Station Wagon with Style
March 3, 2014
Honda has proved that functionality can be combined with ambitious avant-garde styling. The new slightly futuristic Civic Tourer station wagon offers the most user-friendly and spacious interior among compact station wagons out there.
It’s hard to believe that the Honda Civic has been around for over 40 years. The popular compact has already spawned nine generations. The current one went on sale in 2012 as a five-door hatchback and a sleek four-door sedan, while the Tourer station wagon version was unveiled during the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany in the autumn of last year.
The Civic Tourer is 4,535 mm long, 4,535 mm wide, and just 1,480 mm in height. However, the interior is exceptionally spacious. The two-level dashboard is the same as in the hatchback version—slightly futuristic, and ergonomically laid out. There is plenty of legroom and headroom for those in the front seats, and rear-seat passengers cannot complain about a lack of space, either.
The most important thing about station wagons, luggage space, deserves a few words. The trunk has a capacity of 624 liters, which is currently the best in its class. This massive capacity is thanks to a well thought-out trunk layout. By placing the fuel tank under the front seats and using folding Magic Seats, the luggage compartment is not only extensive, but also functional. The seats (asymmetrically split 60/40) form a perfectly flat floor when folded down and the volume increases to a respectable 1,668 liters. The edge of the trunk in the Civic Tourer is just 428 mm high, thanks to which loading is easy—a detail that turns out very useful in everyday use.
A choice of two engines is available: a 1.8-liter/142 hp gasoline unit and a 1.6-liter/120 hp Common Rail diesel that comes with the ECON and Start/Stop driving economy systems as a standard feature.
The test-drive diesel did a good job powering the 1,430 kg car. A maximum torque of 300 Nm available at just 2,000 rpm ensures decent acceleration. While the reading of just under 11 seconds from standstill to 100 kph is not exactly breathtaking, it is comparable to the kind of acceleration offered by the Honda’s rivals in its class. But the Honda’s engine is ahead of the competition with the way it runs and its driving economy. During the test drive, fuel consumption averaged at 4.4l./100 km in actual road conditions, which was an excellent result.
The front-wheel drive features a precise six-speed manual transmission. The suspension and the steering system are up to scratch. Thanks to its low center of gravity, the car is stable and predictable on the road.
Drawbacks? For some, the Honda may seem too avant-garde when it comes to the style of the exterior and interior. Tall drivers may also have a hard time trying to find the right position behind the wheel—so as to clearly see all the gauges and switches. Visibility to the rear is not the best either. And not everyone will appreciate the trunk enlarged at the expense of a spare wheel. Perhaps there are also other disadvantages, but the pluses outweigh those.
In Poland, the Civic Tourer is just about to hit the showrooms, where it will have to deal with rivals such as the Hyundai i30 Wagon, KIA Cee’d SW, Toyota Auris Touring Sports, Opel Astra Sports Tourer, Seat Leon Sport Tourer, Volkswagen Golf Variant, and Renault Megane Grandtour. Will the Honda emerge victorious from this battle? Time will tell.