2007 Honda Civic Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Honda Civic GX: What's the Code, Kenneth?

January 21, 2010

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Seems our radio in our 2007 Honda Civic GX is broken. This error message was already on when I got into the car the day before but I wanted to check the long-term blogs to see if anyone mentioned it. No one did.

In any case the satellite radio doesn't work, neither does the CD player or the radio. I looked it up in the owner's manual since this thing seems to be asking for a code but the manual doesn't say anything about a special code or this issue. However, when I Googled it, I came across this: https://radio-navicode.honda.com/

Not sure how this happened in the first place but apparently the anti-theft light turns on when you replace the battery. Although I don't think anyone did that over the weekend.

POST EDIT: OK, that Web site didn't recognize the VIN but I did finally find a card with the code on it in the owner's package located in the glovebox. So that's fixed. Yay.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Why I Picked It Over the Camaro

January 20, 2010

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Why did I pick our 2007 Honda Civic, boring to drive as heck, over the snazzy 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS for my ride last night?

Because it was raining, I had to drive to West Hollywood and I didn't feel like dealing with a manual in rush-hour cross-town traffic amid Angeleno motorists afraid of a little downpour.

OK, let the name calling begin.

But I'll have you know, I wasn't the only one who made this same choice when presented with the same two cars. Editor Warren Clarke picked the Civic GX for his ride this past holiday weekend.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 37,015 miles

PS: In the end, it didn't rain after all and there was hardly any traffic (took me 20 minutes to get to West Hollywood from Santa Monica when it usually takes double that) since it appeared most Angelenos opted to stay in.

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2007 Honda Civic GX: New Pump Alert

January 19, 2010

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On my way back from a night at the movies with some friends on Friday, I spotted something at the 76 on La Cienega and Olympic: a CNG pump. Score! I was pretty stoked -- the station's just a couple of blocks from where I live, and the pump's presence meant I wouldn't have to drive all the way to Santa Monica to get the tank filled over the very rainy weekend.

The CNG pump is pretty new to that station. The attendant said it's been there for "less than two months." Nice to see more options being offered for drivers of CNG vehicles.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 36,980 miles

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Easily Upset

January 07, 2010

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Our natural gas Civic does not like rough pavement. Last night I was puttering home and rolled up to a stop sign. The pavement leading up to the intersection was riddled with small potholes and choppy asphalt and the Civic did not take kindly to it. Under normal braking, I felt the front wheels wash away as the tires struggled to find grip - almost like I was trying to stop on gravel. It was something I hadn't noticed before, so I began paying closer attention to the car's suspension. Next was a right turn that forked-off of the main boulevard. I knew this turn well, since in my earlier years, I used to use a mid-corner bump to gleefully pitch my old musclecar into a brief little slide. Even at sensible speeds without intentionally trying to upset the Civic, it too stepped out just slightly as it rolled over the bump. I was not impressed.

I checked the tires first. The stock Dunlop SP Sport 5000s looked fine with plenty of tread. I can't imagine the shocks are already worn, since we don't beat on the Civic like a sports car, nor do we load the trunk with heavy cargo (especially since the trunk is tiny). According to our specs, the Civic GX only weighs about 100 pounds more than a gas-powered EX, so I can't write it off to any added natural-gas weight. It's a mystery to me, so I'll let keymaster Schmidt know about it. Maybe it needs a second opinion.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 36,922 miles

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Phill Error Hobbles Home Refills

December 14, 2009

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I've got blowdown failure.

It's not fatal, but it does gets a little frustrating. It's been taking an extra 30 minutes or so to get the job done every night.

Seems like each time I hook the 2007 Civic GX up to the Phill home natural gas fueling system, a red error light pops on before I've walked the 20 feet to the door leading from garage to house.

The first two green lights on the fueling indicator display also light up when I go back and push and hold the Phill's "stop" button, as instructed in the service manual I got when the Phill was installed nearly two years and 2,000 operating hours ago.

The handy dandy Phill error decoder pages in the manual tell me that the problem is "blowdown failure," an apparent obstruction somewhere in the Phill's nozzle or fuel filler hose - or maybe the car's fuel filler inlet.

It's the first problem we've had with the fueling unit since it was installed on Feb. 28, 2008.

I've tried cleaning the visible parts with rubbing alcohol and a blast of compressed air, but so far no good. The light comes on and the fueling stops every time I pull into the garage and plug in with the Phill.

On the plus side, everything seems to work okay after I turn the thing off, wait about half an hour and restart- I've so far not been able to refill the GX's tank.

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2007 Honda Civic GX vs. 2009 Mini E: Which Do You Prefer?

November 05, 2009

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So after spending last weekend in our Mini E and jumping into our 2007 Honda Civic GX last night, I think I'm able to develop a quasi-educated opinion about our two green cars. As you already know the Honda is our natural gas long-termer, the Mini E our electric car.

Honda Civic GX

Pros:

  • Even though it has a small trunk at least you can carry three passengers.
  • Awesome fuel range.
  • Can fill at home with Phill
  • Ours has a single occupant car-pool lane sticker. Woo!

Cons:

  • The limited availability of natural gas fueling stations makes it tricky for planning long road trips.
  • Not fun to drive but at all.

Mini E

Pros:

  • Still retains some of its gokartness.
  • I find it easy to drive in stop-and-go traffic once I got used to taking my foot of the accelerator to slow down, etc.
  • No gas required.
  • Can charge it at home even without a specially installed wall charger.

Cons:

  • With only two seats and a tiny trunk, you can't haul much around.
  • Takes a lonnnng time to recharge.
  • Very limited driving range means you have to carefully plan your trips or take none at all.
  • Would have to be your second car.

