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Car and Truck of the Year program in January, beating the refreshed Mazda6 and thoroughly redesigned…
After taking home the award for Best Large Car in the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Car and Truck of the Year program in January, beating the refreshed Mazda6 and thoroughly redesigned Toyota Camry in the process, the Accord has now been named 2018 Canadian Car of the Year.
Likewise, after besting the entirely new Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona minivans the all-new 2018 Chrysler Pacifica has earned Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.
“We’re thrilled to declare the Honda Accord to be the Canadian Car of the Year for 2018, and the Chrysler Pacifica to be the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year,” said AJAC President Mark Richardson. “They’ve both been decided through the most vigorous system of testing possible by AJAC’s automotive professionals. They’re both deserving of being considered the very best vehicles you can buy in 2018.”
The latter award might be the more important of the two, being that trucks, SUVs and vans now make up the majority of new vehicle sales in Canada. Of note, the Canadian-made Pacifica not only beat out its “Best Minivan” category competitors to earn the coveted award, but also scored higher than other category winners.
These include the Mazda CX-5, which beat the new Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue for “Best Small Utility Vehicle,” as well as the Mazda CX-9 that overcame the challenge of Chevrolet’s Traverse and Toyota’s Highlander for “Best Large Utility Vehicle,” plus the Range Rover Velar that earned “Best Small Premium Utility Vehicle” over the Porsche Macan and Volvo XC60, the Acura MDX that earned “Best Large Premium Utility Vehicle” over the Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90, and finally the Ram 1500 that won “Best Pickup Truck” over the new Honda Ridgeline and refreshed Toyota Tacoma.
“There’s an extra air of significance when one of our homegrown products wins a domestic award,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, FCA Canada. “Chrysler Pacifica’s recognition as 2018’s Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year reinforces its position as the most awarded minivan of the last two years, and provides important third-party validation for the exclusive suite of versatility, style, safety and technology that it brings to Canadians.”
The redesigned Accord also had its share of challengers, including the Volkswagen e-Golf that achieved “Best City Car” over the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Nissan Micra, Mazda3 that earned “Best Small Car” over the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid/Electric Plus, Jaguar XE that took “Best Small Premium Car” honours over the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Infiniti Q60, Volvo S90/V90 that overcame the Genesis G80 and Lexus LC to win the “Best Large Premium Car” title, Volkswagen Golf R that won “Best Sports/Performance Car” over the Honda Civic Si and Honda Civic Type R, Jaguar F-Type that achieved “Best Premium Sports/Performance Car” over the Porsche 718 and Porsche 911, and finally the Mercedes-Benz SL that won “Best Convertible” over the Mazda MX-5 and Porsche 718 Boxster.
“We’re honoured and humbled to receive this recognition from a group of respected automotive journalists in Canada,” said Jean Marc Leclerc, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Honda Canada. “We’re both proud and thankful for all of our associates who supported the production and development of this vehicle and for our passionate customers who have supported the Accord for the past forty years.”
To qualify for entry a vehicle must be entirely new or significantly updated, and the winners were not only up against the challengers noted, but other offerings that didn’t make the “finalists” cut in December.
Honda has dominated the North American Car of the Year award lately, having won in 2016 for the Civic, 2017 with the Ridgeline, and now 2018 with the all-new Accord Sedan. Like the two previous winners,…
Honda has dominated the North American Car of the Year award lately, having won in 2016 for the Civic, 2017 with the Ridgeline, and now 2018 with the all-new Accord Sedan.
Like the two previous winners, the eye-catching 10th-generation Accord represents a completely fresh approach for Honda and the entire mid-size four-door segment.
“Honda took a clean-sheet approach to reinventing America’s most popular car, and we couldn’t be prouder to receive this honour for Accord as the North American Car of the Year,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division and general manager of Honda Sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We’re especially proud for the production associates in Ohio where Accord has been built to the highest quality standards for over 35 years.”
Like in previous years, the 2018 North American Car of the Year was chosen by a jury of 60 professional automotive journalists from the US and Canada who provide content for independent magazines, TV, radio, newspapers and websites. The results of their findings were presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month. The award, which also includes a Utility and Truck of the Year, honours “excellence in innovation, design, safety features, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value,” stated a press release.
