2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell First Drive: Just unlike everything else

– Santa Barbara, California

When we drive gas cars, there are so many assumptions baked into the experience that it can be difficult to strip them away and see what's really going on. The billions of dollars that have been spent on infrastructure to make sure that you can refuel your car at $2.50 a gallon, the wars and environmental suffering required to secure the oil, all of it remains hidden to most people, most days. A car like the hydrogen-powered 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell can, if you let it, force you to think about what's happening behind the scenes. After all, there’s nothing at an average gas station that you can use to help power the Clarity Fuel Cell. How many cars can you say that about?

If you were to borrow your friend’s Clarity without discussing the powertrain, you might make that mistake. There's something unremarkable about the Clarity. Tone down – by only like 10 percent – the slightly-from-the-future design, and this thing wouldn't attract any attention on any highway, anywhere. And, if you're not paying a lot of attention as you sit in the driver's seat, you won't notice much that's odd, either. This should not be taken as tough criticism, because when it comes to the Clarity – and fuel cell cars in general – there's so much more happening than meets the eye. The real story here is not really the vehicle itself.

2017 Honda Clarity FCV: First Drive
2017 Honda Clarity FCV: First Drive
2017 Honda Clarity FCV: First Drive
2017 Honda Clarity FCV: First Drive
2017 Honda Clarity FCV: First Drive

Nonetheless, we’re here to review a car, so let's start with what you can see. For starters, the Clarity is a big sedan, as Honda wil...