Civic Tourer load area is Fido-friendly, automaker said

Civic Tourer load area is Fido-friendly, automaker said

Dogs, or at least their owners, apparently were consulted during the development of Honda's new Civic Tourer [wagon].

The Europe developed, UK-built model has a low-loading height for easy dog entry and exit and a new velour fabric in the rear is said to be more easily rid of hound hair.

Project leader Adrian Killham, said: "This car has been developed for Europe and not just in terms of the road conditions, there is very high dog ownership in the region. When I got involved in the project from the very start my mother in law made the point that her ageing dogs were finding it more and more difficult to get in her car."

The new Tourer, which makes its public debut at next month's Frankfurt show also has 'magic' seats, introduced with the Civic hatchback, which allow for a wider range of configurations. The cargo floor can be lowered making the load space 'pot plant friendly' and there is storage space for the load cover.

A pre-production model, shown to the press at Honda Europe development HQ in Frankfurt, was also equipped with sensors mounted inside the front screen, suggesting various driver assistance aids, including radar and adaptive cruise control, will be available.

Briton Adrian Killham, Honda's first new vehicle project leader in Europe, said his challenge was to produce a car with class leading cargo space and style that looks 'dynamic'.

"We have achieved that with a best in class 624 litres of cargo space in a car that is only 235cm longer than the five-door hatchback on which it is based. We didn't want to package this up in a boxy shape and I think we have achieved this as well." he said.

"The Tourer has the same face as the five-door but there is a bold line from the A-pillar back to the D-pillar which creates the impression of a floating roof. This would have been impossible to achieve using the same rear doors as the five-door so these have been changed."

Wheelbase is unchanged, as is the front overhang, with all additional length behind the rear wheels.

Killham said: "As well as the exterior styling changes there have been a number of changes under the skin. We have added some 'weight' to the power steering, changed the dampers at the front and we have developed a new adaptive damper system for the rear wheels only, the first time this has been used on a production car."

Engine options will be the new 1.6-litre iDTEC diesel introduced with the hatchback and CR-V SUV or a 1.8-litre petrol with the diesel expected to be the biggest seller.

UK sales start in early spring and Lee Wheeler, head of corporate operations at Honda UK, said: "Around 70% of the fleet market for estates is diesel and the C-segment is dominated by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall [Opel] Astra so we will be pitching the Tourer more against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia. We will also be targeting D segment estates because we can beat them on cargo space as well."