Honda fans are eagerly awaiting the new Civic Type R and the reason it’s been delayed until 2015 is simple – Honda are betting on the new Civic Tourer and there aren’t enough resources to do both at the same time.

Hence the Honda Yuasa Racing entry in next year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is an estate – the only one on the grid.

Drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are back in the driving seats and aiming for yet more titles after narrowly missing out on the drivers’ crown in 2013. They’ve been unbeatable though in the teams’ and manufacturers’ championships, securing both crowns in 2013 for the fourth year in a row.

But what do they make of the new Civic wagon?

Honda-2014-BTCC-Civic-Tourer_G2The Civic Tourer is 23.5 centimetres longer than the hatchback and offers 624 litres of boot space – none of which helps it perform on the race track.

“It might be a Tourer, but it’s still a Civic, the car that has won every championship in BTCC for the last three seasons,” said Shedden. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of next season, and to seeing what the Tourer can do on race day.”

Matt Neal added, “Although we’re racing a new model, the inherent advantages of the Civic hatchback from the past two years remain so there’s no reason why this car can’t be a winner straight out of the box.”

The Civic Tourer weighs the same as the hatchback and uses the same wheelbase, layout and suspension, so performance should be close, but of course the length of the car is extended due to the longer tailgate section.

The Tourer is British-built and available to order from the beginning of December. Prices start at £20,265 for the entry level 1.8 i-VTEC S climbing up to £27,460 for the 1.6 i-DTEC EX Plus.