The Accord has been part of the North American automotive scene for more than four decades, with 11 million-plus made in America. The newest 2018 design features a sharply chiseled new shape inspired by the Civic that debuted two years ago, albeit with a more premium presence and luxuriously finished interior. Its new body shell is both lighter for improved performance and fuel-efficiency, plus stiffer for better handling and structural safety, while interior space and comfort has increased and improved respectively.
The new Accord Sedan’s powertrain choices include two completely new, high-torque VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder engines, plus the world’s first front-wheel drive applied 10-speed automatic transmission, while a new generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid technology is available as well. The Accord also features a bevy of safety, driver-assistive and connected-car technologies, resulting in one of the most advanced mid-size sedans in its class.
The 2018 Honda Accord Sedan is available now from just $26,490 plus freight and fees, while the 2018 Accord Hybrid starts at $31,300.
Winning the Best Large Car category in the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Car and Truck of the Year awards was no easy feat this year, especially considering the qualifying contenders…
Winning the Best Large Car category in the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Car and Truck of the Year awards was no easy feat this year, especially considering the qualifying contenders on hand.
To qualify for entry a vehicle must be entirely new or significantly updated, and the winning 2018 Honda Accord Sedan was up against the completely redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry and refreshed 2018 Mazda6, plus other new four-door offerings that didn’t make the “finalists” cut in December.
Mazda won’t likely complain about losing out to the Accord as it won three 2018 AJAC Car and Truck of the Year categories including Best Small Car with its Mazda3, Best Small Utility Vehicle with its CX-5, and Best Large Utility Vehicle with its CX-9, beating out the renewed Highlander in the latter class, but that last point only rubs salt in Toyota’s wound of the new Camry losing out to the new Accord.
Whether earning the coveted AJAC award will help the Accord surpass the Camry’s current sales lead is impossible to tell, with 2017 coming to a close at 14,574 units to 13,504 in favour of the Toyota, but it certainly can’t hurt matters. More importantly, winning the award is testament to the new Accord’s many positive attributes.
The 2018 Accord arrives on the Canadian market with sleek new four-door coupe styling that should win more hearts than it offends. A dramatically deep black centre grille is positioned below a bright chromed horizontal strikethrough up front, which melds into dazzling LED headlamp clusters up top and an intricate lower fascia with LED fog lamps in just-above-base trims, plus a sweptback rear roofline ending in an abbreviated rear deck lid.
Like its predecessor, the new Accord’s tastefully applied chrome trim, premium LED lighting elements, and stylish alloy wheel designs help it look richer than its value pricing suggests, this upscale styling carried inside where innovative design, premium finishings, and fine attention to detail join an impressive array of digital user interfaces and plenty of features.
Its 55-mm longer wheelbase adds rear seat roominess that includes 75 mm of additional legroom over the outgoing model, whereas 10 mm of extra width allows for more shoulder and hip room front to back.
Accord pricing starts at $26,490 plus freight and fees for the entry-level LX, while the top-line Accord Touring can be had for just $35,790 with the 1.5-litre base engine or $38,790 with the optional 2.0-litre. Sport and EX-L trims are also available, although Sport is the only other trim available with the more powerful 2.0-litre engine.
Both four-cylinder engines are turbocharged and direct-injected for improved performance and efficiency. The 1.5-litre, which makes 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, replaces the naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder in the previous model, whereas the new 2.0-litre four makes 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque and therefore relinquishes the old 3.5-litre V6 to the history books.
The entry-level engine continues forward with a six-speed manual transmission in base LX and Sport trims, or an available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in LX trim that’s standard with the EX-L and Touring, but the 2.0-litre gets an all-new 10-speed automatic that Honda claims as a first for front-wheel drive cars. This said the six-speed manual is also standard when the Sport model gets upgraded to the 2.0-litre engine, Honda clearly aiming to satisfy its many enthusiast drivers with this rare but welcome addition.
