After showing off the Honda Civic Tourer to the masses at the 2011 Johannesburg Motor Show and receiving a warm reception, Honda South Africa has brought the vehicle to market. Cars.co.za was one of the first outlets in South Africa to evaluate this interesting estate.
I've always been a fan of Hondas. The Japanese have always made solid and reliable products, and despite pressures from Kia and Hyundai, have kept up with the times and created interesting and desirable cars. The Honda Civic Tourer arrived in South Africa very quietly and Honda has admitted that this is a very niche model and it's not expected to sell in huge numbers.
Disappointing powertrain choiceI'll start with the car's only negative - its powertrain. I find it disappointing that South African-spec Civic Tourers are only fitted with a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated four cylinder with a choice of either a manual or an automatic transmission. After being blown away by the mechanical marvel and efficiency of the 1.6-litre diesel in the Honda Civic hatchback in 2013, I was expecting to see it in Tourer application too. What a shame.
Power and torque figures are rated at 104 kW and 174 Nm, which is acceptable. My Honda Civic Tourer came with a five-speed automatic gearbox, which isn't the most performance orientated. On the plus side, this means the vehicle offers quite a relaxed drive. I'd stick with Honda's wonderfully slick-shifting six-speed manual. The added weight of Tourer specification and the five-speed automatic gearbox means fuel economy is not going to be a strong point. I was quite happy to see a figure of 9.1l/100km, as I was expecting a lot worse.
Futuristic looksRight, those are the only negative points to an otherwise superb car. Few cars are this comfortable and I find the looks are quite special. It's a sleek and purposeful machine, and I think it would look aggressive in red. Estate vehicles aren't exactly the beauty queens of the automotive world, but I really do like the styling. Best in class looks? Yes, I'd stick my head on the block for that.
Generous specification levelsSpecification wise, the Honda Civic Tourer offers plenty of standard kit. Heated leather seats, a reverse camera, multi function steering wheel, six-speaker sound system with CD/MP3/USB/aux, Bluetooth, full colour display, cruise control, electric windows, electric side-mirrors, remote central locking, automatic headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers all come as standard. Fantastic! It also has adjustable rear suspension, but I couldn't feel any differences as I drove around.
Versatility and practicalityThe best part of the Honda Civic Tourer has to be the practicality aspect. The rear seats are able to be folded completely flat, which essentially converts the vehicle into a van. Some fun with a surfer friend resulted in us trying to see how many surfboards we could get into the Honda Civic Tourer. Four boards went in, with provision for another three more. There was even space for someone to sit too. For a passenger estate, that's extremely impressive and I'm disappointed that estates aren't popular in South Africa.
Summary and conclusionThe Honda Civic Tourer is a competent product which is rather niche. Admittedly estates aren't popular in South Africa, but the practicality offered by such a vehicle makes it worth investigating should you be after a family vehicle with generous load-carrying capacity. Stick with the manual gearbox and you'll be rewarded with yet another quality product from Honda. It's just such a shame there's no diesel offering.
Honda Civic Tourer 1.8 Executive Price in South Africa
R360 000 puts you behind the wheel of the six-speed manual Honda Civic Tourer. R374 000 gets you the automatic version. Both models come standard with a three year/100 000 km warranty and a five year/90 000 km service plan. Servicing intervals are every 15 000 km.
Another writer's thoughts on the Honda Civic TourerSpending a few days with the Honda Civic Tourer proved to be an entirely pleasant experience. It looks sleek for an estate, more of a large coupe than a shoebox on wheels, I like it. Inside it’s Honda business as usual, it’s not a high tech fest of all the latest gadgets you want, but a clean, unfussy and durable-looking interior.
The engine would definitely be happier if it was being worked by a manual gearbox, the auto it has makes it quite a lazy drive. The Civic is maybe a bit on the expensive side though as Volvo’s V60 T4 starts at only R10k more than the Civic Tourer. - Ashley Oldfield
Honda Civic Tourer Quick Specs
|Engine||1.8-litre four cylinder petrol|
|0-100km/h||11.3 seconds (claimed)|
|Fuel economy||6.7 l/100km (claimed)|
We like: . Modern looks . Premium product . Huge storage capacity . Plenty of features
We dislike: . Needs a diesel engine which would improve performance and economy . Niche product