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lean, mean and green ... NEW CIVIC TOURER is putting the boot into crossovers


honda civic estate

honda civic estate

honda civic estate

Think Honda and reliability immediately springs to mind.

Think Civic and it's spoilers, baseball caps and boy racers.

Throw Tourer (or estate to you and me) into the mix and I'm downright confused.

Maybe it's the fact that the Civic estate has been missing since the MK VI Aerodeck went out of production in 2001.

Or could it be that this magnificent machine looks so sleek that it just couldn't be a load lugger?

Either way, there's no doubting that the Japanese car giant got the mix just right.

The coupe-like silhouette, coupled with acres of space and a phenomenal fuel-sipping diesel power plant ticks all the right boxes.

Style-wise, the Tourer is pretty much identical to the hatchback and even shares the same wheelbase, but from the C- pillar back is where the difference begins to show.

This equates not only to luggage capacity but how it is utilised.

Boasting a class-leading 624 litres of boot space, it has a hidden 117 litres of underfloor storage and a monstrous 1,668 litres with the seats folded flat.

A lowered rear sill and a tailgate with a wider and higher aperture means awkward cargo is easier to carry. But the genius doesn't end there - the rear seats also have cinema-style folding pews giving extra ceiling-to-floor depth.

Up front is a mixture of sporty and techno, with one of the best cockpits on offer today.

The wraparound dash is space age with a backdrop illuminated in a serene blue.

While all the controls may look straight out of the Starship Enterprise, they're at your fingertips and easy to use.

In fact, the Bluetooth set-up is one of the simplest and quickest to activate.

There are three specs for the Irish market - Comfort, Sport and Executive - and a decent amount of kit comes as standard.

The entry-level motor gets 16-inch alloys, climate control, electric windows all round, Bluetooth, iMID info display, Hill Start Assist, Magic Seats, roof rails and multi-function steering wheel.

Opt for the mid-range Sport and you'll get 17-inch alloys, colour reversing camera, cruise control, parking sensors, LED daytime running lights and leather steering wheel.

But the real hidden gem in the Tourer is under the hood in the guise of the frankly awesome 1.6-litre diesel engine.

Generating a decent 118bhp and returning an eye-watering 73mpg (3.8l/100km), the emissions are sub-100 at 99g/km meaning €180 a year road tax.

A little noisy at high revs, there is no end to the torque and it cruises effortlessly on motorways.

We clocked up over 1,000km before the reserve light came on and we were even more impressed when we discovered she had a 50-litre tank.

Euro for euro the Tourer is far superior to any similar priced SUV on offer today.

And there lies the only gripe. Starting at €25,995, potential buyers may be tempted by its cheaper crossover rivals.