2007 Honda Civic Long Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2007 Honda Civic Long-Term Road Test

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

January 21, 2010

civicgx 001.jpg

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: 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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2009 Honda Civic GX: An Afternoon at the Pump

July 02, 2009


Yep, that's me chilling out while the Civic GX gets filled up with clean natural gas at our local station. With only a quarter tank remaining, it took 24 minutes before I finally gave up and stopped the pump. Before explaining that, lets go back a bit.

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Two-Speaker Stereo Revisited

June 25, 2009

GX stereo.jpg

Due to overwhelming popular demand, i.e. a brief conversation with colleagues DiPietro and Magrath last week, I headed for the parking garage yesterday with my trusty test CD, determined to find out whether my long-ago statement that "this is the best two-speaker stereo I've ever heard" still holds water.

Does it?

Oh, you betcha.

Granted, the competition isn't exactly stiff. We're talking about a 1985 Tercel, a 1987 Toyota pickup, a '90s Daihatsu K-car in Japan...not what I'd call leaders in mobile audio technology. But seriously, this GX stereo does pretty damn well for a boombox. Not surprisingly, clarity and separation aren't particularly impressive, but bass response is satisfying at the "+4" (of 6) setting, and the soundstage is remarkably full given that it's being created by a pair of ankle-level speakers. I actually suspected this was a stealth 2+2 system -- two speakers, two dash-mounted tweeters -- until I came across a CarSpace post to the contrary.

Yes sir. Still the best two-speaker stereo I've ever heard.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2007 Honda Civic GX: An Inconvenient Truth

May 28, 2009

civic gx.JPG

There's nothing like the convenience of having a gas station on every corner. When you're driving a natural gas vehicle like the Civic GX, however, that kind of convenience is a luxury that simply isn't within your grasp, and this can sometimes be problematic. Case in point: I've had the car for the past few days. Was running low on gas, but figured, "No problem -- there's a station just a couple of blocks from work." Got to that station to do the deed, but found that the pumps weren't operational. Located another station, on the UCLA campus. Spent 45 minutes unsuccessfully trying to find said station -- no one I spoke to, not even the security guard, had any knowledge of it. By now the tank's running pretty low. I locate another station, this one near the airport. Get there, finally achieve a fill-up, and breathe a sigh of relief.

A friend of mine has a GX, and drives 10 miles to the nearest station to fill his tank. That's dedication, man. I couldn't imagine owning this car without having a (costly) Phill installed.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 31,717 miles

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Image-challenged

May 07, 2008

The Civic GX NGV is pretty high tech - it runs on compressed natural gas. It's quite economical and has clean emissions, too (Senior Editor O'Dell has an upcoming summary). But this Civic NGV is too, uh, normal.

It drives and sounds just like most underpowered econoboxes, with hard, skinny tires that like to wander a bit down the Four-Oh-Five. Except for a small NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle) sticker on either side of it, and a small CNG sticker on the back, it looks just like any other Civic. Therein lies the problem: it doesn't look like a spaceship, nor does it emit electrical motor noises. It has no fancy power meter. It doesn't shout from the Vegan Co-op or Latte Shop on the mountaintop, "I'm doing my part to take down global climate change: Yes we can!" It just motors quietly along in the car pool lane. I'm not sure that's enough to carry it in this image-conscious segment.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 16,026 miles

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Home Pump Cuts Pocketbook Pain

April 17, 2008

Phill home CNG unit has cut fuel costs 30%, and best is yet to come.

When we posted our methodology for computing fuel economy in the natural gas Civic GX now that we're using a home CNG pump, several people wanted to know how much the fuel cost.

We didn't have an answer back then because we hadn't received our first home gas and electric bills and had no basis for figuring out a cost per gallon.

Well, the bills are in, we've done the conversions (one therm of natural gas is the equivalent of .784 gallons of gasoline) and the math and submitted our first expense report.

We pumped the GNG equivalent of 51.888 gasoline gallons through the Phill home unit during March, and figure that electricity to run the pump cost $40.29 while the natural gas itself cost $91.69, for total cost of $131.46, or $2.53 per gallon.

