Expert Reviews

First drive: Honda Civic Tourer

Monday 08 August 2016

First drive: Honda Civic Tourer

The Civic Tourer was on the receiving end of a minor facelift towards the beginning of last year. Honda introduced updated headlights and aesthetic tweaks such as a refreshed front bumper and integrated day time running lights. Honda’s Connect infotainment system, which offers DAB radio, satellite navigation and a rear-view parking camera to name but a few features, also makes an appearance for the first time.

New suspension has been introduced with the aim of giving the Civic a more enjoyable driving experience. Honda has also thrown a number of new active safety features at the Civic as well, with the City-Brake Active system now being offered as standard.

Buyers will be able to specify their Civic Tourer with a choice of two engines: a 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel, or a 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol. While the diesel powerplant is around £1,000 more expensive than its petrol stablemate, its far superior fuel economy will more than make up for this.

Looks & Image

If there is one thing you can say about the Civic Tourer, it’s that it is certainly a head-turning car. However, at the same time it is also rather polarising in its looks – you’re either going to love it or you’re going to hate it.

In recent years, Honda’s cars have appealed primarily to elderly buyers, which hasn’t done much to help the want factor of its otherwise capable cars. With the new design language that has been making its way into the Japanese manufacturer’s line-up in the past few years, it seems the brand is trying its best to pander to younger buyers.

Even if this strategy of building cars that look like they may have been styled a bit too much fails and older buyers continue to be Honda’s main demographic, at least there will be a few more eye-catching cars on UK roads.

Space & Practicality

If you’re in the market for a compact estate with a large boot, you’ve come to the right place. The Civic Tourer boasts an impressive 624 litres of space with the back seats up, a figure that increases to 1,668 litres if you fold them down flat.

To give a little perspective, the Toyota Auris only has 530 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place, while a Skoda Octavia offers 610 litres. The Peugeot 306 SW is the only car in this class with more, serving up an impressive 660 litres of storage space in the back.

Rear passengers will find the Civic Tourer offers them plenty of room, too. Head and legroom is abundant, meaning anyone who sits in the back of the car on long journeys won’t find they get too uncomfortable.

Behind the Wheel

The Civic Tourer makes for a pleasantly comfortable cruiser. However, it does lose out in the pure driving excitement stakes, thanks to vague steering that doesn’t provide a great deal of feedback. That said, it copes just fine over bumpier surfaces, even on the larger 17-inch alloys fitted to our test car. A sensible driving position also means you won’t clamber out of the car feeling broken after a long trip, either.

Our test car came equipped with the 1.6-litre diesel engine, which was both smooth and refined at cruising speeds, and quick to pick up the pace when you stomp on the throttle. While you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this is a fast car, you won’t find yourself holding up any motorists behind you at the lights.

Value for Money

At the end of the day, the Civic Tourer isn’t a particularly cheap car to buy. Our top-spec test model has a starting price of £26,200 – which, if we’re honest, does get you a lot of kit as standard – although a diesel Kia Cee’d Sportwagon with a similar level of equipment will only set you back £21,795. Certainly something to think about, then.

While the Civic Tourer may be rather pricey, Hondas are known for holding their value rather well. If anything, this should help to make up for the car’s price tag. If you found yourself set on buying the Civic, we would advise on giving the top-of-the-line model a miss and instead opt for the diesel-powered SR version, as it still comes with generous levels of kit as standard but costs nearly £2,000 less.

Who would buy one ?

Families will likely find the practicality offered by the Civic Tourer an appealing factor when the time to buy comes. With one of the largest boots in its class, storage space shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The comfy rear seats will also mean young children won’t find the car a bad place to sit in on longer trips.

The Civic will also likely appeal to company car buyers as well, thanks to its economical diesel engine. Honda has claimed that the 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine is capable of reaching a fuel consumption figure of 72.7mpg on a combined cycle, as well as CO2 emissions as low as 103g/km.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX Plus

Engine: 1.6-litre diesel producing 118bhp

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Performance: 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds, 121mph top speed

Economy: 72.7mpg combined

Emissions: 103g/km CO2

Price: £26,200

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