Honda Civic Tourer 2014 review

The Honda Civic Tourer offers class-leading boot space and sub 100g/km emissions

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Honda Civic Tourer has a broad range of talents that make it a fine addition to the range. The diesel engine offers a superb mix of performance and economy, and the adaptive dampers give a very smooth ride. The huge amount of space and flexible storage onboard mean it sets the class standard for practicality too, but it also costs a fair bit more than its rivals.

Honda is a latecomer to the current crop of small estates, but the new Civic Tourer arrives armed and ready for a fight. Despite being the most compact car in its class, the estate version of the Civic offers class-leading boot space, sub-100g/km C02 emissions and sharper styling than the five-door.

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The reason for the delay is that the Civic was never originally intended to be an estate, but with the larger Accord-sized family car market in decline, the brand has seized on the opportunity to attract downsizing buyers who still demand lots of practicality. 

Designed and developed in the UK by Honda’s European team the Tourer has grown 235mm longer than the standard hatch, but has the same wheelbase. A longer roof means rear headroom is much improved too, while the awkward rear spoiler has also been removed so rear visibility is far better than in the hatch.

There are just two engine options, the tried-and-tested 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol with either a manual or auto gearbox, and the efficient 1.6-litre i-DTEC model we are testing here – which is set to make up the vast majority of sales. Stricter CO2 controls mean that the punchy and smooth 2.2-litre diesel has been dropped.

Even so, the smaller diesel motor produces an impressive set of figures. 118bhp and 300Nm of torque mean it easily outmuscles the 1.6 TDI in rivals like the Skoda Octavia and VW Golf estates, and 0-62mph takes just 10.1 seconds. The power band is a tad narrow, but the short-throw six-speed gearbox makes it easy to keep the Civic pulling along, and engine refinement is excellent.

The steering has been tinkered with so there is less slack around the dead ahead, and the added consistency means it feels stable at high speed. Wind noise is an issue though, particularly around the wing mirrors. Four trims are available and all come with kit like DAB radio and alloys wheels as standard, but the top ‘SR’ and ‘EX’ also get a new adaptive damper system (ADS) fitted to the rear axle.

A small button on the dash cycles between three different driving modes, but whichever you choose, the system definitely gives a smoother ride and tighter body control than the standard springs. It grips well too, although the Tourer, like the standard Civic, is focused on comfort rather than driver engagement.

Practicality is seriously impressive though. The boot is a class-best 624 litres with the rear seats in place, and there’s a deep hidden stowage compartment beneath the false floor. The back seats fold flat to increase the loading bay to its 1,668-litre maximum, and the bases also pop-up cinema style for carrying tall items in the back – a feature from the Jazz that is unique to the segment. 

If there is one chink in the Civic’s armour it’s the dated interior. The major touch points feel solid and well built, but the small screens, button-heavy layout and awkwardly high driving position mean it looks dated compared with some new models. The price could also be a sticking point for some buyers. At £22,960 for the mid-range diesel we drove, the Civic Tourer is a massive £3,465 more than the slower and smaller - but equally clean - SEAT Leon ST.

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