The new Honda Civic Tourer is quite possibly one of the brand’s best cars yet – it looks good, it’s spacious, it drives well, and with 74.3mpg and 99g/km CO2, it’s economical. We even tried the BTCC version of the Tourer on the track.
The latest Honda Civic with the new 1.6-litre diesel engine proved to be good to drive and very economical. The new Tourer looks even better and offers more practicality, so is it as good as it sounds?
The Civic Tourer looks much sleeker and overall much better than the hatchback. If it looks longer, that’s because it is – by an extra 235mm. This gives huge boot space of 624 litres – or, with Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’ folded flat, up to 1668 litres.
The rest of the interior is similar to that of the Civic hatchback. This means that it has a very thick-rimmed steering wheel and generally good ergonomics, but one area for improvement is the collection of very fiddly buttons around the satnav screen.
The recently introduced 1.6-litre diesel engine is lighter and more economical than Honda’s 2.2-litre diesel. It’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission, and of course the Civic is front-wheel drive.
We liked the driving experience of the 1.6-litre diesel Civic hatchback, and the Tourer, not surprisingly, has similar driving characteristics. It’s a competent all-rounder, with decent ride, handling and steering.
One difference between the two cars is that the Tourer has a rear Adaptive Damper System. You can change the settings with a switch on the dashboard – if you can find it, as it’s somewhat hidden behind the gear lever – between Comfort, Normal and Dynamic. The car can be a bit bouncy in Comfort and Normal settings when unladen; the Dynamic setting makes the car’s suspension firmer, helping the car to corner with less movement and more confidence.
Perhaps most interestingly, Honda Yuasa Racing has decided to enter a Civic Tourer in this year’s British Touring Cars Championship. The only other estate to race as a Touring Car was a Volvo 850, exactly twenty years ago. Unfortunately the Volvo didn’t enjoy much success, so Honda is hoping for a different outcome this year.
The odds are looking good, due to drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Sheddon being at the wheel. As part of the launch event for the Civic Tourer we were able to sample a few laps of Rockingham from the (temporarily inserted) passenger seat, while Matt Neal undertook pre-season testing of the car – watch the Honda Civic Tourer BTCC in-car video footage.
Perhaps not surprisingly it was raining – heavily – and Matt was taking the Tourer somewhat close to the barriers at the edge of the track on a very wet, long corner at 130mph. This exercise proved that the car’s grip levels are highly impressive, and let’s say that performance and handling also showed promise for a good season…
The good news is that the Tourer is more aerodynamic than the hatch because it’s longer. The bad news is that due to its longer rear overhang it’s not quite as agile, it’s also slightly heavier and has a higher centre of gravity than the hatch. All this adds up to the prospect of a very interesting 2014 BTCC season.
It is possible to buy a Civic Tourer with an official economy figure of 74.3mpg and 99g/km CO2 emissions, but this needs to be the S or the SE Plus version. However if you spec the SE Plus with 17-inch wheels, or go for the SR or EX Plus, you’re looking at a slightly lower 72.4mpg, or emissions of 103g/km CO2.
When we test cars over a week we also test their real-life miles per gallon figure; unfortunately this is not possible on most launch events. However the 1.6-litre diesel Civic hatchback that we recently tested returned an impressive 61.6mpg in real-life driving, so the Tourer should also perform well. It also has a theoretical driving range of 817 miles on one tank of fuel.
Honda’s 1.8 i-VTEC petrol engine, available with both manual and automatic transmission, delivers up to 45.6mpg on the combined cycle and 149 g/km of CO2 emissions.
The Civic Tourer is available with two engines, the 1.8 i-VTEC petrol and the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel. There are also four trim levels: S, SE Plus, SR and EX Plus. You need to go for the SR or EX spec to get the rear Adaptive Damper System (ADS).
The Civic Tourer comes with a range of safety features, plus a new Driver Assistance Safety Pack, which costs £780 in basic form, or a substantial £2,500 to gain collision mitigation and auto cruise control.
Prices of the Tourer start at £20,265 for the entry level 1.8 i-VTEC S model.
The diesel Tourer range starts at £21,375. The SE Plus costs £22,960, with the SR costing £25,560 and the EX Plus £27,460.
The Civic Tourer is built in Britain.
We liked the Honda Civic hatchback, but we like the Civic Tourer even more. The 1.6-litre diesel is a great engine – flexible and economical – and the car is good to drive. However it’s the Tourer’s styling that really sets it apart, it looks sleek and dramatic, and much better than the hatchback. But it’s not just styling over substance, the Tourer has a huge boot – which is even more mammoth with the rear seats folded. Of course Honda has a reputation for great reliability, and we’re sure that the Civic Tourer won’t be any different.
But perhaps the most interesting thing is that Honda is taking the Tourer racing. This should certainly help to raise attention about the new car, and with Matt Neal and Gordon Sheddon at the wheel, there’s a good chance that they’ll get some impressive results.
The Civic Tourer (the road-going version) is awarded a Green-Car-Guide rating of 9 out of 10.