Performance in mind, all Accords upgraded to the CVT or automatic transmission get a Sport mode and steering wheel paddle shifters to go along with the Accord’s standard Econ mode button, while both of these sporting upgrades come standard in Touring trim.
What’s more, even base LX and mid-range EX-L trims feature standard 17-inch alloy wheels, although Sport and Touring trims get new 19-inch alloys, while the top-line Touring 2.0 benefits from an upgraded suspension with active dampers.
As for efficiency, the base engine with the manual transmission is five-cycle Transport Canada rated at 8.9 L/100km in the city, 6.7 on the highway and 7.9 combined, while the same engine with the optional CVT gets a 7.9 city, 6.3 highway and 7.2 combined rating. That compares to 10.4 L/100km city, 7.4 highway and 9.0 combined for last year’s four-cylinder and manual combo, while the old CVT-equipped 2017 Accord was rated at 9.2 city, 6.9 highway and 8.2 combined.
Compared to the 2017 V6 it replaces, which was rated at 11.4 city, 7.2 highway and 9.5 combined with its sole six-speed auto last year, the new 2018 model’s upgraded 2.0-litre engine makes considerable progress with a claimed rating of 10.7 city, 7.3 highway and 9.2 combined with the manual, or 10.4 city, 7.4 highway and 9.1 combined with the new 10-speed auto.
Additional features that come standard across the entire 2018 Accord Sedan line include auto on/off headlights with automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, remote engine start (with CVT), proximity keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, speed-sensing variable intermittent wipers, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with four-way powered lumbar support, heatable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, SMS text message and email reading capability, a 7.0-inch colour TFT meter display with a driver information interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, Wi-Fi tethering, two front USBs, illuminated vanity mirrors, a sunglasses holder, active noise control, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, and much more.
Along with those LED headlights, all Accords also come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow when upgraded to the CVT), forward collision warning, autonomous emergency mitigating braking, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation, while additional standard safety features include a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines, traffic sign recognition, a driver attention monitor to warn of possible fatigue, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, front knee airbags (an Accord first), the HondaLink Assist automatic emergency response system, and more.
Of note, Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch blindspot display system comes standard with Sport and EX-L trims, but this gets replaced by blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert in Touring trim.
Options in mind, Sport trim adds fog lamps, dark chrome trim, a rear deck lid spoiler, aluminum-trimmed sport pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather shift knob, leather and fabric upholstery, 452-watt premium audio with 10 speakers and a subwoofer, a powered moonroof, near field communication, and more, while some of the sportier features get replaced by more luxury-oriented finishings in EX-L trim, while this upgrade also adds an acoustic windshield, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a HomeLink garage door opener, a heatable steering wheel, two rear USBs, satellite radio, perforated leather upholstery, driver’s seat memory, a four-way powered front passenger seat, heated outboard rear seats, and more.
Lastly, Touring trim builds on the EX-L by adding LED high beams, rain-sensing wipers, ambient lighting, a head-up display, navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, wireless device charging, HD radio, an AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot, ventilated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, and more.
Additionally, the Accord Hybrid returns for 2018, but has yet to go on sale. It pairs a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with two electric motors that are powered by a new, smaller battery pack housed below the trunk’s cargo floor to improve cargo capacity over the previous model.
We’ll be back soon with a full road test review of a 2018 Accord Sedan Touring 2.0, at which point we’ll give you our take on this award-winning mid-size sedan. Until then, check out these two video overviews from Honda Canada:
Quick overview (1:25):
Detailed overview with commentary (4:29):
The ultra-practical Honda Fit subcompact hatchback gets a thorough mid-cycle refresh for 2018, with edgier styling, a new Sport trim line, and the availability of Honda Sensing advanced driver-assistance…
The ultra-practical Honda Fit subcompact hatchback gets a thorough mid-cycle refresh for 2018, with edgier styling, a new Sport trim line, and the availability of Honda Sensing advanced driver-assistance systems.
