IF you are after a medium size estate car there are plenty to choose from but few offer the impressive room and style of the Honda Civic Tourer.
Built at the firm's British plant in Swindon the estate version of the popular Civic is a really practical choice for family and lifestyle transport.
It provides as much space as cars in the segment above at a much more reasonable price.
The Tourer is 235mm longer than the hatchback and offers the biggest boot in its class at 624 litres. This expands to 1,688 litres when you drop the three rear 'Honda Magic' seats.
The futuristic design of the hatch is maintained in the Tourer and the rear camera is a must as the tailgate window is quite small and restricts the view.
Available with a choice of trims and two engines, I sampled the flagship EX-Plus model with the diesel engine priced at £26,200.
The cabin is identical to the hatchback's and features the now familiar two-level dash with a digital speedo, multifunction display and a central rev counter. It works well and the driving position is very comfortable thanks to the nicely contoured adjustable seat.
The centre consule houses the infotainment system and sat nav and the small buttons can make things a bit fiddly. There is plenty room for four adults to travel in comfort and five can fit in for shorter journeys.
Even the base level S model has bags of equipment but the top of the range model offers everything but the kitchen sink.
It comes with 17inch alloys, nav with voice activation, leather interior with heated front seats, adaptive dampers, front and rear parking sensors, alloy pedals, stainless steel loading cover, cargo net, leather steering wheel and gear knob, power folding door mirrors, dual zone climate control, fog lights, LED headlights with washers, cruise control and start/stop technology.
Privacy glass completes the package to give the Tourer a premium look.
Behind the wheel you can select from dynamic, normal or comfort driving modes and also boost economy by pressing an eco button.
The Tourer also features a wide range of all the latest safety equipment including hill start, front, side and curtain airbags, a tyre deflation warning system and electronic braking and stability systems. An additional £600 buys you a Safety Pack which gives you even more security in the five-star EuroNCAP rated product.
You certainly get a lot of car for your money and the star of the show is the flexible and economical Earth Dreams diesel under the bonnet.
It offers bags of grunt and reaches 62mph in 10.5 seconds. It is matched to a fine six-speed manual gearbox and has a top speed of 121mph.
I did not manage to achieve the claimed combined figure of 72.4mpg but I did average over 65mpg, which is excellent for a car of this size.
The steering is light, quick and responsive and the soft suspension helps to soak up bumps. The handling is not the sharpest but that won't matter to the vast bulk of buyers.
The Honda Connect Infotainment system gives you Aha radio, Mirrorlink, Bluetooth hands-free telephone and Internet browsing.