That's $1.18 less than the prevailing price of unleaded regular gasoline in our part of Southern California, and anywhere from 7-cents to 32- cents a gallon-equivalent less than the various retail GNG pumps in the area are charging for their natural gas. (The range is so great because one pump is operated by a city and is priced pretty much at cost -- it was $2.60 a gallon when we checked two days ago).

But that's just the first step.

We have just received authorization from our natural gas utility for a home refuling unit discount that should drop the cost of fillling up with the Phill to well below $2 per gallon.

We're expecting the first bill that reflects the discount to arrive at the end of the month and we'll let you know what the new cost-per-gallon is as soon as we crunch the numbers.

John O'Dell, Senior Editor @ 15,147 miles.

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2007 Honda Civic GX: CNG Comes Home

March 03, 2008


The Phill has been installed.

After waiting almost two months from the time we placed the order for the home fueling device at the end of December, I pumped the first made-at-home CNG into our long-term 2007 Civic GX on Friday evening, after the electrician did his thing and hooked the machine up to a 240-volt circuit.

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2007 Honda Civic GX: Boredom As Bliss; Phill Update

February 04, 2008

A landmark, of sorts.

The odo passed 10K on the way home Friday (it is difficult to get a decent picture of a lighted digital odometer while stopped, in the dark, in the carpool lane but as the traffic was cooperating, I tried!).

I've put most of those miles on our 2007 Honda Civic GX, a point driven home Friday morning when managing editor Donna DeRosa asked me whether I got bored driving the GX all the time.

What can I say?

It is a bit boring, but hey, it's a basic Civic, a slightly underpowered basic Civic, and most of my driving is on Southern California freeways during Southern California rush hours. Driving a Ferrari is boring when stop-go-stop-go-slow down-stop-go-stop-stop-go-slow-go is the pattern and top speed rarely rises above 40 miles an hour.

Still, it is a Civic, so it starts whenever you ask it; goes where you point it, is comfortable, has a radio (audio system is too proud a term to describe the two-speaker AM/FM/CD setup), turns corners without tipping over and stops promptly when required.

Add to that a single-occupant carpool lane permit and better-than-average CO2 emissions because of the lower carbon content of its compressed natural gas fuel, and the Civic GX becomes a blissful commuter car.

Every once in a while there's even is a soup├žon of excitement: wondering how much farther you can drive once the fuel gauge hits empty (haven't run out yet); getting the recall notice that says the CNG tank could take off like a rocket if we lit a big fire in the back seat (we still haven't taken it in for the fix a new seal of some sort); visiting Honda dealership at 7,000 miles for the first scheduled oil change (the first time its been to a dealership since we picked it up at the end of June; and getting the Phill.

Actually, we don't actually have the Phill the natural gas compressor and pump unit that will let us fill the GX overnight in our garage. But we got word Friday that FuelMaker Corp., the Canadian company that, well, makes it, finally has shipped our Phill to the installer.

It's supposed to arrive around the end of this week, and we're hoping we can get it installed, inspected and approved by the 15th.

In preparation, we updated the fuel log this morning and can report that at 10,083 miles, we're averaging 28.43 miles a gallon. That's unchanged from the then lifetime average of 28.4 mpg posted at 5,234 miles back in November.

John O'Dell, Senior Editor, Edmunds Green Car Advisor @ 10,083 miles

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2007 Honda Civic GX: The Phill Is Coming!

January 11, 2008

It's like a second Christmas.

Mike, or Dr. Drain, as his business card identifies him, showed up at noon Thursday to rough-in the mounts and run the gas line for the Phill natural gas fueling unit we're installing in my garage.

If you drive a Civic GX, the home unit would seem to be a reasonable thing to lust after.

Without it, you stop every 175-200 miles to fill up, and natural gas stations aren't quite as plentiful as the regular kind.

For me, with a 116-mile round trip commute, that 's meant a stop every other day at least.

There happen to be five natural gas pump locations on my route -- Southern Caliofrnia along the 405 Freeway corridor from Santa Monica to Orange County apparently is a pretty gassy place -- but using them requires detours off the freeway and delays my arrivals at home or office.

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