In a press release, Honda claims this 2018 update adds “youthful, sporty and emotional character” to a model already moving into the fourth year of its third generation, the new 2018 Fit’s styling enhancements including “a horizontally layered, two-piece chrome and piano black grille with a larger, more prominent “H” mark,” plus “more integrated and sophisticated” headlamp clusters that “blend into the side edges of the upper fascia’s wing creating a unified yet more aggressive design.” Additionally, Honda has added new chrome accents to the front bumper plus a full-width splitter below, as well as “more angular fog lights pods” to the frontal design.
The 2018 Fit gets updated combination taillights in the rear and a reworked back bumper too, the latter feature now incorporating a “full-width character line in piano black” plus a “splitter-shaped” lower apron. Lastly, new Orange Fury paint is kept exclusively for an entirely new Sport trim level.
The 2018 Honda Fit is available in the same DX, LX, EX and EX-L Navi trims as last year’s version, now priced at $15,190, $18,590, 21,890 and $23,990 respectively, but new this year is a $19,590 Sport trim that slots in between LX and EX models.
A standard aero kit adds muscle to the new Fit Sport’s front, side and rear body panels for a more aggressive look, with bright orange pin-striping highlighting the deeper front splitter and tri-strake rear diffuser, no matter the exterior colour chosen. Additionally, gloss-black painted 16-inch alloys fill out each corner while a chromed exhaust finisher and “SPORT” liftgate badge complete the Fit Sport’s exterior design enhancements. Finally, the Fit Sport boasts an all-black cabin with unique orange contrast stitching.
New 2018 Fit Sport trim may get the exclusive option of Orange Fury paint, but the rest of its colour palette is limited to Crystal Black Pearl and White Orchid Pearl, with Modern Steel Metallic (medium grey), available with the base DX and other trims, taken off the menu. Likewise, Milano Red, available on LX trims and above, plus Aegean Blue Metallic, optional on the EX and EX-L Navi, are unavailable with the Sport.
“With sporty new styling and additional feature content, the 2018 Honda Fit ups the ante with new styling and sophistication not typically found in the subcompact segment,” said Jean Marc Leclerc, Senior Vice-President Sales and Marketing, Honda Canada Inc. “Fit has always represented a great value for subcompact customers and the addition of available Honda Sensing to its fun-to-drive performance and unmatched versatility will keep the Honda Fit as the industry’s benchmark subcompact.”
Benchmarks in mind, archrival Toyota was first to offer advanced driver-assistance systems to the subcompact category with its 2017 Yaris hatchback, its Safety Sense C suite of driver-assistance systems adding automatic high beams, a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking capability, and lane departure alert to its $15,475 base trim level, but the 2018 Fit’s available Honda Sensing system is a more technologically advanced package thanks to autonomous emergency braking joining lane/road departure warning with mitigating assist, as well as adaptive cruise control, although it doesn’t include auto high beams.
Nevertheless, Honda is confident enough to rightly claim the new 2018 Fit with Honda Sensing offers, “the most robust suite of available advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies in its class in Canada.” Choosing Honda Sensing adds $1,300 to the Fit LX and Sport trims, while it comes standard with the Fit EX and EX-L Navi.
The 2018 Fit’s direct-injection 16-valve, DOHC, i-VTEC-enhanced 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine is carryover albeit slightly downgraded from 130 to 128 horsepower and 114 to 113 lb-ft of torque, although the car’s claimed curb weight has now been reduced from 1,177 to 1,133 kilos (2,595 to 2,498 lbs) in base form, which should allow for similar if not better performance. Of note, Sport trim with the CVT, plus EX and EX-L Navi models receive standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to improve performance and driver engagement.
Honda claims an impressive five-cycle fuel economy rating of 8.1 L/100km in the city, 6.6 on the highway and 7.4 combined with the base six-speed manual, 7.0 L/100km city, 5.9 highway and 6.5 combined with the CVT in LX trim, or alternatively 7.6 L/100km city, 6.5 highway and 7.0 combined in EX trim and above, which only come with the CVT. This represents a marginal improvement when compared to last year’s claimed fuel economy.
