2015 is a transformational year for Honda, whose car sales had stagnated since the turn of the decade as R&D cuts in Japan left the brand with too few models to compete. Its sales this year are still barely holding flat in a highly competitive new car market, but with the brand’s reputation in resurgence following the launch of the Civic Type-R hot hatch and HR-V compact SUV, it’s looking to become a contender again from 2016.
The C-segment Civic, built at Honda’s Swindon assembly plant, underpins the brands’ fortunes in the UK. It accounted for a third of Honda’s 10,734 UK registrations in September, and AM has just taken delivery of one, which we will be reviewing over the next six months.
Honda has primarily aimed the Civic Tourer at younger families likely to be downsizing from D-segment estates to the C-segment. The secondary market is empty-nesters, who are also downsizing and want something practical, but which still features premium features from the models they used to drive.
The model we’ll be using is aimed particularly at retaining the existing Honda customer who wants everything, including technological gadgetry and enough space to carry a pack of dogs in comfort. In range-topping EX Plus guise, it comes with leather upholstery, keyless entry and start, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and Honda’s Connect infotainment system with navigation, digital radio, internet browsing and rear-view camera.
On the outside it is distinguished from lesser models by its LED headlamps, 17in alloys, privacy glass, front and rear parking sensors and powered folding door mirrors.
In addition to £525 optional pearlescent paint, our car also comes with the Driver Assistance Safety Pack, a £600 option. This bundles driver aids including blind spot information, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and cross traffic monitor into a package for ease of upsell.
Beneath the bonnet is Honda’s 1.6-litre turbodiesel. It was a little late to market with its small capacity diesel, launched in late 2013, but with CO2 emissions of 103g/km and combined fuel economy of 72.4mpg, it is certainly competitive on paper, although marginally behind a comparable Ford Focus Estate.