Tom, it sort of sounds like the Clarity might be ideal for you but only you can decide.
Noise-There have been many posts regarding a 'weak' horn, buzzy engine, and very quite car. Starting with the 'weak horn', it's really not and you can only tell by hitting the horn with your window down. It's loud and shrill and will get the attention of all but deaf nearby drivers, however--- the car is quite enough that with the windows up it is
hard to hear. Buzzy engine---It's only a 1.5L engine. Unlike cars you've owned in the past, the RPM's do not necessarily equate to car speed or throttle, the engine drives the motor generator nearly all the time it's running. Normally it's charging the traction batteries and/or providing extra power for a steep grade. On occasion when traveling on a flat road at moderate speeds when the car is in EV mode you may see a 'gear' icon on the display that shows how power is being used or generated. When you see that is the only time the engine is actually directly connected through the tranny to the front wheels. Most of the time it's just being powered by the electric motor and whisper quite. When it's that quite, if the engine cuts on to drive the generator you may hear it especially if it gets up around (my estimate) 3000 RPM. IMHO it's not that loud actually, it's just noticeable because you didn't hear it moments before. The car has a very high level of sound deadening material. It took me a short while to get used to the engine running at speeds needed to generate juice to the batteries and electric motor as apposed to generating power to the wheels it was just strange for the 1st couple of months.
I have about 7700 miles on mine now since driving it home last May. It has been trouble free. A road spike that destroyed my right front tire at 200 miles had nothing to do with the car, just bad karma that day LOL. IMHO, the majority of registering a 'diss-like' of some type are because it's Honda's concept of a PHEV and it will take some time getting used to it. BTW, there are so many computers in the car that are tied together and monitoring everything in the car, I named mine 'Watson'.
Being retired and driving mostly in a local area I buy very little gas. There are even places such as Whole Foods that have free Level II charging stations I even top off while shopping or eating lunch there
. I would guess I've used maybe 25 or so gallons since getting it. But on your trips to Flagstaff you'll enjoy a comfortable and roomy sedan that should average somewhere in the mid to upper 40's on long trips. Anything over 70mph is going to degrade the MPG's on any car but you know that already. It's actually better in city driving.
By nature most people will generally recommend the model they bought, however the car in either base or Touring trim is such a bargain I got the Touring which gives a lot more seating control on the drivers side plus the leather and suede trim. I've played with the Honda navigation which is part of the touring trim as well as Waze and Google maps. If I'm traveling a distance the or just around town I just let it default to the Honda/Garmin Nav that offers updates and traffic. I almost never use one of the other ones. You can program the Nav to a destination from your home or office by using the Honda app on your phone.
Either Level 1 with standard supplied cord or Level II if you install one will suffice but the difference in time for a charge from near empty to full goes from around 2 hours on Level II up to around 12 hours on Level I. The state of GA offered a cash incentive upon proof I installed a Level II with a permit I just did it and now I'm happy as a clam. Also this car meets the federal requirement for the $7500 tax incentive as well as HOV lane driving in many states.
Another 'buy now' incentive is many people who should be making the change to PHEV just can't seem to get away from what they know so a lot of these are on the dealer lots making a good opportunity for you to bargain. But gas is starting to go up now so high inventories may start to dwindle.
I’m thinking about buying a Clarity PHEV because it is now the only car on the market with an engine and the ev range I want. One big question mark exists. Due to an ear condition, noise level is perhaps the most crucial car quality for me. I’ve read so many reviews and forum posts about how quiet the Clarity is AND so many about horrendous engine noise (swarm of bees etc.).
The opinions are at such variance that I figure this must have to do with geography, temperature, battery state, driving style and modes. I live at 7000 feet in the mountains of Northern Arizona. There are few flat roads and always greatly reduced engine power. A lot of my driving will be local and within the ev range. That will be very quiet. But what about road trips? For example, Phoenix to Flagstaff is a two-hour drive with a 6000 foot vertical climb, including a couple of downhill stretches, all at 75 mph.
My question is: what combination of battery state of charge and modes will get me not the most economy but the least obtrusive engine noise under varying cross-country conditions? In your expert opinions, is this the car for me?