Honda Civic Tourer 1.8 i-VTEC 2014 review

Honda Civic Tourer
3 Dec, 2013 11:30am Paul Bond

The Honda Civic Tourer diesel is an impressive car, but can the petrol-powered model compare?


We can see the appeal of the picking the petrol Honda Civic Tourer, it’s more responsive and hushed than the diesel in town, just as spacious and cheaper too. However, it also feels less able to cope with the all-round requirements of being a family holdall, and because it needs to be driven hard, fuel economy suffers. Until Honda can launch a more efficient petrol alternative, the diesel is definitely the pick of the range for prospective buyers.

The Honda Civic Tourer, featured in a recent review of ours, was found it to be one of the best cars the brand make, but how does the petrol-powered model compare?

Honda is playing down the petrol Civic Tourer's chances in the UK – where it expects just one in every five cars sold to use the familiar 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine from the five-door hatch. Still, in entry-level ‘S’ trim the petrol Civic Tourer is £1,110 cheaper than its diesel counterpart. It’s also close to a second quicker at covering the 0-62mph dash (in a respectable 9.1 seconds) and has a higher overall top speed as well.

Honda Civic Tourer review

It shares the same class-leading 624-litre boot too, and although that figure includes a hidden stowage space under the false floor, the loading bay and seats are impressively versatile, and rearranging the boot can be done one-handed.

In town the petrol engine is nicely refined too, however the lack of turbocharging means it has to be worked quite hard to make progress. The lack of in-gear grunt is particularly noticeable on the motorway, and you’ll often find yourself grabbing for a lower gear in the tightly-spaced six-speed manual 'box.

A traditional five-speed torque converter automatic is also available, but it blunts the performance and pushes up CO2 emissions to 153g/km. By contrast, VW group rivals that use the seven-speed DSG gearbox produce as little as 116g/km.

Honda Civic hatch review

Choosing the ‘S’ trim does also mean you get less standard equipment, but the interior is well finished, and basics like Bluetooth, DAB, alloys and air-con are all covered. However ‘S’ models have to do without the clever new ADS damping system – it’s not even available as an option.

Even so, the standard setup is firm but controlled, giving a comfortable ride on all but the smoothest surfaces.

So overall, opting for the 1.8-litre petrol version of the Civic Tourer over the diesel means you'll pay higher tax bills, but it’s faster off the line, and cheaper to buy in the first place. However, with nearly half the torque of the diesel, the V-TEC powered Civic struggles with steep hills, so it might not cope with hauling around heavy loads.

Disqus - noscript

I'd buy this over the diesel, because the Honda 1.8 iVTEC is absolutely bombproof, as is the 5-spd automatic box. Both have been doing sterling service worldwide for over 10 years.

Whereas the diesel costs more, has a DPF, a DMF, a turbocharger, an EGR valve and other complexities, meaning the risk of a big bill between 3-6 years old.

Yes, but why do auto journalists keep trying to push these diesel time bombs on everyone. Fuel consumption is only part of a cars running costs, when will they stop lying to the car buying public? No body, I mean no-one I know who bought a diesel, ever bought another one, they all went back to petrol and cursed the day they let themselves be convinced to do such a stupid thing. Diesel is for BIC calculating CC user choosers, not the private buyer.

When a car magazine dishes out 3 stars on a Honda Civic and 4 on a poorly executed Seat Toledo then I guess it would be wiser for us to base our judgement on our own experience (test-drive) of the two or look elsewhere for a more balanced view.

Key specs

  • Car tested: Honda Civic Tourer 1.8 i-VTEC S
  • Price: £20,265
  • Engine: 1.8-litre 4cyl petrol
  • Power: 138bhp
  • Torque: 174Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
  • Economy: 45.6mpg
  • CO2: 146g/km
  • Equipment: 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth, DAB radio, USB connectivity.
  • On sale: Now

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