June 30, 2009
I've been hearing about the merits of the Civic GX for a few years now from my hairstylist Sue, who drives one from Lake Arrowhead to Pasadena nearly every day she works. Under the conditions she drives, I think the GX is a great choice...here's why.
Most of Sue's 70+ miles each way is on the highway, and in most cases traffic isn't nearly as snarled as it is near our Santa Monica offices. Even if traffic was bumper-to-bumper, she could make use of the HOV lanes as a single-occupant vehicle. She has a Phill station that she plugs into every night and she has another mode of transportation for longer trips into uncharted territory.
For the rest of the populace, the Civic may end up being more of a pricey novelty. Even though the Civic GX is has a short list of creature comforts, it is still one of the highest-priced Civics ever. The trunk is tiny, eaten up by large pressurized gas cylinder. It's slow to get up to speed...any speed, and the Phill station is expensive, even after any/all tax credits are applied.
But let's also remember that the GX is an adaptation of a Civic -- a car that was not originally designed as a CNG vehicle. I'd like to see a natural gas-specific vehicle someday -- one that offers the optional features we now expect of most cars and one with a proper trunk. I'm especially fond of CNG as an alternative because the infrastructure is already in place for many people to refill at home. Given the trend that technology eventually becomes inexpensive enough for the masses, perhaps the Phill stations will begin dropping in price after its popularity and demand increase. With legislation in the works that will likely be even more favorable to alternative-fueled vehicles, maybe we could expect even more savings in the near future. Let's hope so.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 32,665 miles
May 27, 2008
Everytime I open the trunklet on the Civic GX, I bleed a little for Honda.
Gasoline prices are driving sales of this nifty compressed natural gas commuter car now, but for most of its life it has been relegated to the commercial and government fleet market because it has not been perceived as a very useful everyday vehicle for the consumer.
That's in large part because CNG isn't a fuel that's readily available in all states, making the Civic GX a car in which you wouldn't want to essay a cross-country trip.
But it's also because the trunk is so small, much of what had been a spacious cavity in the conventional Civic being occupied by the tanks for the GX's pressurized fuel.
Still, I've been driving it for quite a few thousand miles now and have found that for most daily uses you can think to put a car to, it does just fine.
When my wife and I go shopping on weekends even, sometimes, to the local big box discounter where everything comes king-sized or larger we find that the GX trunk, at 14 inches deep, 20 inches tall and 55 inches long, is more spacious than it looks.
February 19, 2008
Took the Civic GX just named greenest vehicle sold in the U.S. on a 611-mile weekend trip. It takes a little planning when your fuel isn't the easiest to find, but all went well.
art of the reason for taking the GX, usually just a commuter car, was to see if we could stand sitting in it for hours on end. Part was to see how difficult it would be to find the compressed natural gas it needs once we got out of the greater Los Angeles area. Neither proved problematic, although figuring out the fueling logistics is a bit like planning a treasure hunt. And when you get to some of the stops, you find that CNG pumps aren't often in spots you really want to hang around in after dark.
Before departing, we plugged our starting point and destination into the mapping function of the federal Energy Department's alternative fuels site.
Following the instructions provided a nice map that located 30 compressed natural gas stations on two possible routes from Southern California up to the central coast resort town of Cambria, about 6 miles south of Hearst Castle.
Each station was indicated by an interactive red triangle that, when moused and clicked, opened to give precise details including the station's hours, the types of credit cards accepted, driving directions and whether the station was open to the public many aren't.
After picking out five that would suit our needs, I printed out the specifics and for extra insurance loaded the addresses into our portable GPS navigation system.
The whole exercise took about 20 minutes and left me feeling assured that we'd not run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere.
To be doubly sure, I earmarked stations that were about 100 miles or a little less than half a tank apart.
The first fill was supposed to be at a local station near home, but it was out of order (the DOE info has phone numbers and advises calling in advance to make sure the stations are open and functioning, but that takes all the fun out of it).
September 25, 2007
I had the long-term Civic GX for the past week, or at least its keys. I got to see how it performed in a variety of driving conditions, taking it on different errands -- daily commute, trip to Universal City for a press event, taking me to an excellent Editors concert at the Wiltern, and an airport venture that included four days parked while I was in Toronto. Here are some of the things I learned over this period of time.