There is no sterner test for a family car than loading it up for a family trip. Every seat is filled and every possible cubby hole becomes stuffed with snacks, drinks and eventually rubbish. Comfort becomes the most important thing, and any niggles become magnified as the miles mount up.
And the prospect of travelling four-up, including a small person, from Gloucestershire all the way to the east coast of Ireland then back again was undoubtedly one of these proper tests. As much as the idea of a holiday was pleasing, the thought of the journey was giving me a headache.
But the first hurdle was negotiated without any trouble at all. Any kind of holiday packing always ends up with enough outfits to clothe a small town, but the Civic swallowed it all without any grief and with space to spare.
The generous 117-litre under floor area swallowed lots of odds and ends that wouldn’t be needed until later on, while the main compartment took a large suitcase, one big and one small bag, plus some other odds and ends - again with room to spare and below the level of the luggage cover.
Then there’s the travelling bit of course. A solid 500 miles from home to the Atlantic coast of Ireland took in motorways, dual carriageways, a ferry crossing and the kind of bumpy back road that makes your average British B-road look like a billiard table.
But the miles sailed by with ease. The standard fit cruise control not only took the strain out of the dull motorway bit, but also helped the economy too; with 70mph dialled in, the Civic ticked along happily delivering 65mpg and more despite the full load.
Apart from four hours of sitting down on the boat, the trip also meant nine hours sitting behind the wheel, but mercifully the Civic’s driving position is good and the seats are comfortable over distance — with EX Plus spec there’s adjustable side bolsters for the driver and lumbar support for both front seat occupants. Small things like being able to switch the speedometer readout from miles to kilometres per hour also helped to make life just that bit easier.
The final ace in the Civic’s hand was the adaptive damping system, fitted on SR models and above. Switched into Comfort mode, even the worst Irish roads were dealt with very capably, while on the rare occasion when the roads opened up, Dynamic mode meant the Civic could be driven with vigour.
A pass with flying colours this month then. The versatility of the Tourer is proving to be its greatest asset. I’d like to say that I’ll be able to go easy on it from now on, but with the long summer holiday still to come, it’s only going to get worked harder still.