There's no such thing as an easy introduction to the Auto Express fleet, as our new Honda Civic Tourer discovered when I pressed it into service as a makeshift removal van days after it arrived in our car park.
With a rented room full of stuff to transport six miles across London to my new pad, the Swindon-built estate proved to be perfect for the job, as most of my belongings fitted in the gigantic and well-shaped boot.
In fact, with the seats in place, the vast 624-litre luggage area is not only bigger than those in the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra estates, it even eclipses the previously class-leading Skoda Octavia’s. What’s more, the Civic’s rear seat bases flip up independently of the seat backs, revealing another huge storage area, which proved perfect for picture frames and suitcases.
However, in an attempt to de-clutter (and because my girlfriend turned her nose up at my countless model cars), I used the house move as an opportunity to throw a load of stuff away and dump the rest at my parents’ house in Devon.
This involved not only moving and organising my things in London, but also a 500-mile round trip down the A303 – all within 48 hours. The Civic’s big boot made light work of the task in hand, and my large bedside chest was squeezed in without the need to fold the back seats. There was even enough space left over to pack in a load of cushions, bedding and clothes.
The Civic’s 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine still feels a little tight, but even with only a few hundred miles on the clock and a boot full of kit, it felt responsive and capable on the motorway. We hope to see the average fuel economy of 47.2 mpg improve over the coming months, but for now we’ve got very few complaints about the rate at which it’s drinking diesel.
One niggle, however, is the Tourer’s long-distance comfort. In top-spec EX Plus trim it comes with all the toys, including sat-nav, cruise control and leather trim, but the lack of lower-back support in the front seats meant I was unable to complete the 250-mile London to Devon slog without a stop to get out and stretch. In fact, it got so bad on the way back that we had to swap drivers to combat the back pain. And at £27,460, the price isn’t exactly comfortable – you can get a 3 Series Touring for less.
Price aside, the Civic’s a spacious and economical family estate that swallowed everything I threw at it – from full- length mirrors to motorway miles. There are one or two things we’ll watch over the next few months, but for a hectic 48 hours, the Civic Tourer was very nearly all the car I could’ve hoped for.
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