We have been recommending estate cars, or station wagons, for years now. They just have so much to offer those looking for space, versatility and often great design without having to resort to an SUV. Some of them look like extended versions of their hatchback siblings, some look a bit bland as they take slab-sided design and make it even more obvious, but generally the designers get it right with the station wagon versions.
Honda is a great example. The Tourer version of the last generation Accord was brilliant, as was the generation before. The Civic Tourer is a totally different animal, or should I say spaceship? Just look at the styling. When the Civic was first launched, the design and marketing people spoke about the rocket ship inspired door handles, the futuristic design and the interior that was quickly referred to as the bridge of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek.
We could see all that and we loved it, but then along came the Tourer version that took intergalactic design to another level. With all that in mind, there is no doubt that the design will be of a love it or hate it nature. Those looking for something conservative need not apply. The rear in particular has a unique design that has received much thought and attention. Strangely, I think more thought goes into the rear of station wagons sometimes than sedans or hatchbacks.
The futuristic design continues inside where you get a dashboard with a wide dash-top mounted information screen which combines with more regular circular dials. The effect is emphasised further when things glow green to tell you you are driving in an economical fashion, to blue for average and full-on red when you have the pedal to the metal and think you are Captain Kirk at warp speed.
It is regular Civic though, so mainly it is all about that extra space at the back. Open the boot and you are faced with 573l of space which expands to 1,065l if you fold the seats down. Even the boot space has been well thought through. Some cars have little hooks to hang shopping bags on so your vegetables don’t get bruised when they get thrown around in the boot, but the Tourer has these and a set of dividers.
The laptop bag fitted neatly into one, the camera bag in another and there was still a section for groceries on the way home. This all covered less than half the boot space, with a huge section with a rubberised mat allowing space for things such as golf bags and prams. So it checks both the styling and the versatility boxes. It also ticks the ride comfort box because the leather seats proved extremely comfortable and the driving position was great. There is no faulting Honda quality and refinement, particularly when it comes to the engine, and the 1.8 petrol motor also scores well.
The whole package offered some grin-inducing driving dynamics without anything being thrown around in the boot. The Civic Tourer is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like to stand out from the crowd and also need interior space, versatility and a pretty decent driver’s car then the Tourer is available from a starship dealer near you.
Engine: 1,798cc petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Power: 104kW at 6,500r/min
Torque: 174Nm at 4,300r/min
0-100km/h: 9.5 seconds
Top Speed: 210km/h