Honda hopes that sleek styling and a smart interior will help its new Civic Tourer compact station wagon boost the automaker's flagging sales in Europe. Although more buyers are choosing SUVs and crossovers over traditional cars, Honda expects European wagon sales to rise in the next few years and predicts that the Civic Tourer will account for about 20 percent of total Civic sales in the region.
Honda rolls out the Civic wagon
Target buyers: Families with young children upgrading from smaller cars; parents downsizing after their children have left home.
Cargo space: With the rear seats up, the Civic Tourer offers 624 liters of trunk volume. That rises to 1,668 liters with the rear seats down. An under-floor box adds another 117 liters. Like the Civic five-door, the Civic Tourer's fuel tank is under the front seats, which boosts interior space.
New technology: Honda says the Civic Tourer is the world's first production car to have a rear adaptive damper system. The system automatically adjusts the rear suspension damping force stiffness based on driving conditions, making the car more comfortable during highway journeys and more agile on winding roads. Safety equipment includes a laser radar system that applies the brakes at speeds below 32kph if an imminent risk of collision is detected.
Honda last sold a wagon in Europe 14 years ago, but with rival Toyota launching a wagon version of the Auris, the niche is becoming more competitive as Asian brands challenge European automakers' dominance.
Launch date: Spring (Europe)
Base price: 21,550 euros (Germany)
Where built: Swindon, England
Main rivals: Wagon versions of the Ford Focus, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, VW Golf, Toyota Auris
The Civic Tourer is 235mm longer than the five-door Civic hatchback sold in Europe. It is also the lowest wagon in the compact segment, but has the biggest trunk volume in its class, said Patrik Ponec, project leader for the Civic Tourer.
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Honda also expects many Civic Tourer buyers to opt for its new 1.6-liter diesel, which the company says is the lightest in its class, with CO2 emissions of 99 grams per kilometer. The Civic Tourer also will be offered with a 1.8-liter gasoline engine depending on the market.