RACE fans who drive an estate for their business should find the latest launch from Honda just a little more attractive than most.
Honda is offering a Tourer (estate) version of the Civic hatch for the first time, and expects 1700 of the projected 4000 sales to be to business buyers.
But the secret weapon in trying to claw back some of Ford and Vauxhall’s domination of the 38,000 per annum family-sized estate market is not the Honda Civic Tourer’s claimed class-leading boot capacity of 624 litres, but the fact it’s going racing in Britain’s biggest motorsport series.
Honda’s Civic has dominated the British Touring Car Championship, which attracts thousands of spectators to circuits and millions more viewers on the TV, for years, winning the last three titles.
But now Honda’s ‘works’ team, Honda Yuasa Racing, is dumping its Civic hatches for the new Tourer. Drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, champions in 2011 and 2012, will line up in Honda Civic Tourers when the BTCC kicks off at Brands Hatch in Kent on 30th March.
Speaking at the launch of the Honda Civic Tourer, UK MD Phil Crossman argues that the brand has to be in racing, whether it’s bikes or touring cars.
“Touring car fans, like bike fans, are fanatics and our new race car uses the same bodyshell as the road car; it’s really something we need to make more of,” said Crossman.
The Honda Civic Tourer arrives with either a 1.8 i-VTEC petrol engine of 142PS or the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel with 120PS.
Not surprisingly the diesel is expected to be substantially more popular with business buyers because of its 74mpg and company car tax beating emissions of 99g/km.
Just don’t expect the Honda Civic Tourer race team to be giving up its petrol engines just yet…