As crossovers, compact utility vehicles (CUVs), and other half-breeds continue to catch on globally, Honda is focusing on a vehicle format that may be overlooked in 2014: the station wagon.
Station wagons have many benefits over larger CUVs. They generally have comparable cargo space without the extra height and weight – and fuel economy penalties – that burden CUVs. Accordingly, these benefits make wagons cheaper and more cost-effective. Wagons also have the benefit of not looking like an athletic shoe, something the Infiniti QX70 cannot say.
Honda hasn’t sold a station wagon in Europe for 14 years, but the Japanese automaker is hoping that low, sleek styling and a modernized interior will help the Civic wagon sell in Europe, particularly with the younger crowd. It’s not as cool as, say, the Audi RS6 Avant Plus, but it’s a sight more handsome than some CUVs we’ve seen recently … we’re looking at you, Buick Encore.
Sales have been slow there recently, but Auto News Europe is reporting that Honda projects the touring wagon will make up 20 percent of Civic sales in European markets.
The Civic Tourer is longer than the five-door Civic hatchback currently sold abroad, and features 1,668 liters of cargo space with the seats down. Honda has accomplished this by placing the fuel tank underneath the front seats. It also gets an impressive 74.3 mpg in 1.6-liter diesel guise, which will keep running costs low. The 1.8-liter i-VTEC version gets 45.6 mpg.
Despite its immense practicality, the Tourer is the lowest wagon in its segment, and features an adaptive rear damper system. The dampers adjust suspension stiffness based on road conditions, making the station wagon sportier in the turns and more comfortable on the freeway.
The new Honda looks to be practical yet fun, making it a good fit for its target buyers: young adults, downsizing parents, and families looking to save at the pump without sacrificing interior space.
The new Civic Tourer will carry a base price of €21,550 ($29,122). It’s set to be released abroad this spring.