Honda Civic estate revealed
This is the new Honda Civic Tourer – the estate version of Honda's five-door hatchback, and a rival to the Ford Focus, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf estates.
The big news about the Civic Tourer is the space and practicality it offers. Honda has used the same cinema-style rear seats found in the Civic hatchback
and its Jazz
supermini, which allow you to fold up the seat bases so you can carry tall, narrow items that you don't want to have to lie down in the boot (such as an adult's bike). It has also given the Civic Tourer a huge boot with 624-litres capacity even with the rear seats in use. That's even bigger than the class-leader, the Octavia Estate
(which has 610 litres), and will be able to swallow all manner of buggies and family holiday gear.
What's more, the boot opening is wide and square, and at 57cm the boot lip is lower to the ground than those of key rival estates, so there's less of a height to lift heavy items up to from ground level.
There's no lever in the boot to fold the rear seats automatically – you need to pull a handle on the top of the seats from inside the cabin. However, once they're down, the load floor is completely flat and, at 1668 litres, the space available beats most of the competition – except the Octavia Estate
, that is. With the rear seats down the Octavia still has the biggest load capacity in the class, as well the option of a folding front seat (£110) which allows extra-long items to be carried. The Golf Estate
also offers this option, but it doesn't offer as much capacity as the Civic.
The Civic Tourer's rear overhang is 26cm longer than the hatchback's, to accommodate the larger boot. Height and width are identical, though, although the slightly raised roofline means there's more headroom for passengers in the back, although tall adults may still find their heads brush against the ceiling. There's plenty of legroom for rear passengers, however.
A major improvement over the Civic hatchback is the Tourer's rear visibility. In the Tourer, the 'bar' joining the rear lights is considerably lower than on the hatchback, where it cuts the rear window in half, obstructing the driver's view. The Tourer's swooping waistline means all-round visibility is still compromised, however, and young children on booster seats may have trouble seeing over the rear door sills.
Higher-spec versions of the Civic Tourer will be available with an Adaptive Damper System for the rear wheels, which is designed to improve stability and comfort across a variety of load and towing conditions. The system has three settings – Comfort, Normal and Dynamic, where Normal is slightly softer than the conventional dampers that will be fitted on the lower-spec Tourer models. The system continuously monitors driving style and road conditions, and will temporarily firm up the ride if, for example, the car is driven fast through tight corners while in Comfort mode.
The Civic Tourer will come with the choice of a 1.6 diesel engine or a 1.8 petrol, both of which already power the hatchback. The diesel will be manual-only, while the petrol can be specified with either a manual or automatic gearbox. Performance and economy figures will be announced in September but Honda has already confirmed that the diesel won't match the headline-grabbing 78.5mpg and 94g/km CO2 emissions it achieves in the hatchback model.
Trim levels will also match that of the hatchback, so alloy wheels, climate control and a USB socket will be standard. The Civic Tourer will also be available with a two-position luggage net to keep items in the boot from flying forwards. The cabin has been smartened up slightly, with metallic accents around the dials and gloss black trim on the steering wheel in all models.
The Honda Civic Tourer is expected to cost a £900 premium over the hatchback, which means the cheapest model, the 1.8 petrol SE, will cost around £19,250 when the car goes on sale in early 2014.