Honda Civic Tourer vs compact estate rivals

26 Feb, 2014 10:30am

Stylish new Honda Civic Tourer and SEAT Leon ST compact estates take on our class champion, the Skoda Octavia

Compact family estate buyers have never had it so good. Most small hatches are now also offered in estate form, so there’s a wide variety of practical models available. The latest arrivals have also injected some desirability into this increasingly competitive market.

Honda Civic Tourer review

SEAT Leon ST estate review

Skoda Octavia Estate review

The newest kid on the block is the Honda Civic Tourer. It has the biggest boot in the class, at 624 litres, while its rear seats feature some clever folding tricks. Plus, the Civic’s 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine should strike an ideal balance between performance and efficiency.

Another newcomer is the SEAT Leon ST. It’s the first time this model has been offered as an estate, and a large boot only adds to the stylish desirability of the hatchback, which was crowned Auto Express Car of the Year 2013.

We’ll put these new cars against our class benchmark: the Skoda Octavia Estate. We try 1.6-litre diesel versions of each, and we’ll pay extra attention to their luggage areas to see which model has the practical advantage.

Head-to-head

Boot space

The Honda has the biggest boot, at 624 litres, and features a 12V socket, underfloor storage, lashing eyes and a roll-back load cover. You also get underfloor storage in the SEAT, plus a 12V socket and two bag hooks, while the Skoda has four hooks and a power socket, but no hidden compartment. The Leon and Octavia both have seatback releases in the boot, and their load covers are easier to use.

Honda Civic Tourer vs compact estate rivals 3

Rear seats

Narrower back doors and angled door pillars mean the Honda’s rear seats are harder to access. Once you’re in, there’s less legroom than in either rival, and it feels more cramped, too. The Skoda and SEAT are more spacious, while their back seat passengers benefit from standard air-con vents.

Running costs

All three models have stop-start, and the systems were happy to cut the engine’s power with the car at a standstill for more than 30 seconds. The Octavia was most economical, just edging the Civic, with the Leon a bit further behind.

Verdict

1st place: SEAT Leon ST

SEAT Leon ST

A WIN first time out for the Leon ST. It doesn’t boast the biggest boot here, but it does have thoughtful touches and enough space for most people. Add decent comfort, a very entertaining driving experience and good value, and it’s hard to beat.

2nd place: Skoda Octavia Estate

Skoda Octavia Estate

The Octavia is still a sound choice if you want a no-frills estate car that will take everything you throw at it. But it’s only slighter larger than the SEAT, isn’t as stylish or affordable, and lacks some of the Leon’s versatile touches in the boot.

3rd place: Honda Civic Tourer

Honda Civic Tourer

If you just want a big boot, then choose the Civic Tourer. But it has smaller back seats and not as many useful touches as its rivals, plus it’s pricier and not quite as well equipped. While the engine is great, the rest of the driving experience isn’t.

SEAT Leon ST 1.6 TDI 105 SE Skoda Octavia Estate 1.6 TDI 105 SE Honda Civic Tourer 1.6 i-DTEC S
On-the-road price/total as tested £19,495/£23,365 £20,365/£23,110 £21,375/£23,845
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) £8,773/45% £9,103/44.7% N/A
Depreciation £10,722 £11,262 N/A
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £544/£1,089 £569/£1,137 £597/£1,194
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £1,794/£2,989 £1,655/£2,758 £1,692/£2,820
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 15/£356/A/£0 13/£378/A/£0 15/£366/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £169/£199/£169 £529 (3yrs/30k) £995 (5yrs/62,500)
Length/wheelbase 4,535/2,636mm 4,659/2,686mm 4,535/2,595mm
Height/width 1,454/1,816mm 1,465/1,814mm 1,480/1,770mm
Engine 4cyl in-line/1,598cc 4cyl in-line/1,598cc 4cyl in-line/1,597cc
Peak power 104/3,000 bhp/rpm 104/3,000 bhp/rpm 118/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 250/1,500 Nm/rpm 250/1,500 Nm/rpm 300/2,000 Nm/rpm
Transmission 5-spd man/fwd 5-spd man/fwd 6-spd manual/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 50 litres/£95 50 litres/£75 50 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 587/1,470 litres 610/1,740 litres 624/1,668 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,331/529/1,500kg 1,247/645/1,500kg 1,337/460/1,400kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient 10.2 metres/N/A 10.4 metres/0.30Cd 11.2 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (60,000)/2yrs 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (90,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers 10k miles (1yr)/128 Variable/135 Variable/223
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 27th/31st 2nd/7th 6th/4th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars 94/92/70/5 93/86/66/5 94/83/69/5
0-60/30-70mph 11.8/12.2 secs (wet) 10.8/10.8 secs 11.5/11.7 secs (wet)
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 4.9/9.1 secs 5.2/9.3 secs 4.8/7.6 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 12.8 secs/N/A 10.7 secs/N/A 10.3/14.3 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 119mph/2,100rpm 119mph/2,100rpm 121mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 59.6/43.8/11.0m (wet) 48.1/35.2/8.8m 56.3/40.7/10.6m (wet)
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 70/47/63/66dB 70/46/64/69dB 70/49/63/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 41.7/9.2/459 miles 45.2/9.9/497 miles 44.2/9.8/486 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 61.4/85.6/74.3mpg 61.4/85.6/74.3mpg 67.3/78.5/74.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 13.5/18.8/16.3mpl 13.5/18.8/16.3mpl 14.8/17.3/16.3mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 182/99g/km/14% 167/99g/km/14% 171/99g/km/14%
Airbags/Isofix/rear park sensors/cam Seven/yes/£265/no Seven/yes/yes/no Six/yes/£535/£695
Automatic box/stability/cruise control £1,250/yes/yes £1,250/yes/£180 No/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seats £350/£1,370/£350 Yes/no/£200 Yes/no/no
Met paint/xenons/fold front pass seat £495/£995^/£75 £525/£1,190/£110 £500/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth £745/yes/£175/yes £550/yes/yes/yes £545/yes/yes/yes

Disqus - noscript

Somehow I knew this would be the outcome of this "test"...It's the old trick of overemphasizing and undervaluing to enforce the preferred order...

Well done!

After driving all three of these, it's my order too, so I'm not so sure about the over-under preferred idea.

A predictable A.E result. Personally, if I was spending my own money the Civic would be my choice, but if my company was paying I could be tempted by the Seat.

Of course you've driven them all...;-) So the Civic gets no extra points for the superior engine, the refined ride with the adaptive dampers, the smooth gearbox, running cost and so on? Just penalties for the extremely important seatback release in the passenger compartment and a couple of hooks? Come on...

You have overlooked the porr reliabilty of SEAT according to the latest JD powers survey.The sensible result should be 1. Skoda 2 Honda 3 SEAT

I always play a game before opening the link to AutoExpress group car tests and try to predict the outcome... Once again, I've scored maximum points.

Re the civic... "it’s pricier and not quite as well equipped".

Mmmm, funny that never gets a BMW 3 series marked down when up against a non-german car

:-)

Obviously... AE should not bothered with the Civic and included another VAG product... Keep the paymasters happy ;)

That would be my order too. I am not sure if there is even a place to SEAT in the UK market any more. Seem to have peaked around 2000 and now slipping away to obscurity.

Maybe because they are amongst the best in class.

My favourite Compact Estate is the Skoda Octavia vRS

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