Another day, another new estate based on a C-segment hatchback enters into the arena of EngageSportMode. This time it’s the Honda Civic Tourer, set to be built in Britain and on sale in 2014 following its official unveiling next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Style is, of course, naturally subjective but the new Civic Tourer certainly looks sharp-edged and modern with its angular front end and swooping wheel arches. The use of the regular hatchback’s hidden rear door handle is an interesting inclusion; from certain angles it could be accused of almost making the Tourer appear van-esque. Perhaps it’ll be best to avoid black paint and heavily tinted rear windows on the options list.
The rear end is even more dramatic, as the wheel arches emerge into a quite substantial box-like shape. This undoubtedly helps limit wheel intrusion into the boot to maximise load space, with the added benefit of making the Tourer appear look a little like a contemporary WRC car. From the rear the exaggerated pitch of the roofline becomes more apparent, although seemingly not at the expense of volume inside.
Compared to the recently featured SEAT Leon ST, the Civic Tourer raises the boot space stakes with 624 litres of space with the seats up, extending to 1668 litres with them folded flat. That’s an awful lot of space for all your lifestyle paraphernalia that you need an estate car to deal with. In order to help you fit all that junk in the trunk, Honda has mounted the fuel tank underneath the front seats, freeing up space at the back for underfloor storage. The loading lip has also dropped by 137 mm, making it easier for dogs to leap in and out of.
Curiously, Honda has also decided to offer the option of Adapative Damper System for the rear suspension. This allows the driver to select between ‘Dynamic’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Comfort’ modes depending on just how much you want to make your canine companions vomit. No word from Honda on whether the boot fabrics are water-repellent.
At present the only two engine options mentioned are the 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel or 1.8 litre i-VTEC petrol. The diesel packs a substantial 258 lb-ft of torque, combined with 118 bhp, with the petrol producing 140 bhp but only 128 lb-ft. Neither motors are likely to break land speed records; expect 0-60 mph times in the 10 second ballpark. EngageSportMode would be inclined to wait for the, inevitable, introduction of the 2.2 litre diesel engine with its 147 bhp to help shove the Tourer along.
None of those engine options, however, will be able to hold a candle to the last hot Civic estate we saw in the UK – the Aerodeck VTi version of the sixth generation car from the late nineties. The 1.8 litre B18C4 offered up 169 bhp at a head-spinning 7,600 rpm and came fitted as standard with a Torsen Limited Slip Differential. Performance was impressive, with 0-60 mph in 8 seconds, and the ability to thrash your way on to 133 mph flat-out. Just don’t expect to cram as much stuff in the back – 800 litres is all you’re getting if you pick the option from the last millennium.
With the emergence of the new NSX model, hopefully we’ll see the return to the hot Honda models of old. Ford sees fit to offer an estate version of the Focus ST – so if Honda decides to reintroduce the Type-R, EngageSportMode has its fingers crossed for a Tourer model.