Civic Tourer sees Honda blast off in space race
17:38 21 February 2014
Honda is right on track with its hugely versatile new Civic Tourer, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
Honda Civic Tourer
CIVIC TOURER 1.6 i-DTEC
Engine: 1,597cc, 120PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 10.1 seconds; top speed 121mph
MPG: S model, urban 67.3; extra urban 78.5; combined 74.3
CO2 emissions: S, 99g/km
CIVIC TOURER 1.8 i-VTEC
Engine: 1,798cc, 142PS, four-cylinder petrol
Performance: 0-62mph 9.2 seconds; top speed 130mph
MPG: S model, urban 36.7; extra urban 53.3; combined 45.6
CO2 emissions: S, 146g/km
Price: £20,265 to £27,460
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? Length 4,535mm; width (including door mirrors) 2,065mm; height 1,480mm
Hurtling flat out round Rockingham race track with a three-times British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal in the Honda Yuasa team’s race car is an exciting, if rather odd, way to launch a new road car but not when they are the same model.
The Corby race circuit hosted the launch of the new Honda Civic Tourer, the range’s first estate for many generations, which Neal and fellow BTCC champion Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden will race this year.
Motorsport is vital to Honda’s image, both two and four wheels, and it backs up Honda’s efforts to make the Civic Tourer more exciting estate than humble holdall.
The British-built Tourer, another product of Honda’s Swindon plant, is aimed at young growing families and empty-nesters down-sizing, targeting the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Honda, a relatively small player in the UK, is hopeful of a 10% share of the UK’s C-sector estate market – that’s 3,800 cars a year with a bias for diesel and private retail sales.
The Tourer shares the front end of the Civic hatchback but is new from the B-pillars back – Honda wanted it to be a pretty car and has achieved it. But the real vote-winner is the vast boot and load capacity given that this is a compact estate car– a sector expected to see sales grow, hence why Honda wants a part of it.
It’s only 235mm longer than the hatchback – all rear overhang – but the result is a deep, class-leading boot. In total it offers 624 litres of space with the 60/40 rear seats backs up – 117 litres of it an underfloor compartment big enough to take two flight cabin cases – that puts some bigger estates to shame with an ultra-low 565mm sill. Forget the figures and let’s put that vast volume into context – four golf bags or two large, two medium and two cabin cases with the rear seats and tonneau cover in place or two mountain bikes with the front wheels removed with the back seats flat to give a 1,668 litres and a fully flat floor. Practicality is boosted by Honda’s cinema-style Magic Seat system which allows rear cushions to flip upright so tall items can be stowed behind the front seats. The tonneau cover has a storage space under the load floor while loop-free carpet for the boot floor has been designed to make it easier to clean – a brilliant idea if you plan to carry dogs, boot, bikes... or children!
Passengers are well catered for with lots leg and headroom and the stylish cabin has a quality feel.
The Tourer has world-first rear adaptive dampers on the top SR and EX Plus models with normal, comfort and dynamic settings to enhance stability and comfort under various load and driving conditions. I and many other journalists did not notice a big difference but the cars were load-free. That said, the Tourer handles competently although the ride is firm even in comfort setting accompanied by tyre noise.
The 120PS 1.6-litre diesel has strong mid-range punch, excellent economy and CO2 as low as 99g/km. The 142PS 1.8-litre petrol is refined but needs to be worked hard to feel lively for overtaking but it does offer the option of an automatic gearbox.
Available in S, SE Plus. SR and EX Plus, two safety packs are optional. From SE Plus upwards, £780 buys an automatic low-speed city braking, forward collision warning, automatic high-beam, lane departure and blind spot warning, traffic sign recognition and a cross traffic monitor to alert the driver to approaching traffic when coming out of a parking space. For anotherl £2,500 EX models can have automatic cruise control and collision mitigation braking.
In a sector set to get bigger because people want more compact cars, Honda’s handsome Civic Tourer holdall is also on the right track to be a winner.