Honda’s new Civic Tourer will go on sale in early 2014 after its public debut at today's Frankfurt motor show.

The new model was developed in Europe specifically for the EU market and has retuned chassis settings and the unusual option of automatic adaptive dampers on the rear axle.

Despite the car’s sporty, low-roofed appearance, Honda says that the Tourer has the best seats-up luggage capacity in its class: an impressive 624 litres with the tonneau cover in place. 

The Honda also has the significant advantage of a completely flat and notably low load floor. That’s thanks to the Civic’s unusual floorpan design, which sites the fuel tank under the front seats, freeing up space beneath the rear seats. The extra room, combined with the compact torsion beam axle, makes the car’s rear floorpan much lower than in rival cars. 

Like the Jazz supermini, the Civic’s ‘magic’ rear seats — which have a 60:40 split — have folding and pivoting squabs, which can be raised with seat backs upright, allowing tall objects to be carried upright in the rear. The squabs can drop into the rear passenger footwell, allowing the backs to fold low and flat.

However, one thing that the Tourer doesn’t share with the Jazz is a fold-forward front passenger seat. The upshot is that its maximum loadbay length is just under 1.8m.

Although the Tourer shares its wheelbase and height with the five-door Civic hatch, Honda has extended the rear floorpan to give the Tourer a 1040mm overhang, 235mm longer than the hatch’s. 

The loading lip has also been dropped on the Tourer by a significant 137mm, something designed to appeal as much to dog owners as load carriers.

Prices are expected to be £800-£1000 higher than the equivalent Civic hatch. So the entry-level Tourer will be a 140bhp 1.8 i-VTEC petrol costing about £19,200. A 118bhp 1.6 i-DTEC diesel is the other engine option. The Tourer is expected to account for one in every four Civic sales. 

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