MPG-o-Matic 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas Review Summary: The Honda Civic Natural Gas might not burn rubber, but it doesn’t burn a single drop of petroleum, imported or otherwise. On a car-per-car basis, it does more to reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil than any hybrid, whether plug-in or not. Its tailpipe is the cleanest of any vehicle sold with a tailpipe today. With 100% compressed natural gas (CNG) selling for just a fraction of the cost of unleaded gasoline, it’s win-win-win. But be sure to check for sufficient CNG stations in your area before you sign on the bottom line.
The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas is equipped with an inline four-cylinder engine displacing 1.8-liters and a five-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic control. The SOHC i-VTEC four produces 110 horsepower (HP) and 106 foot pounds of torque. These numbers are substantially lower than the conventionally fueled 1.8-liter Civic engine, which produces 140 HP and 128 foot pounds of torque.
The official fuel economy estimates for the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas are 27 city / 38 highway miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe).
We took to the road with some extended highway commuting in our Polished Metal Metallic Navi review unit and cruised by the official mileage estimates, with an average of 41.4 MPG on the Interstate highway and 36.2 MPG combined with temperatures ranging from the low-thirties through the high sixties.
On the downside, the Civic Natural Gas gives up 30 horsepower to the conventional Civic and this shows clearly in acceleration.
Due to the New York International Auto Show being taking place the week we tested the Civic Natural Gas, we did not run our standard Interstate Mileage Testing route. However, we stuck to our norms, with testing performed: cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up, and cruise control off (target speed 60-72 MPH), A/C off, windows up. Econ mode was used through 90 percent of the test period.
Our test vehicle was equipped with 15-inch lightweight alloy wheels, clad with P195/65 R15 Firestone Affinity tires, and was delivered with approximately 800 miles on the odometer.
The CNG storage cylinder is rated for a hair over eight gallons equivalent (8.03 GGe at 3600 PSI), which provides adequate cruising range. But it does cut into cargo space, with the trunk allowing for just 6.1 cubic feet of storage.
The Civic Natural Gas’ brake system uses Electronic Brake Force Distribution and ABS, with disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear. It tips the scales at 2848 – 2855 pounds (with navigation system)
While some folks may be put off by the spaceship-like split-level dashboard display, it’s among the best in the business for fuel-concious drivers. You’ll quickly learn to lightfoot it.
Our test unit was equipped with Honda’s Navigation system. Although the graphic design is dated, the system features voice recognition and comes preloaded with a list of CNG filling stations. Bluetooth is standard. The audio system includes XM satellite radio and Bluetooth audio streaming.
The twelve-volt outlet and auxiliary audio input are located at the base of the dash. The USB input is located inside the center console.
The back seat provides 37.1 inches of headroom and 36.2 inches of legroom.
All-in-all, the 2012 Civic Natural Gas does what no other passenger car with an internal combustion engine does today. By using affordable clean-burning domestic fuel, the domestically-built Civic CNG delivers on the promise of both environmental and economic benefit. From an exterior design standpoint it’s as low-key as can be … and that’s absolutely awesome. We applaud Honda’s long-term efforts and hope to see CNG-power extended to more vehicles within their lineup, and Acura’s as well.
Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 65%
Major Source of Foreign Parts Content: Japan – 20%
Final Assembly Point: Greensburg, Indiana
Country of Origin:
Engine – United States
Transmission – Japan
– by Daniel Gray
2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas