The last Civic was available as a three or five door version, but with this latest generation model Honda has added a bit more practicality with this ‘Tourer’ – that's an estate to you and me. Not only is it more usable, but it also has one of the biggest boots in its class.
As you'd expect, not a lot has changed at the front end: You still get the very modern and functional nose and it gets new headlamps, grille and bumpers from the 2015 Civic facelift. From the side it's longer than the hatchback, largely at the back end. It's not what you'd call standout beautiful, but it's not offensive either.
As you would probably expect for a mid-sized family estate, there's a healthy mix of petrol and diesel engines. What you may find surprising, though, is that the 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel is one of the best diesel engines around. In fact, it's far smoother than the 1.6 litre TDI in the Seat Leon ST and Skoda Octavia estate. It's smooth and has plenty of pull, so it's good not only around town but also on the open road too. If you prefer petrol then it's worth considering the 1.8 litre i-VTEC, which may feel slightly underpowered but it does rev freely. Bear in mind, though, that when the boot is full (especially with heavier items) it can feel a little sluggish. The steering is responsive and gives confidence when pushed at pace, and the suspension is stiff enough to eliminate body lean in corners without kids in the back getting thrown around.
Inside, you sit slightly higher than you would normally in a car of this type, but at least you can get a decent driving position. The steering wheel moves both in and out, and up and down, and the seat base is also fully adjustable. The dash layout is separated into two tiers with the speedo and multi-function display in the top part, then the rev counter directly in front of you. The centre console features a large touch screen radio which, in all honesty, looks like an aftermarket special and the functionality is pretty poor. The build quality is an improvement over previous Hondas though, with less harsh plastics on show – although it's still not quite on par with German rivals.
The real reason for choosing an estate is the cabin space and with the Civic Tourer you won't be disappointed. There's ample space in the front and back for driver and passenger, and with the rear seats upright there's 642 litres of boot space, which expands to 1,668 litres when they're folded down.
March 21, 2016