The Fit has always delivered excellent driving dynamics for its class, but nevertheless Honda has added retuned suspension dampers to the 2018 model, while also making its electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system more rigid, and providing a stiffer structure overall thanks to more body reinforcements. This helps to improve crash resistance, ride quality and handling prowess, as well as interior refinement, the new Fit said to be quieter than the outgoing model. Along with the stiffer structure, Honda achieved the 2018 Fit’s refinement goals by revising its transmission and steering system mounting hardware, while acoustic-laminated glass and more insulation has been added throughout.
Standard features for the base 2018 Fit DX include auto-off multi-reflector halogen headlights, heatable powered side mirrors, LED brake lights, power locks with remote access, power windows, intermittent windshield wipers, an intermittent rear wiper/washer, tilt and telescopic steering, a 5.0-inch colour LCD infotainment display, a multi-angle rearview camera, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity with streaming audio, four-speaker 160-watt AM/FM/MP3/WMA audio, a USB port, a 12-volt power outlet, the Fit’s unique 60/40-split second-row Magic Seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, cargo area tie-down hooks, 15-inch steel wheels with covers on 185/6 all-season tires, front disc and rear drum brakes with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, traction and stability control, hill start assist, and the usual assortment of advanced airbags.
Additionally, the LX adds a rear rooftop spoiler, illuminated steering wheel-mounted switchgear including cruise control, filtered air conditioning, a new 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, text message functionality, Wi-Fi tethering, a second USB port, the HondaLink Assist automatic emergency response system, a front centre console with an armrest and storage bin, heatable front seats, another 12-volt power outlet, a cargo cover, and more.
On top of everything already mentioned, new Sport trim adds auto-on/off headlights, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, two more stereo speakers and 20 additional watts of power to the audio system, plus more.
EX trim builds on these features with proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, Honda’s impressive LaneWatch blindspot display that projects a rearward view of the passenger’s side lane, a powered moonroof, extendable sunvisors, etcetera.
Lastly, top-line EX-L Navi trim includes LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror housings, automatic climate control, navigation with detailed mapping and voice recognition, satellite and HD radio, leather upholstery, and more.
All of this equipment comes in a subcompact hatchback renowned for offering the most accommodating interior in its class. In fact, with its rear seats laid flat a total of 1,492 litres (52.7 cubic feet) is available. Even better, when the backrests of the Fit’s rear Magic Seats are upright it’s possible to flip their lower cushions upwards for yet more cargo capacity, especially helpful for loading in taller items like bicycles or plants, this combining for a collective 609 litres (21.5 cubic feet) of available cargo space when including the Fit’s dedicated luggage area in back. What’s more, the front passenger’s seat can be folded forward to allow ultra-long cargo inside, while both front seats can be laid completely flat when their headrests are removed, providing a large safe place for impromptu camping. No competitor comes close to the Fit when it comes to passenger and cargo flexibility.
Still, the question remains whether all of the Fit’s ongoing attributes, together with the 2018 improvements, will boost its sagging sales numbers, or more precisely whether Honda will be able to keep up to customer demand. To be clear, the roller coaster ride Honda’s smallest car has endured since being available in North America is unusual to say the least. For some background, the first-generation Honda Fit came in with a bang after arriving on Canadian soil in April of 2006 with 10,634 sales, which quickly escalated to 13,507 deliveries in 2007 and then an all-time high of 14,836 down the road in 2008, but since then it’s experienced sales chart mayhem.
With more in common with the highly volatile Bitcoin cryptocurrency than anything automotive, Fit sales ebbed to 9,553 units in 2009 despite seeing an all-new second-generation model arrive partway through the year, after which it dropped to 7,900 deliveries the following year, and then plummeted to just 2,835 in 2011. Calendar year 2012 saw improvement to 4,736 units before a strong 2013 with 9,512 buyers, whereas the advent of the current third-generation Fit in 2014 provided 11,732 deliveries for its best sales results so far this decade.
Since then it’s been on another downward spiral claimed to be due to production issues caused by the immensely popular HR-V subcompact SUV that’s built at the same plant in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, the result being 9,088 Fit deliveries in 2015, 8,622 in 2016, and after six months of 2017 a meager 2,191 units leaving Canadian dealerships. To ease pressure on its Mexican facility and support the car’s many North American advocates Honda started importing additional Fit models from its production facility in Japan, but evidently not enough.
