Honda Civic Tourer: car review – The Guardian
Top speed 121mph
It’s been a while since I picked up a hitchhiker. You don’t see them much any more. Remember those road junctions heading out of town with their parades of young people? Acne, backpacks, Iron Maiden T-shirts and cardboard signs saying, “The North” or “Anywhere” or, once, “Home”?
Anyway, last week I spotted one. A smart fellow on the slip road out of Luton airport, with cabin luggage and thumb cocked. I pulled up, wondering, as you always did, if I’d regret it. Would he talk incessantly? Would he try to convert me to heavy metal? Or kill me and chop me up with a chef’s cleaver? No, he was Juergen from Berlin, a photographer whose shoulder bag had been nicked in arrivals. Welcome to Britain.
“Been waiting long?” I say, because that’s what we always said. “No,” says Juergen, “not even a minute.” Maybe his luck is about to change. He tells me how he was robbed (put his bag down to buy a coffee – newbie), and we start talking about destinations. And journeys. And other rides. He once caught an all-nighter with a trucker who sang “Ace of Spades” over and over… Then we move on to the World Cup (he is German) and cars (we are men), and this new Honda Civic Tourer.
I explain that “tourer” is the posh word for an estate and that though Honda is Japanese, the Civic is a very British affair. It’s designed, developed and built in Swindon. I suspect Juergen thinks I am lying. To show him I am not making it up, I wow him with a few facts. “This Civic has the lightest engine in its class – a super-frugal 1.6 i-DTEC diesel with 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of a piffling 99g/km. That means no road tax and no congestion charge. It’s all part of Honda’s eco-driven Earth Dreams Technology range and…” Juergen looks slightly panicked. He peers at me, I notice his hand clutching the door handle. Maybe he thinks I am about to chop him up with the chef’s cleaver I’ve hidden in the boot…
The ad that accompanies this new car is called Inner Beauty. It’s made by the team which brought us the brilliant Hands ad for Honda’s range last year. The ad takes you on a hyper-quick journey through the interior world of various objects – a golf ball, a suitcase, a guitar amp – to reveal the inner beauty of each, before tunnelling through the Civic.
The car may not be your idea of beauty, but it is certainly practical and functional. It has a class-leading 624 litres of boot space, dozens of innovative safety features and driver aids and a set of Honda’s multifunctional “Magic” seats – all three back seats fold flush into the floor, which increases the loadbay to 1,668 litres. Other “magical” stuff includes the fact this is the world’s first production car to boast a rear adaptive damper system. A laser checks the road surface every 10 milliseconds and adjusts the suspension accordingly.
We arrive in the capital and, to make up for the theft, I drop Juergen outside his hotel door. “Thanks for the ride,” he says. And then, nodding at the Honda: “You’re better at building cars than playing football…”
Ride round the world
Cycling enthusiasts and entrepreneurs John Readman and Rob Hamilton have set up Ride25. It’s aim is to riding around the world more accessible for everyday cyclists by splitting the route into 25 separate three-to-five day “tours”. You simply commit to one tour at a time – you could ride just one leg, or ride them all, back to back or months, even years apart. Most tours are about 4 days long with between 70 and 90 miles a day. It’s not just about the cycling though… it’s about the camaraderie, stunning landscapes, charity and sharing your day’s adventure over a meal and a few drinks in the evening. Here’s a video to explain what it’s all about. For more details, go to ride25.com