To geek or not to geek, that’s the question I asked myself while driving the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Was it better to search the car’s confounding number of drive modes and delve into its efficiency data, or just take the wheel and drive, ending concerns for matters better left to the car’s own smarts?
In Honda’s new plug-in hybrid, I could choose between Eco, Normal and Sport drive modes, and layer on top of any of those modes Hybrid Vehicle or Hybrid Vehicle Charging modes. Add the ability to choose from five brake regeneration modes and, frankly, the math to calculate those permutations is beyond me.
If I wanted to strain my brain, I could, but the Clarity PHEV would happily make all these decisions for me. If it has any of its 47 miles of pure electric range available, it will drive as an electric car. When that range runs down, it seamlessly and quietly fires up its 1.5-liter engine, joining that motivation to whatever electrons it can gather to keep the car moving.
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