Honda Civic Estate (2013 - ) review
Read the Honda Civic Tourer (2014 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives
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The Honda Civic Tourer shares the plunging nose and hidden rear door handles which make the hatchback so distinctive, but adds a far longer roofline and near-vertical boot hatch. Stand directly behind the Tourer and its protruding rear lights span the boot, adding to its sense of width. It’s a technical and aerodynamic design, which stands out from the more subtle Volkswagen Golf Estate and Skoda Octavia Estate.
Honda has had daring driver-focussed layouts in previous models, and they felt futuristic, but in this latest model it just seems fiddly. There are lots of buttons dotted around the cabin, including some which are just in front of the gear lever, making them hard to reach. The trip computer takes a while to work out, too, and the sat-nav looks like an aftermarket unit, rather than an integrated part of the design. On the plus side, we like the blue and red instrument graphics and the digital speedometer, which is easy to read at a glance. Chrome vent surrounds and white stitching lift the cabin’s ambience, but the overall material quality falls behind the best in class.
While the Civic Tourer isn’t the longest car in its class, it packs an impressive 624 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place. It can manage this because its fuel tank is located under the front seats of the car rather than the boot, giving it a deep loading space. We also like Honda’s Magic Seat, a rear bench which can be flipped up, creating a wide and tall space behind the front seats. Another neat trick is the roll-up tonneau cover, which can be stowed within the boot when not in use. With the rear seats folded, there’s 1,668 litres of space (up to the roof), which is almost on a par with the roomy Octavia Estate.
Ride and handling
The Civic Tourer has handling which majors on comfort and safety, so if you want a sporting estate you are better off in a SEAT Leon ST or even a Focus ST Estate. For those who simply want to get from A to B as unruffled as possible, there’s much to be said for the Civic. Top SR and EX models benefit from adaptive rear suspension dampers (an option on SE Plus trim), with ‘Normal’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Dynamic’ settings. Comfort allows more body roll and soaks up bumps well, while Dynamic tightens things up, without making it too jarring. It can also take into account the weight of cargo and passengers in the back of the car.
It’s a simple choice of diesel or petrol in the Civic Tourer, with either a 1.6-litre i-DTEC producing 118bhp or Honda’s 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol with 140bhp. The petrol is quicker from rest to 62mph, taking 9.2 seconds versus the 10.1 seconds of the diesel, but the performance gap on the road is less clear. The diesel might have less power, but its 221lb/ft of torque more than makes up for it, offering impressive in-gear acceleration. We’d recommend it to any driver with a medium to high annual mileage, while the petrol is well-suited to shorter blasts and offers the best refinement.
If you drive long distances, the diesel should pay for its price premium fairly quickly. Its top economy of 74.3mpg is far beyond the 45.6mpg the petrol can manage. Similarly, its emissions of 99-103g/km of CO2 are well ahead of the 146-149g/km of the petrol, bringing annual tax savings, particularly for company car drivers. There are more economical rivals, however, with the Leon ST Econetic returning 85.6mpg.
Honda has an excellent reputation for reliability, with few reported problems for the Civic hatchback, on which the Tourer is based. The Civic Tourer is built in the UK’s Swindon plant and should be a safe bet for hassle-free ownership.
The Civic Tourer shares its five-star Euro NCAP crash test score with the near-identical hatchback, including its impressive 94 per cent result for adult occupant protection. An optional safety pack includes blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, automatic main beam headlights, lane departure warning and city braking. Range-topping EX cars can also be fitted with a radar-based collision avoidance and cruise control system.
Four trim levels are available: S, SE Plus, SR and EX. Entry-level S models well-equipped, with 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB digital radio, while SE Plus adds bigger wheels and rear parking sensors. SR and EX get rear adaptive dampers, as well as sat-nav and heated seats, but you’ll need to plump for the top EX trim to enjoy keyless entry and start. There’s an impressive amount of kit available then, but it does come at a price.
The Honda Civic Tourer has a generous and flexible boot and offers passengers a comfortable ride. Honda’s reliability record should attract buyers too, but the Tourer faces stiff competition from a number of models which are often cheaper to buy.