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Honda Civic GX

Originally designed to be a fleet vehicle, the natural-gas powered Civic GX has been named “America’s Greenest Car” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The Environmental Protection Agency considers the her the “cleanest-burning internal-combustion vehicle on the planet” after it proved to be the cleanest-burning engine it had ever tested. The GX is so clean-burning it is the only car in its emissions class. She’s a Civic in every respect but the fuel source, making this car especially attractive to green-minded consumers.

by Ross Bonander, Contributing Writer


Type: Dedicated CNG vehicle
Class: Sedan
Manufacturer: Honda

The Manufacturer Says...


“Though it may have a different kind of fuel coursing through its veins, the GX retains all the features that have made the Civic one of the most popular cars in America.”


The Critics Say...


“It ain't magic—the [GX] comes with a few compromises.”—Car and Driver , referring to the 2007 model.


What We Like


The fuel. While Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is not renewable, it is cheap, abundant in North America and its infrastructure is already in place. Furthermore, Honda has installed an in-tank solenoid valve in the GX—a safety feature that responds to system compromises by cutting off gas flow.

The range. 220 miles is fantastic for this kind of vehicle.

The Civic. The GX is in virtually every way except fuel source a Honda Civic. Putting an alternative fuel tank into such a stalwart stand-by as the Civic is a dynamite way to wean the consumer off conventional gasoline vehicles.

The price. MSRP is under $25,000, about $10,000 more than its Civic ICE cousin. Government incentives and tax rebates are variable, but could amount to a couple thousand dollars. Additionally, fueling a CNG vehicle costs roughly half the amount that fueling an ICE costs, meaning instant savings every time you re-fuel. As if that weren’t enough, owners can install home refueling units for which they are also eligible for incentives. The drawback to these home units is how long it takes to fully refuel—as many as 20 hours.


What We Don’t Like


The transmission. Currently the GX is only made in an automatic.

The availability. Currently the GX is only available in New York and California.

The trunk space. Thanks to the size of the fuel tank, the trunk is about half the size of its ICE cousin.

The performance. Namely, the torque is low and the car goes from 0-60 in about ten seconds, in large part because of the vehicle’s substantial weight.


Honda Civic GX Specifications


Propulsion system:: In-Line 4-Cylinder, 113-hp, 16-valve, i-VTEC® engine
Top Speed: NA
Zero-to-60: 10 seconds
MPG: 28 mpg
Vehicle range: 220-250 miles
Fuel(s): Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
Tailpipe emissions: Yes but minimal


Conclusion


Among the major car makers, Honda is leading the way towards building desirable, green-friendly vehicles, not just with the GX but also with its fuel cell-powered FCX. Nobody would say that the GX performs like a sports car, but this vehicle is strictly about the environment, and in that regard she is an attractive step forward.


More information on the Honda Civic GX at:

automobiles.honda.com/civic-gx

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