HONDA CIVIC TOURER (2013 - 2017)

By Jonathan Crouch

Models Covered

5-door estate [(1.8 petrol, 1.6 diesel) S, SE, SE Plus, S-T, SR, Sport]


With their Civic Tourer estate, launched in 2013, Honda for the first time designed a car in Europe as well as building it there. The result was an unexpectedly effective combination of style and practicality matched to driving dynamics a cut above those of most competing small estates and Crossovers. Especially when matched to peppy but frugal 1.6-litre diesel power. It’s a surprising package for the right kind of used buyer.

The History

On the face of things, the idea of a small estate car doesn’t make much sense. You might reasonably think that trying to sell a small wagon is a bit like promoting the world’s tallest midget or mixing the least alcoholic tequila; a bit pointless on the face of it. Back in 2014, Honda didn’t agree, bringing us this car, their Civic Tourer.

At the introduction of this model, this innovative Japanese brand proudly claimed it to be the smallest model of its kind in the Focus-sized family hatch-based ‘C-segment’, yet it offers more carrying capacity inside than almost all rivals from its era. In fact, we’re talking more than you’ll get from a Mondeo or Insignia-sized medium range estate from the next class up.

With its Civic, Honda has always championed this same combination of sleek, compact styling and practicality. Despite that, prior to the introduction of this Tourer model, there had only ever been one Civic estate model, the Aerodeck, unveiled in 1998 but deleted from the range in 2001, when the company felt the market was turning towards trendier means of family transport like their own CR-V 4x4. As it turned out, they weren’t entirely correct in that supposition. In the first decade of the 21st century, compact estates continued to maintain a small but profitable market niche, provided they could prove themselves to be both practical and stylish. Which meant that Honda quickly realised that it was missing a trick.

Nevertheless, it took until early 2014 for this Civic Tourer to arrive and return its maker to a small estate segment showing gradual but significant signs of growth. It offered something distinctly different in its sector, both in terms of style and practicality. But it remained very much a niche product in the company’s line-up and wasn’t replaced with the tenth generation Civic hatch was launched in 2017.

What To Look For

Not a lot goes wrong with any ninth-generation Civic. Buyers are, on the whole, a contented lot if customer satisfaction surveys are anything to go by. However, we did come across a few issues. One owner complained of problems with the stop/start system. And several others reported a baulky gearshift from 2nd to 3rd. In one car, the centre dash display screen stopped working. And in another, there were Bluetooth connectivity issues. One buyer said there was a rattle from the high-mounted rear stop light too. A few customers reckoned that the paintwork scratched easily as well.

On The Road

Let's face it, you'll need to have a long memory if you can recall a Honda Civic that wasn't good to drive. If we were going to put a date on the time when Civics stepped from being something a bit pedestrian to something that was a guarantee of a decent steer, it'd probably be the sixth-generation car that debuted in 1996, championing a clever multi-link rear suspension system that most of its rivals subsequently copied. That was dumped for the seventh, eighth and ninth generation versions because it impinged on cabin space, but thanks to some clever trickery elsewhere on the suspension front, Honda’s little hatch continued to be able to entertain.

Which is an important attribute for this Tourer estate to be able to maintain. Qashqai-like Crossovers get impressively close to family hatch-style driving dynamics these days, but there still aren’t many you’d really finger as being especially fun to drive - in the way this Civic can be. It certainly helps in this regard that as soon as you set off down the road, you feel at one with the thing. In fact, there isn’t another car in this class that we’d feel as comfortable in as quickly. OK, so the start button is rather unnecessary, but it does kind of fit in with the whole hi-tech feel - and everything else is so driver-centric.

The perfectly positioned seat and pedals. The way the gear lever falls beautifully to hand. The way the futuristic dash delivers everything you need to know in perfect line of sight. As the miles roll by, you’ll also be struck by the near-perfect weighting and smoothness of the brake and clutch pedals and the lovely, snickety precision of the six-speed gearbox. In short, you don’t need an expensively powerful engine to feel fast in this car.

You won’t get one either. This Honda was launched with only two engine choices and neither is neck-snappingly rapid. The least expensive alternative is the 142PS 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol unit, which offers reasonable performance on paper (0-62mph in 9.2s en route to 130mph), but only if you rev the thing harder than most owners will want to. The necessity for this is down to the fairly feeble amount of pulling power on offer – just 174Nm – and you have to storm up to 6,500rpm to get that. Plus it’d be even worse if you saddled the thing with the extra cost five-speed automatic gearbox. Our advice then, would be to bypass this engine option in favour of the 120PS 1.6 i-DTEC diesel powerplant most go for.


You need a very good reason to buy a small estate car on the used market these days, given that for the same money, dealers can offer either trendier or more practical means of family transport, sometimes both. Fortunately, this Civic Tourer offers several quite compelling draws on your attention, including racticality and an excellent 1.6-litre diesel engine. Overall, what it all adds up to is one of the most appealing compact estate cars of its era.