To appreciate how much ground the Fit has lost since last year came to an end, its 8,622 unit total made it second most popular in the subcompact class when compared to the Accent’s 19,198 sales, but by the close of Q2 2017 it stood sixth out of 11 competitors, with two of the segment’s five slowest sellers including a dedicated hybrid and a full electric model. These would be the Toyota Prius C and new Chevrolet Bolt, with the competitors having past it for second, third, fourth and fifth place in the sales race being the Nissan Versa Note with 4,436 deliveries, the new Yaris Family (including the Yaris hatchback and Mazda-sourced Yaris iA sedan) with 3,053, the Mini Cooper with 2,762, and the Chevrolet Sonic with 2,712. Only the Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta, which also experienced dramatic declines in popularity this year, did worse with 2,122 and 1,052 sales respectively, other than also-ran Fiat 500L that only managed a paltry 32 sales during the same six months.
Along with the usual production issues, some of the Fit’s most recent difficulties can likely be blamed on a purposeful slowdown of production ahead of this 2018 model’s launch so that dealers don’t end up with excess stock, but not all. Either way, if you’re hoping to get your hands on a new 2018 Fit it’s probably a good idea to do so sooner than later.
Honda has been at the forefront of production car electrification since the first modern-day hybrids hit Canadian roads way back at the turn of the millennia, but the Japanese automaker has been cautious…
Honda has been at the forefront of production car electrification since the first modern-day hybrids hit Canadian roads way back at the turn of the millennia, but the Japanese automaker has been cautious to add plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) or pure electric vehicles (EVs) to our smaller market despite previously offering the Accord Plug-in Hybrid and Fit EV south of the border.
This will soon change thanks to the new Clarity Plug-In Electric Hybrid that will go on sale across Canada starting mid-winter 2018 and the Clarity Electric expected next spring, so in preparation for the arrival of these two models a total of 152 Honda dealerships will have outfitted their facilities with electric charging stations before 2017 comes to a close.
“The investment by our dealer network is an indication of our commitment to supporting Honda’s Global 2030 Vision of electrifying two thirds of our fleet,” said Jean Marc Leclerc, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Honda Canada. “This electrification project is essential to our future business as we begin to introduce more electrified vehicles in Canada starting with the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid sedan later this winter.”
The commitment represents close to two thirds of Honda Canada’s entire dealer network, with each getting two 240-volt charging stations apiece. Either charger will be capable of replenishing the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid’s 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack in about two and half hours.
Honda’s first dedicated PHEV is said to have an overall driving range exceeding 530 km (329 miles) and a pure EV range of 68 km (42 miles), which should be enough for many would-be owners who live in urban environments to travel to and from work on electricity alone, although they will need to utilize the car’s electrically-assisted hybrid mode for extended trips.
According to a Honda Canada press release, “… the Clarity Plug-In Electric Hybrid aims to ease Canadian’s concerns about driving range with a no-compromise alternative fuel vehicle that meets the needs of Honda’s customers today while building the foundation of an electrified future.”
The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s electric motor is capable of 181-horsepower and 232 lb-ft of instant torque, while the internal combustion engine (ICE) portion of the power unit is a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder.
With plenty of plug-in contenders already vying for early adopters, plus no shortage of alternatives arriving each year as well as new additions announced regularly, Canadian PHEV and EV markets are already very competitive, so therefore aggressive pricing, financing and leasing options, along with Honda’s reputation for quality, will determine the new Clarity’s success.
This said, despite being one of the original innovators in the HEV sector and producing a wide variety of hybrid models since that initial two-seat Insight, Honda hasn’t had much success with its electrification program to date, the now discontinued Civic Hybrid and the recently introduced second-generation Accord Hybrid aside.
Honda’s U.S. division has already launched the Clarity at select dealerships in Oregon and California with pricing approximately equivalent to $42,500 CAD, while the Clarity Fuel Cell car, which is more representative of the automaker’s long-term alternative fuel plan, went on sale in December of last year, followed up by the aforementioned Clarity Electric, a full EV capable of up to 130 kilometres of range on a single charge.