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VIDEO: 2013 Honda Civic CNG, Clean But Gutless

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2013 Honda Civic CNG

It looks like a Honda Civic. It drives like a Honda Civic. It is all things Civic, except for what’s under the hood and inside the trunk. This is the Honda Civic CNG. The CNG stands for what it runs on, compressed natural gas.

Honda performed a few tweaks to the 1.8 liter, four-cylinder engine like special fuel injectors, beefier connecting rods and a stiffer rear suspension for the weight of the tank.

With the mods, you lose 30 horsepower. Zero to 60 with the CNG engine takes close to 11 seconds. It’s slow and it feels like it, especially when you are going up a hill or trying to merge onto the freeway.

And where do you fill up? Well right now the infrastructure is limited. There is a handy app on the navigation screen to help you find a fill station.  There are just 400 CNG stations around the country. Some states don’t have them yet. If you live in California, you are better equipped than the rest of us. With a range of somewhere around 300 miles, you do get a wave of range anxiety when the compressed gas gauge gets below half.

There is another problem. The tank that holds he compressed natural gas cuts trunk space in half. Not cool.

I commend Honda for offering a car that drives well, burns cleaner cheaper fuel and delivers a respectable 27 mpg city, 38 mpg highway. The lack of trunk space, range worries and a gutless engine will probably add up to too many compromises for the average car buyer. The Honda Civic CNG is a work in progress.

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Mike West has been on the air in Seattle for more than 30 years as part of Seattle’s best morning show teams. He also did mornings on KLOS Los Angeles for a little over a year before returning to Seattle. He currently hosts Breakfast With The Beatles every Sunday morning on the CBS Seattle station KZOK, 102.5 FM.

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