Honda Civic Tourer 1.6 i-DTEC
Week ending April 29
Miles driven this week 78
I'm much happier with the result of my latest refuel of the Honda Civic Tourer – it averaged 48mpg on the last tank.
Mind you, that includes the smooth journey we had from London to Norfolk and back again over Easter, so I'm prepared for the figure to dip when I resume my usual journeys in sticky London traffic.
The more times I fill up the Honda, the more I notice a strange quirk with this car: the fuel tank is located underneath the driver's seat, which means you can hear the fuel sloshing about underneath you as you drive.
Honda says it's positioned here to create as much internal car space as possible - and particularly for the car's so-called ‘Magic Seats’ – the rear seats with bases that flip up, cinema-style, so you can slide especially tall items across the width of the car at its highest point.
I haven't had the need to make use of these yet – and I'm not sure what I'll do with the kids if I do – but I'd love to hear from other Civic Tourer owners who have used them. Send me photo if you can, too.
By Alex Newby
Week ending April 22
Miles driven this week 340
I made my first motorway journey in the Civic Tourer this weekend (yes, it's taken this long to get me out of London), visiting the in-law 122 miles away in Norfolk.
There was plenty of space for our stuff, thanks mainly to the huge recess in the boot (it also helps that we no longer take a buggy with us as No. 2 child has quite sturdy legs now).
This recess not only meant it was easy to fit everything in the car on the way up, but on the return journey we also managed to fit in a big posh laundry basket we bought while there, which would otherwise have taken up too much space. It also meant we could stand it upright, making it ideal for stowage for the kids' toys.
Less impressive, however, was the amount of road noise on the motorway. We downloaded an app called Decibel 10th that measured between 85-92 decibels at the national speed limit – that's about 15-20 decibels higher than is normal for this type of car.
It made faster parts of the journey much more wearing than they needed to be, especially as the 1.6 diesel engine was really good for smooth cruising, and the comfortable seats were a boon for my particular back problem.
On the plus side, most of the roads we travel on to Norfolk are generally slower than this, so the kids managed to hear their music and we could all hear ourselves speak. It’s not making me look forward to our summer holiday journey to the other end of the M4, though.
By Alex Newby
Week ending April 15
Miles driven this week 194
I had my first glitch with the Civic Tourer's DAB radio reception: it reported 'no signal' – and total silence – for Radio 4 for over 48 hours (quite why it should happen to just one radio station is beyond me).
This meant a step back in time to FM radio, and I found the sound quality noticeably inferior, given that most of my radio listening is done via DAB, both at home and in the car.
Thankfully, the DAB signal for Radio 4 returned as suddenly as it vanished, so it looks like I won't need to make another trip to my Honda garage after all. Phew.
By Alex Newby
Week ending April 8
Miles driven this week 100
Compared with the Civic hatch, the beauty of the Civic Tourer's bigger back end isn't just the extra 157 litres of luggage space. It's also the improved rear visibility, as the Tourer gets away without the spoiler that cuts the hatchback’s rear view in two.
Instead, the Tourer has a tall, wide rear window giving a really good view of traffic behind, and I feel grateful every time I see the awkward end of a Civic hatch on my journey.
The Tourer's better rear view doesn't particularly help with parking, though, as the car's thick rear pillars can make it tricky to know exactly where the corners are positioned. Fortunately, since our car's EX Plus trim comes with both a rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors, it's pretty hard to go wrong.
By Alex Newby