Tourer launch marks greater Euro role for Honda R&D
Honda’s new European developed and UK-built Civic Tourer, on sale from mid-February, is expected to herald a new era of greater European input into Honda’s vehicles.
This will include the next generation Civic, due to be unveiled in 2017.
Adrian Killham, based at Honda Research and Development in Swindon, was project leader for the new estate car, the first non-Japanese engineer to hold such a key role.
He believes that the importance of developing cars for Europe in Europe cannot be underestimated.
“Driving with your foot to the floor on a German autobahn and then having to brake really hard is something that doesn’t happen in Japan,” says Killham, speaking at the launch of the Tourer.
It’s not just the dynamics that Europe’s input helps improve. For the Tourer, which Honda says has the largest luggage space of any C-segment estate at 624 litres, Europe developed a new type of easy-to-clean carpet.
By cutting off the loops on the carpet pile it becomes much easier to clean because dog hairs and the like – those dreaded pine needles from a discarded Christmas tree, for example – don’t get trapped.
“It’s a new cleanability standard that has now been adopted by Honda globally,” says Killham.
The Civic hatch has taken the last three titles in the series, Britain’s biggest motorsport attracting thousands of spectators and many more live TV viewers. For the 2014 season the ‘works’ Honda Yuasa Racing team will switch to the Tourer, which having the same wheelbase and therefore mechanical layout as the hatch, is not expected to offer any disadvantages to the race team.
The 2014 BTCC begins at Brands Hatch in Kent on 30th March.
Words by: Andrew Charman