The Christmas holidays gave us a great opportunity to see how the Civic Tourer copes with being pushed to its limits.
Honda Car UK is modest in its fleet activity, so for many Civics the longest journeys will be holiday trips. Is there a danger of a buyer who is considering a Civic regretting their decision once they undertake a major road trip?
A 710-mile, 48-hour round trip from Peterborough to see relatives in Penzance, Cornwall, provided the right test. The marathon drive meant my wife and I spent six hours in the Civic each day, with only a halfway coffee stop as respite.
It proved that Civic customers ought to be pleased with their buying decision. Although the official combined fuel
efficiency is 72.4mpg, on our journey the car achieved a respectable 62mpg despite spending most of the trip cruising comfortably at motorway speeds and easily keeping pace with traffic. A fill-up of diesel was only necessary once we reached our destination each day, and the return trip cost less than £100.
Prospective buyers won’t baulk at the Civic’s running costs. In fact, the 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine, built at Honda’s Swindon plant, was crowned the best small diesel in the market in 2014 by motoring website Honest John, which also found it recorded the best real mpg after analysing submissions from 52,000 owners.
Throughout the drive, the Civic remained comfortable, with its supportive seats eliminating any backache and its cruise control providing a welcome chance to rest the legs. It also has plenty of storage beside the front occupants for drinks and snacks, and its integral USB connection meant my mobile phone was never out of charge.
However, one minor niggle was highlighted – its 7in touchscreen infotainment and connectivity system, branded Honda Connect. While it packs everything into one compact unit – internet, DAB radio, Garmin navigation and a reversing camera – it isn’t intuitive to use, with fiddly buttons which can be a struggle to find when driving, and a ‘pinch swipe’ mobile phone-style action. I find it a let-down, especially when the average Honda buyer is in their late 50s and may struggle to find the functions they require.
In Honda dealers’ favour, it does give them an opportunity to reconnect with buyers post-purchase to check if there’s anything they need explained again.
What’s being said about the Honda Civic Tourer
The Honda Civic remains a wilfully different kind of hatchback, and that’s a good thing. Its strengths – cleverly packaged rear seats, an enormous boot, styling that’s at least interesting if not conventionally attractive – remain.
Car And Driver
It’s taken the company a long time to buy into the philosophy of compression-ignition engines but it now seems to have grasped that if it’s to do well in Europe, it needs a diesel engine and a good one at that.