2007 Honda Civic GX: Less Compromised Than a Prius, Sort Of
June 30, 2009
My last experience in our 2007 Honda Civic GX was mostly on the freeway. Aside from the fact that it feels like the whole car is holding its breath as it accelerates, the CNG-fueled, 1.8-liter inline-four provides adequate motivation for commuting -- and with none of the odd sensations you get in a hybrid with blended gasoline-engine and electric power sources.
The GX also rides pretty much like any other (non-Si) Civic, though I think it would be better if we got rid of the low-rolling-resistance P195/65R15 89H tires -- perhaps that will be soon given our long-termer's mileage. Still, freeway travel in a Civic GX feels more secure and relaxing than it does in a second-generation Prius or our long-term Smart Fortwo, either of which is liable to wander all over the road. I can see why people use the GX for high-mileage commuting in greater LA.
But if I owned our natural-gas Honda, I'd mostly use it to run errands within 10-15 miles of my home. Like most fuel misers, it's most pleasant during low-speed stop-and-go driving, even if it this doesn't give it the opportunity to operate at maximum efficiency.
As someone commented on Mark's entry, the lack of a current vendor for the Phill home refueling unit makes a Civic GX purchase far less desirable today than it was two years ago. (Honda's sale of Fuel Maker's assets to Fuel Systems Solutions is now final, and FSS says it will restart Phill production but hasn't yet as far as we know.)
I rent a 1940s-era apartment, though, so I couldn't ever have a Phill anyway. I do have the random luck to live in the Republic of Santa Monica within a half-mile of a natural gas refueling station. So owning a Honda Civic GX could conceivably work for me. But I think I'd rather just get a Fit.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 32,375 miles