The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas is being displayed to the public for the first time ever at the 2011 New York Auto Show, but it's not exactly easy to spot. In fact, the Civic Natural Gas (formerly called the Civic GX) looks pretty much like any of the other Civics on the stand – all the special NGV ( natural gas vehicle) badges are gone from the car, and Honda has redone the interior, too. Gone is the fleet-friendly, utilitarian cabin, replaced with something that looks like a standard Honda. By this, we mean Bluetooth and USB connectors, the new "intelligent" Multi-Information Display (i-MID) and a satellite navigation system.
What matters more, though, is what's under the hood. Here, Honda is reusing the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder powertplant used in the Civic Sedan and Coupe, tweaked to burn CNG. The EPA fuel economy ratings are yet to come, but rest assured this is one clean-burning car. It qualifies as a AT-PZEV, and Honda estimates the Civic Natural Gas will get 27/38/31 miles per gallon equivalent (that's city/highway/combined). The car still uses fossil fuel, but a fuel that is found in the U.S. in pretty vast quantities.
Since 1998, Honda has sold a Civic that burns natural gas, but the company limited sales to fleets and (since 2005) retail customers in limited areas. In January, Honda announced that the CNG Civic would be available nationwide (see asterisk in the press release after the jump) after the launch of the standard-fuel 2012 Civics this spring.
Live Photos Copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL
America's only manufacturer-built natural gas passenger car provides a stylish and viable alternative to gasoline and electric vehicles
TORRANCE, Calif., April 20, 2011 – The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas leverages the style and refinement of the Civic Sedan with the wide-ranging environmental and historical operational cost advantages of a vehicle run exclusively on compressed natural gas (CNG).
"The Civic Natural Gas builds on the company's 15-year legacy of offering viable, alternative fuel-powered vehicles by adding popular features and expanding its retail availability," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Inherently clean-burning natural gas has a proven track record as an extremely low-emission, domestically produced transportation fuel. The new Civic Natural Gas makes it even more convenient to tap into this desirable and abundant resource."
The Civic Natural Gas (formerly named Civic GX) has been offered to fleet customers nationwide since the 1998 model year. Since 2005 it has also been marketed to retail customers starting in California, and then later in New York, Utah and Oklahoma. For 2012, the Civic Natural Gas is poised to broaden retail access as it becomes available nationwide through qualified Honda dealers.
Multiple benefits exist to using natural gas as a vehicle fuel. From a value standpoint, natural gas has historically cost about 30-percent less per gasoline-gallon-equivalent compared to gasoline when purchased at public fueling stations. As an alternative fuel vehicle with extremely low smog-forming emissions, the Civic Natural Gas currently qualifies for a state-issued decal allowing single-occupant access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) "carpool" lanes in California and several other states.
For 2012, the Civic Natural Gas receives enhanced feature content found in the other all-new Civic models. The new "intelligent" Multi-Information Display (i-MID) provides a convenient platform for integration of vehicle information and compatible personal electronics with a driver-oriented 5-inch color LCD display and intuitive steering wheel controls. Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® for compatible mobile phones and a USB audio interface for compatible music players are also standard.
For the first time ever, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation with voice recognition and FM Traffic is available in the Civic Natural Gas. The navigation system database uniquely includes retail fueling locations for CNG.
A CNG-version of the same 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the Civic Sedan and Coupe models powers the Civic Natural Gas. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment. The Civic Natural Gas has a Honda-estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy rating of 27/38/31 miles per gallon (gasoline-gallon equivalent). Compared to the 2011 model, city fuel economy improves by 12.5 percent, and highway fuel economy is up by 5.5 percent. The Civic Natural Gas includes Honda's ECO Assist™ technology, an innovation that can enhance efficient vehicle operation at the touch of a button while also providing visual feedback to promote and confirm an efficient driving style.
The Civic Natural Gas engine incorporates unique features to operate exclusively on CNG. The compression ratio increases to 12.7:1, compared to 10.6:1 in the Civci Sedan's gasoline-powered engine. Exclusive fuel injectors, intake and exhaust valves, and valve seats accommodate the unique properties of natural gas. Stronger connecting rods and special pistons are used in consideration of the higher compression ratio.
The Civic Natural Gas has its 3600 p.s.i. fuel tank located between the rear wheels. The safety-engineered aluminum-lined composite fuel tank can contain the gasoline-gallon equivalent (GGE) of 7.8 gallons of gasoline when filled to 3600 p.s.i. with CNG.
Designed with a sleek windshield rake, a sweeping roofline and a new interpretation of the previous model's "one-motion" profile, the lines of the 2012 Civic Natural Gas suggest a sophisticated and athletic appearance. A low and wide stance contributes to a distinctive visual presence, while thinner A-pillars stretch further toward the front of the vehicle than before to improve visibility and the perception of interior space. The C-pillars also stretch further toward the rear of the vehicle compared to the previous generation to better complete the flowing one-motion appearance. Aerodynamic features such as flat under-body construction and functional aerodynamic strakes in front of the tires help to increase fuel-efficiency.
The redesigned interior offers more style with new functionality and new features. An intuitive "two-tier" layout prioritizes frequently referenced instruments like the speedometer up high in the driver's line of sight with less frequently referenced information positioned down lower. The i-MID can present audio information including album artwork, custom vehicle settings, and personal wallpaper backgrounds. A four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system is standard, and it can stream music wirelessly via a Bluetooth connection with a compatible player, or via a wired USB connection. A Bluetooth HandsFreeLink system offers convenient device pairing and lets the driver make calls using pre-assigned voice tags and steering wheel controls.
Building on the successful packaging of the previous generation, the passenger volume of 94.7 cubic feet increases by 3.7 cubic feet, and gains have also been made in front shoulder room (+2.9 inches).
The 2012 Civic embraces Honda's tradition of making its vehicles fun to drive by continuing to use a fully independent suspension design, a premium and exceptional feature in the entry compact segment. The front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspensions are tuned for sporty driving fun, yet provide refined ride comfort.
For safety, a wide variety of standard equipment includes Honda's exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure for enhanced frontal collision energy management and vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility. ACE enhances frontal collision energy management through a network of load bearing structures in the front of the vehicle. Standard safety equipment includes VSA that integrates with the new Motion-Adaptive EPS system; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front side airbags with occupant position detection system (OPDS); side curtain airbags; and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.
The Civic Natural Gas engine produces almost zero smog-forming emissions and is the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle certified by the EPA (Tier-II, Bin-2 and ILEV certification as of August 2010). It is also recognized by the state of California as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) by meeting SULEV standards and maintaining its emissions durability for at least 150,000 miles or 15 Years. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named the 2011 Civic GX "America's Greenest Vehicle" for the eighth time in its Green Book® ranking of environmentally responsible vehicles.
All Civic Natural Gas models are produced at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) from domestic and globally sourced parts. The 2012 Honda Civic is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile new car limited Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion limited warranty.
1. Nationwide, in states that have sufficient CNG stations within close proximity to authorized Civic Natural Gas dealers.
2. Preliminary mileage estimates determined by Honda. Final EPA mileage estimates not available at the time of printing. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.