An auto review for the average driver ... Each week, The Tribune will feature a different automobile, test driven by me, the average driver. Stop by our office, 18525 West Lake Houston Parkway, if you would like to see the latest car or go for a ride! I couldn’t wait to give the new Civic a test drive. I drive a 2005 Civic 4-door and I have liked it a lot, so I was looking forward to seeing what’s new. The one I got was a 2-door – the EX-L with navigation. The mileage is a big thing for me, so I was glad to see that this one still gets 25 city and 36 highway miles per gallon. Wow! The instrument panel is really different than my Civic. I like it. Directly in front, you know, at steering-wheel level, is the tachometer, all by itself. At eye level is a blue, large, numerical display of your speed, as opposed to a gauge. Smaller and on either side of your speed display are temperature and gas gauges with bars, rather than a needle. One thing I like about Honda is the simplicity of things. That’s still true for the new Civic. With some cars with new technology, I have to read the owner’s manual to figure out how to set radio stations or use simple functions of the navigation system. These were easy with the Civic. I think that the only thing I’ve never liked about my Civic is that there are no cupholders in the back. The new one had two back there – bravo! Now, I will say that the visibility in this coupe was not nearly as good as it is in my 4-door, but I know that I could get used to that. I am anxious to drive a new 4-door for comparison. My son got in and when he saw that the windshield wipers wipe toward each other, instead of back and forth, he suggested I hurry to get this new, “cooler than ours” version. The Civic is available in four styles: the DX, LX, EX and EX-L. There are also the hybrids, as well as the GX, which runs on compressed natural gas and is available in California and New York. MSRPs on base models range from $15,010 (DX) to $19,910 (EX-L). They come with a 140-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine with 5-speed manual or automatic transmission. The EX-L Navi that I drove came standard with a voice recognition navigation system, leather-trimmed seats and wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, stereo with CD and MP3, steering wheel controls for sound and cruise, driver’s seat height adjustment, 60/40 split fold-down back seat, moonroof, heated power mirrors, spoiler and much more, for $23,095, including destination and handling charges. Safety features include driver’s and front passenger’s front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, LATCH child seat restraints and a security system. I enjoyed my time in the new Civic and rate them well for fuel efficiency and dependability – and it doesn’t hurt that their really cute, too. You can test drive the new Civic locally at Sterling McCall Honda in Kingwood, 22575 Highway 59 North.

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