Style and space are delivered in the shape of the new Honda Civic Tourer.
Built alongside its Hatchback stablemate in Swindon it is just 23cms longer but is a purpose-designed estate car package so it offers much more room and it’s easier to fill thanks to the lower loading lip at the back.
The fifth door rises high to reveal a nominal boot of 624 litres, bigger than most hatchbacks to start with, but gradually dropping down the Magic Seats as Honda describe the rear trio, it rises to a remarkable 1688 litres and there is a useful under-floor compartment as well.
Driver and passengers can easily access the car with a good height to the roof and not too severe a sloping line as it nears the rear, but you may have to watch out for the steeply raked front pillars.
Inside the room is very good for five, the seats are really well shaped and comfortable with additional lumbar support and adjustment on the EX-Plus tested and they are leather covered and heated infront.
The driver has a really responsive, smooth and surprisingly quiet 1600cc Earth Dreams diesel under foot with a flexible and economical character, matched to a slick-changing well chosen set of six manual gears.
The fluid nature of the steering displayed a good turning circle and a lot of precision and feedback while the disc brakes would dramatically slow the test car even when heavily laden and on indifferent surfaces.
Ride control is excellent with the optional adaptive damper system. It’s smooth and absorbing but grips well and handles with confidence on twisting roads so you are never left thinking it’s getting away from you.
There is a reversing camera and that’s just as well because the high tail can hide small children or low walls behind but otherwise the low waistline, big front screen, good wipers all round and bright output headlights combine to give excellent visibility.
For a diesel it’s also quick off the mark. It accelerates briskly and effortlessly, has good pulling power for overtaking and it delivers a very composed motorway cruising ability.
I never approached the theoretically perfect-world economy suggested by the sales-brochure figure but without trying it bettered 50mpg in varied conditions and this was about the same as I experienced when first driven a few months earlier.
What was in keeping with the sales brochure was the look of the interior of the test car. It is very stylish, sophisticated and yet functional and generally fuss free with well placed secondary controls, big clear instruments and a comparatively simple to use info-tainment system. Powered windows and a very good climate control system kept the interior fresh and cosy.
Honda has often been considered an older persons’ car, but the style and practicality of the new Civic Tourer embodies what today’s younger families want and it comes at a more affordable price than its European rivals.
|Fast facts: Honda Civic Tourer 1.6 DTEC EX Plus £27,460 (as tested £27,960)|
|Mechanical: 120ps 4cyl turbo-diesel, 6sp manual||Insurance group: 16E|
|Max speed: 121mph||0-62mph: 10.5s|
|Combined mpg: 72.4mpg (54.3mpg on test)||CO2 emissions: 103gkm|
|BIK rating: VED band B 16%||Warranty: 3yrs/ 90,000 miles|