Estate cars don’t come much sleeker than Honda’s new Tourer – or much more practical.
It might be based on the popular Civic hatchback but to look at it you would never know and in the beauty stakes the Tourer wins hands down.
With its side windows tapering dramatically from front to back and with heavy tinting on most of those windows, the Tourer certainly stands out in the car park.
You get the same front end as with the popular hatchback with its short rising bonnet but as you move from front to back along the car everything else changes.
In fact the Tourer is a dramatic 235mm (more than nine inches) longer than the hatch and all that space goes into the luggage area making it one of the most practical load luggers in its class.
But as with a lot of things in life it’s not all about size. In the case of the Tourer it’s about very clever design, allowing you to pack more into this estate than much larger vehicles.
As well as the luggage space on top of the cargo floor there’s a very practical area below the floor big enough to easily take 117 litres of luggage or, put more simply, two flight bags. Lower the cargo floor into the deep well and you can load items into the boot which are more than three feet high. The same system applies in the hatchback but the well is much smaller.
In total you can pack in some 1,116 litres of luggage into the boot with the rear seat backs folded flat, helped by the low load lip.
And just like the hatch the Tourer benefits from Honda’s “Magic Seats”, which in effect means the rear seat squabs fold up like cinema seats, allowing you to pack in any large items of furniture or even a mountain bike across the width of the car.
The dashboard has been carried over from the hatchback which features split-level instruments with the digital readout speedometer at the higher level so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
EX-Plus and SR spec Tourers come with an innovative rear adaptive damping system which allows you to alter the setup to suit your requirements, with the choice of dynamic, normal and comfort settings. And if you have a heavy load on board this can be a real bonus.
Power on the test car came from Honda’s much praised 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine which boasts an average fuel consumption of more than 72 miles per gallon. Over the week I had the car I never achieved that figure although with careful driving often managed to achieve the low 60s.
There is an eco button on the dashboard which is designed to give you better fuel consumption but you do notice the lack of urgency in the car
when using it. By leaving it switched off I found I was still getting excellent consumption and much livelier, enjoyable motoring.
The engine is torquey and has got good pulling power although there is some body roll on the car and not as much feeling from the steering as I would have liked.
But as a practical, good looking estate car the new British-built Civic Tourer is definitely a force to be reckoned with in what has become a very competitive market.
Model: Honda Civic Tourer
Mechanical: 1597cc, 120bhp, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox.
Max speed: 121 mph
0-62mph: 10.5 secs
Combined mpg: 72.4
CO2 emissions: 103 g/km
Warranty: Three years/90,000 miles