Honda Civic Tourer (2013) at Frankfurt motor show | CAR Magazine

Honda Civic Tourer (2013) at Frankfurt motor show

Published: 11 August 2013 Updated: 26 January 2015

The new Honda Civic Tourer might just be a better looker than its hatchback brother. Binning the split rear window tailgate and forming a ‘floating roofline’ makes for a decent-looking estate – but we expected that after clapping eyes on the concept car.

What we can tell you is the showroom-ready Civic Tourer has the biggest boot in the compact estate class, and employs similar suspension technology to that of a Golf GTI – or an Audi R8. Marketing guff or a load-lugging game-changer? Find out below.

>> Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2013 Frankfurt motor show

What’s so special about the Honda Civic Tourer’s suspension?

Honda’s calling the Civic Tourer’s Adaptive Damper System (ADS) set-up a world-first. Pick the claim apart and you realise it’s the first time a production car has used an adaptive ride set-up on the rear axle only. A half-cocked job? Actually, Honda promises it’s a rather intelligent solution for an estate car.

The Tourer employs regular, standard-cost suspension components up front, and three-mode dampers at the rear, supporting the heavier loads buyers will choose the estate in order to transport.  Drivers can choose between ‘comfort’, ‘normal’ and ‘dynamic’ modes, depending on what you’re hauling (and how quickly). Gimmick or game-changer? We’ll find out when we drive the Civic Tourer later in 2013.

How much stuff can I cram in?

Seats up, there’s 624 litres to use. Flip the split 60:40 rear bench down and there’s 1668 litres to fill – 290 litres more than the five-door hatch. As per the Civic hatchback, all Civic Tourers get Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’ as standard. Magic Seats won’t spellbind the kids into behaving, but their myriad folding arrangements mean cumbersome objects such as mountain bikes fit more easily, and they create a completely flat cargo area floor when stowed. Mounting the car’s fuel tank under the front seats liberates a few more precious litres of space out back. Plus, the Civic Tourer’s loading lip is 137mm lower than the hatchback’s sill, to boot (groan).

What’s under the bonnet?

It’s a simple two-engine range. A 1.6-litre DTEC diesel: the engine block is aluminium, making the 118bhp/221lb ft 1.6 the lightest diesel powerplant in its class. Claimed fuel economy is likely to top 75mpg.

The other powertrain is the 1.8-litre VTEC petrol unit, which develops 140bhp, 128lb ft and officially returns 48.7mpg in hatchback guise. The petrol engine is mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox; all Civic Tourers are front-wheel drive. To read CAR’s Honda Civic 1.8 VTEC long-termer verdict, click here.

How much will the Civic Tourer cost?

Honda’s staying tight-lipped on prices until the Tourer’s Frankfurt motor show debut in September 2013. Nevertheless, a spokesman hinted at competitive prices with the key rivals – i.e. the new VW Golf Estate. The £18-25k Golf and related Seat Leon ST wagons both offer less space and arguably look less striking than the Honda, but will that woo buyers away from the mighty VW Group? Tell us your verdict by clicking ‘Add your comment’ below.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish