What is it?
The Honda Civic in estate form, refashioned from the B-pillar backwards to pack the maximum luggage and, it has to be said, to appear a little more handsome than the rather awkward-looking hatch.
The car has been engineered in Europe (Germany and the UK, largely), a first for Honda, and with it comes a range of technology upgrades that will also appear on the hatchback. These include a driver-assistance safety pack, featuring a city-brake system, forward collision warning, automatic headlamp high beam, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning and a monitor that warns of passing traffic when you’re reversing. It costs £780 – good value – and is available on all versions bar the entry-point S.
Honda has also improved the appearance of the Civic’s dash – an area of criticism on the hatchback – with the application of some matt-black finishes, aluminium surrounds for the airvents and double stitching for the gearlever gaiter and driver’s knee pad. Subtle stuff, but an improvement nonetheless.
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.