The Tourer itself is impressive on a number of counts, not least thanks to its vast seats-down load bay, whose 1668 litres also includes a sizeable under-floor well occupying the space where you might have found a spare wheel. The floor itself is flat and low, in part because the Civic’s fuel tank is cleverly housed under the front seats.
This allows the cushions of the back-bench to hinge upwards and clip to the backrest, providing a particularly tall and useful load zone. Honda calls them magic seats, and it’s a surprise that no other maker has copied them. The under-floor well stores two regulation carry-on airline cases, and includes dedicated storage for the tonneau cover and the two-position cargo net, and a shopping back hook that locks into position. The carpets are easy-clean, too.
An intriguing Tourer feature is a set of switchable adaptive dampers for the rear axle, standard on the top two trims, a £550 option on the lower two.
What's it like?
Much like the Civic hatch, as you’d expect. The Tourer handles tidily, its steering is precise but short on feel and the 1.6-litre diesel engine is civilised and decently torquey, if not quite the smoothest oil-burner out there.
Noise suppression is impressive though, the cruising boom that spoils some estate cars soothingly absent, and the car feels stable at speed, Honda having closely matched front and rear lift. Its aerodynamicists need to fix the side-window water-eddies that distort your side mirror view, though.
And the adaptive dampers? You can switch between comfort, normal and sports, a change that’s just about discernable if you concentrate. But this party trick is likely to be of marginal advantage to most Tourer buyers, for whom self-levelling would be a greater benefit.
It’s also a shame that the back seat’s cushion is too flat, with luggage space clearly prioritised ahead of rear seat passengers. Poor thigh support is the penalty, although headroom improves a little over the hatch.
Should I buy one?
If you need space above all else, and your rear seat passengers are either absent or small, this Civic is worth a thought. Its loadspace is among the class best, and is particularly versatile thanks to those 'magic' seats and the well-thought-out detailing throughout. The diesel’s emissions are low (99g/km for the S, 104g/km for the SR) and this engine is also developing a fine real-world reputation for economy.
Honda has also developed competitive PCP finance prices for the car, and a five-year aftercare package for a keen £500. The Civic’s cabin still looks a little disjointed and rear seat comfort is definitely a minus, but this wagon is certainly a contender.
Honda Civic Tourer 1.6 i-DTEC SR
Price £25,560; 0-62mph 10.1sec; Top speed 121mph; Economy 72.4mpg (combined); CO2 103g/km; Kerb weight 1337-1430kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1597cc, turbodiesel; Power 118bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual