Motoring review – Honda Civic Tourer: A Space Wagon Odyssey

2014-09-12 11:00

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Most sport utility vehicles never see more outdoor action than a school parking lot, so why not consider a station wagon? Or, in this case, a spac ewagon, writes Ané Theron

With its aerodynamic, futuristic design and daytime running lights, the Honda Civic Tourer draws a lot of attention, even more than the luxury sedans I’ve been driving recently.

With its extended roofline and rounded edges, it takes design to a whole new level. And once you step inside the cockpit, it has that unmistakable Honda quality.

Hondas do have a bit of a reputation as being cars for seniors, and judging by the size of the buttons and dials, I can understand why a more mature person might feel at home in this user-friendly car.

The standard leather seats are quite low and wonderfully supportive, so it almost feels like sitting in a recliner. The driver’s seat is height adjustable to attain the perfect driving position and has adjustable seat warmers for arthritic hips or chilly behinds.

The Bluetooth-enabled audio system allows for music streaming from your smartphone, and has auxiliary and USB connectivity.

In this spacewagon, satellite controls are found on the leather-covered steering wheel. A colour screen in the middle shows all car-related information, including a comprehensive trip computer, and it also displays the image from the standard rear-view camera, which may result in fewer visits to the chiropractor.

I did have an issue with the colour screen and speedometer reflecting against the windscreen at night, but it can be switched off, and the brightness of the speedometer is adjustable.

The 1.8 litre Executive (automatic) model (R374?000) put up a decent performance, but I was aware of its long rear end as I followed the twisties along Clarence Drive in Gordon’s Bay.

It also felt a tad underpowered and a little clumsy at times. The Tourer’s muscular lines, aluminium pedals and stylish low-profile alloy wheels impart a sporty look, but it was the Honda Accord Tourer that was the jock in the wagon department, and it made for a much more spirited performance and handling. Sadly, the Accord Tourer has fallen away.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Civic Tourer was thirstier than I expected. If you don’t drive like a hooligan, it will give you an average of 9-10 litres per 100km (combined), which is not terrible, but not quite the 6.9 litres that Honda claims.

However, there are driver aids in place to reduce fuel consumption, such as Econ mode, which helps to equalise the effects of a heavy right foot.

The Civic Tourer is not just spaceship-like in its design. It also boasts vast amounts of space. It looks quite compact from the outside, but has ample leg, head and elbow room, not to mention its capacious boot. Folding the rear seat down extends the cargo area to a cavernous 1?065 litres, so it can easily transport longer items like surfboards.

The Tourer’s aim is to provide the safest, most comfortable ride possible, and if you’re not a speed demon, the Civic Tourer will serve you well. With six air bags and stability control, the Tourer ticks all the right safety boxes.

The rear windows are fitted with privacy glass so your little darlings don’t get sunburnt on long trips and there are cup holders aplenty throughout the cabin. Standard front and rear parking sensors will alert you if a pedestrian is close to the car, so it’s not just for preventing car park scratches and nicks, but may keep you from running over the family’s Great Dane, or worse.

The Tourer fitted nicely into our family’s lifestyle and if you want reliability, safety, comfort, durability, loads of space and plenty of tech gadgetry, the Honda Civic Tourer is definitely worth considering.

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