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New Honda Civic Tourer

By raccars Published

Honda has been splashing the goodies on its new Civic Tourer ahead of a Frankfurt debut, releasing official images and specification details. The Japanese brand is campaigning the new estate on its boot size which, at 624, pours cold water over many of its competitors' best efforts.

That figure increases to a Tardis-like 1,668 litres with the rear seats folded down. The Tourer's fundamentals match the Civic hatchback's – the height, width and wheelbase length are all the same, as is the design at the front end. However the Tourer gains a useful 235mm at the rear.

If you're being picky you could fault the high swinging tailgate, which will inevitably take some punishment in low ceilinged multistoreys, while the lack of electronics to operate it is a curious omission. According to Honda, engineering an electrically powered tailgate would be inconveniently expensive.

Still, there's plenty to praise here. The wide boot aperture allows easy access, with a helpful lower load lip versus the hatchback version. The boot features the double layer storage becoming popular in cars of this class, with a compartment for storing the parcel shelf while not in use and a 120 litre luggage space under the floor. Practical touches include an electric socket and the option of a luggage net. The Magic Seats system familiar to Honda owners allows the rear seat pads to be flipped up to free up floor space for a bicycle or wheelchair.

The exterior is characterised by aluminium roof rails and a full width light bar to the rear and a single rear windscreen for improved rear visibility on the hatchbacks.

Handling has benefited from some attention, with tweaks to the hatchback's suspension set up plus new settings for the dampers and springs lending a more dynamic feel on the road. Steering software updates should also make for a sharper response. An optional extra is ADS, a unique adaptive damping system directed solely at the rear axle and allowing the driver to switch between Normal, Comfort and Dynamic driving modes.

The Civic Tourer was brought to life as a collaboration between the company's UK and German R&D centres and, in good news for the British auto manufacturing industry, will be built at Honda's Swindon factory.

The Civic Tourer will be available to order from December, with the first models arriving in February. It will share the same trim specifications as the Civic hatchback. Honda will use the Frankfurt Motor Show launch to confirm prices but has hinted at a comparable price differential to rivals' hatchback/estate combinations, suggesting a £750-ish premium on the cost of a standard Civic.

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