Its diesel powertrain made it frugal and economical to commute with on a daily basis, while its strong torque means it still has a sporty touch. Throw in beautiful styling and a practical cabin and you quickly understand why we fell in love with it. The Civic nameplate has been around for the better part of 40 years, taking various shapes and forms throughout its lifetime, and Honda SA has now introduced a Tourer to the range. Was it a brave move? Certainly, given South Africa’s feelings towards Estate vehicles, but the Tourer does have something to offer.
For people who are buying an Estate, there are a few crucial points to look out for. Firstly, versatility and practicality are trump cards and this big Honda with its reclining rear seats and 573 litres of boot space (1 065 litres if rear seats are reclined) make it a spacious alternative.
The Japanese even managed to get the styling right, breaking the stereotype that wagons are boxy and boring in the looks depart, as the rear gets some sharpened lines. That said, despite its wrap-around cockpit and dash layout, which is simple yet stylish, the car doesn’t exactly shout flair and excitement.
Granted, it’s a robust piece of machinery that’s made to Japanese standards, so you know it’s reliable and built to near perfection, but it won’t get your heart racing. It does exactly what it’s supposed to, almost like that dedicated worker who comes in on time every morning and is stuck in their daily routine without deviation.
The tried and trusted 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine does duty again with 104kW and 174Nm of torque. It does need a good stomping to get it going and does the 0-100km/h sprint in 9.5 seconds and has a 210km/h top speed.
Having been a big fan of the diesel powertrain, it would’ve been a nice touch to see that engine fitted to the Tourer as it will no doubt suit this type of buyer’s lifestyle. Nonetheless, the Tourer returns a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of just 6.6 litres/100 km.
While it might not be the most athletic vehicle on the road, the large emphasis on safety offers good peace of mind, thanks to its five-star Euro NCAP safety rating as well as the latest-generation stability control and all-disc ABS brakes.
The pedigree of class and usability is great and it will no doubt do the school runs with ease. The only downside is the powertrain that suffers at Joburg’s altitude and its lack of personality. But maybe that’s why the Estate culture never really took off in SA and we much prefer our bigger, more arrogant looking SUVs.