Honda Civic GX Long-Term Test
Now and for the next year, PopSci is testing the new compressed-natural-gas-powered Honda Civic GX. This is the first time Honda has offered a natural-gas vehicle to the public-the lack of open-access natural-gas fueling stations has made daily use by anyone other than employees of city governments, which operate their own stations, impossible.
But the recent release of the Phill home-refueling station, manufactured by Toronto-based FuelMaker, changes things. Now people who have the station installed at their house can refuel the GX overnight, since the system taps into natural-gas lines. There are many potential benefits to using natural gas: It's the cleanest-burning fuel available, with virtually zero emissions; it's a domestic fuel source; and, when using the home station, fuel costs drop to approximately $1.30 per gallon.
FuelMaker, which developed the home-refueling system with support from Honda, provided a Phill unit for our year-long test and installed it at automotive editor Eric Adams's residence in New Jersey. Honda provided the Civic GX. Although the retail cost of Phill is roughly $4,000, the final cost to consumers can be significantly lower, because (depending on where you live) state and federal tax credits can offset or even completely cover the initial purchase price. Similar tax credits can offset the incremental cost of the natural-gas technology in the Civic, bringing the $24,000 purchase price-again, depending on your state-down to below that of the entry-level Civic's $16,000 sticker.
The benefits of natural gas are huge, but how practical is this vehicle? Over the course of the next year, our tests will answer that. Is the home-refueling system easy to use? How convenient is it to refuel during extended road trips? Staff editors will have access to the GX for road trips, vacations and just running around town, and it will be used as a commuter vehicle from New Jersey to Manhattan-a roughly 50-mile round trip.
Read on to see what our editors have to say about the vehicle on the following pages.single page
The incredible innovations, like drone swarms and perpetual flight, bringing aviation into the world of tomorrow. Plus: today's greatest sci-fi writers predict the future, the science behind the summer's biggest blockbusters, a Doctor Who-themed DIY 'bot, the organs you can do without, and much more.