Honda Civic Tourer: Test Drive Review
20 December 2013
Author: Jack Carfrae
Honda has begun to reestablish itself in the fleet market following something of a fallow period.
Supply shortages, among other setbacks, meant it lacked a lower medium diesel model for a while, but it came back with a bang with the current Civic in 2012.
Honda strengthened things further with the clean 94g/km, 120hp 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine (which has now replaced the initial 2.2-litre unit in the Civic) at the beginning of 2013, and then added the same unit to the CR-V SUV, rendering it the joint cleanest in its class alongside the Mazda CX-5 at 119g/km.
The firm's next move is the Civic Tourer (estate) with an enormous 624-litre boot - 1668 litres with the seats folded flat - and the same 1.6-litre diesel engine generating 99g/km and an official 74.3mpg in its lowest-emitting guise.
The Tourer is exactly the same as the hatch at the front, but beyond the B-pillars it's all change. There's more headroom in the back (although legroom remains the same and back passengers will have a job to fit their feet beneath the front seats) and an additional 235mm has been added to the rear. A 177-litre compartment below the boot (which is part of the total 624/1668-litre capacity) can handle a lot of extra luggage.
Another welcome change is the absence of the hatchback's horizontal pillar, which is renowned for causing poor rear visibility.
Also new for the Tourer is what Honda describes as a "world first" adaptive damper system. Standard on upper-end SR and EX Plus models, it adjusts the rear suspension to better cope with rough or smooth surfaces and reacts to how the car is being driven. The driver can also toggle between normal, comfort and dynamic settings.
A suite of safety kit is also available as a £780 option on SE trim and upwards. There's too much to list here, but there are seven systems in total, such as blind spot monitors, lane-departure warnings and an autonomous braking system.
The estate is much like its hatchback equivalent to drive: the diesel engine struggles a little at low revs but is punchy enough further up and refined. The mirrors and A-pillars suffer from wind noise at speed, but it's otherwise refined and very comfortable.
BusinessCar tested the top-spec EX Plus model, which, at 103g/km, loses a little in the way of emissions to the cleanest 99g/km version due to its larger wheels. It's well kitted out, but at £27,460 it does look expensive.
Frugal as it is, the Civic is bested by fellow compact estates such as the hybrid Toyota Auris Touring Sports with official figures of 85g/km and 76.3mpg, while the Seat Leon ST Ecomotive manages 87g/km and 85.6mpg, but they're at a different price point to the top-spec Tourer tested here (see 'Rivals' below for closer competitors).
Even so, the Honda's running costs are still low enough to make a compelling business case, while its huge boot and healthy equipment levels add to the appeal.
|Honda Civic Tourer EX Plus
|Model price range
|BIK 20/40% per month
||group 16 (est)