Which one do I prefer?

Um. Hmmm. If I HAD to choose one, eeesh.....I guessssss, huh, I'd say the Mini. But remember, I'm a single city dweller who likes fun cars (the Mini for me is more fun to drive than the Civic) and who likes the idea of no gasoline. And for long road trips, I have the Edmunds/Inside Line fleet to choose from. Suffice it to say, not everyone will share my opinion. But then again, after two years in our fleet the Honda Civic GX has inspired only 55 posts. The Mini E after only four months? 70. Just sayin'.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 35,301 miles (2007 Honda Civic GX)

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2007 Honda Civic GX: The Clean, Green Routine

October 21, 2009

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Besides the lower emissions our Civic GX enjoys, there's an added bonus -- the refueling experience is much cleaner compared to gasoline-powered cars. There are no liquids spilling at the pump and no ruined shoes. Also, the nozzle is easier to maneuver than the heavier, California-compliant gasoline ones. First-time fillers may feel a bit apprehensive with the different procedure, but it soon becomes as routine as with any other car. It's also convenient that CNG pumps feature a readout that displays how much more you have to fill. Yes, sometimes it'll take longer to refuel, but maybe that'll change someday.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 34,960 miles

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2007 Honda Civic GX: No Rug Burn Here

October 02, 2009

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Hopped in the long-term Civic GX this morning and noticed that the floormat was scooched up over the base of the pedal.

I wouldn't normally have noticed - it wasn't much of a scooch - but I'd just written a piece about that massive Toyota safety campaign and pending recall for scrunched-up floor mats that were jamming gas pedals, so the subject was on my mind.

The Honda's mat has a fairly elaborate securing system under the front edge of the driver's seat, and best I can figure it wasn't fastened after being cleaned at the car wash.

Fortunately, the Civic GX's pedal is floor mounted, so there's no gap between pedal and floor for the mat to slip into and cause a jam - the problem, apparently, with those 3.8 million Toyotas and Lexuses with pedals that hang down from the firewall and don't touch the floor.

Way to go, Honda!

An yeah, I drove all the way to the office - 54 miles on the freeway - before unscooching the mat and resecuring it.

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Keeps on Ticking, But Phill Won't

July 28, 2009

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There's not much new to say about the Civic GX - it still runs like a top, albeit one that's a bit slow to wind up; hasn't given us any trouble and except for a little body work after a fender-bender hasn't been in the shop other than for oil changes and one brake job (a problem with Civics).

The first major service isn't scheduled until 100,000 miles - that's about 67,000 miles from now - and I've every reason to believe it will get there just fine.

Not sure about its home fueling companion, though.

Our Phill is about 25 percent through its apparently artificial lifespan of 6,000 hours.

The installer pointed this out to me when he hung the unit on the garage wall: FuelMaker programmed the software to shut the system down at 6,000 hours to ensure that nothing bad would happen - and, probably, to make a little more money as the approved route was to ship it back to FuelMaker for a $2,000 rebuild.

FuelMaker's gone now, and a new company - Fuel System Solutions - has taken over, promising to continue making home units and repairing Phills.

We don't know yet how FSS is going to handle stuff, but we're hoping that its installers and repair people will be allowed to reprogram the thing so that it keeps running as long as its parts allow.

I ran the "hours of service" check this morning - for the first time - and found that our Phill has somewhere between 1,500 and 1,749 hours on its clock (instrumentation is minimal, just a set of lights that come on in a coded sequence to tell you the range of hours that the pump's been operating.

If anyone at Fuel System Solutions is listening: put a real clock on the new units, please, along with a gauge that records how much natural gas flows through. The lack of either is a big flaw on the present model.

Back to the Civic GX - I haven't been driving it much lately because I've been working from home for a bit and haven't been commuting.

But I'm headed to the airport in the morning and unlike the other 50,000 or so people who'll be crowding the freeway about then, I'm looking forward to the drive - CNG cars here in California are considered "Clean Air Cars" because of their very low emissions and for that reason get a single-occupancy carpool lane pass.

John O'Dell, Senior Editor, Green Car Advisor

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Phill is Back!

July 10, 2009

FuelMaker Guy with Phill Unit

We've been left in an info vacuum about the future of the Phill home natural gas fueling device for our 2007 Honda Civic GX since FuelMaker Corp., the company that used to make and service it, when belly up.

Its assets and technology were purchased earlier this year by Fuel Systems Solutions, the California-based company that also owns Impco Technologies, one of the world's largest manufacturers of OEM and aftermarket natural gas conversion systems.

Several requests for information from Fuel Systems spokespeople since then have been met with silence, leaving s to wonder if we now owned a museum piece. Having a GX and no Phill is like having bread but no butter.

But now, as a Phill owner (we bought one for the GX early last year), we've received an update from one of the company's distributors.

"You'll be pleased to know," the missive states (and we are, we definitely are), "that Fuel Systems...will continue to offer service and repairs for the FuelMaker HRA (Phill)."

The letter also says that Fuel Systems will announce later his year that it has begun producing new natural gas fueling systems at its Italian affiliate, BRC Gas Equipment.

There are about 600 Fuel Maker Phill units out there, and if you own one, or are thinking of getting one, the master distributor in California (and a shout-out to them for giving us the news) is Gas Equipment Systems Inc., in Rancho Cucamonga.

If you don't live in California, home to most of the Honda Civic GXs and about 80 percent of all the Phills, you can contact Paula Hebert at Impco's Texas office - 972 548 9221 - for information about Phill dealers and service facilities.

John O'Dell, Senior Editor

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