When automobiles were first made available to the public, they were incredibly expensive and essentially the providence of the wealthy—which made driving a bit of a leisure activity (alongside lavish, Gatsby-esque parties). Though cars were soon available to a greater percentage of the population, long distance trips were seen as a bit of a luxury, and as such, the touring vehicle was born. Learn a bit about the history of the touring car, how its evolved over the years, and what it means to the brand today, with Alberta Honda—your Edmonton source for all things Honda.
The Origins of the Touring Car
Some might refer to the origins of the touring car as the halcyon days of automotive, though we think things are better now that more people are able to experience the joy of driving; thanks, in no small part, to the craftsmanship and economical price of Honda vehicles. However, in the early days of driving, right up until the 40s, touring vehicles were generally meant for those with healthier bank accounts than the average person. Usually, longer and more spacious, the touring car offered exceptional comfort, alongside a few enhancements to both performance and the interior. Comfort was so important that touring vehicles would offer more than enough space to stretch out your legs, or even lay down to nap (passengers only, of course). Likewise, the touring vehicles of this bygone era would offer amenities like padded upholstery, foot rests, additional lighting, and more. Another important distinction: touring cars often had four doors, to offer easy access to the rear seat.
Of course, we know better now, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a lavish leather and mohair interior, large sunglasses-wearing passenger stretched out with a champagne coupe in hand, while her husband navigated the absolutely boat-sized vehicle in his three piece suit and fedora, cigar in hand. However, all that interior space meant very little room for the copious amounts of luggage these “tourers” would carry—vintage leather trunks that would make Antiques Roadshow hosts drool—so fold-up luggage racks were added. After all, it was incredibly important that the Duke and Duchess could carry 21 changes of clothes for a 7 day vacation.
The Touring Car Evolved
As the cost of vehicles and driving went down, and long-distance trips also became more common-place, touring vehicles adapted and became more common—although they began to look more like the famous “woodie” station wagons. Offering less in the way of luxury, but overflowing with passenger and cargo space, station wagons were far more affordable and allowed families in post-war America greater freedom in exploring the country. One of the most famous tours taken by a station wagon, though one we wouldn’t recommend emulating, would probably be the cross-country trek Clark Griswold took his family on in the absolute classic, National Lampoon’s Vacation film.
The Modern Touring Honda
While the touring car has changed drastically over the years, going from a luxury automobile to something a bit more practical, the current iteration combines the two concepts—especially at Honda. A higher trim level, the modern touring car is a 4-door sedan offering interior comfort, ranging from GPS to more comfortable seats (often heated and powered), window tint, climate control, and more. From a mechanical standpoint, these sedans often feature longer wheelbases, exceptional fuel efficiency, and softer suspension, all leading to smoother rides for those who tend to drive a lot, or on long trips.
Honda offers a Touring trim on all of their sedans, from the Civic to the Insight Hybrid, but it’s the Honda Accord that truly offers the most luxurious of all the modern touring Hondas. The 2020 Accord features a Touring and Touring 2.0 trim level, the latter powered by an impressive and efficient 2.0-litre, 16-valve Direct Injection DOHC i-VTEC® turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control. This, alongside Honda’s Adaptive Damper System, means the Accord Touring 2.0 offers one of the smoothest driving experiences found in a Honda. Beyond its luxurious performance, the Touring 2.0 offers a HondaLink™ subscription, Wi-Fi Hotspot, and Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System™, for the type of modern convenience the original touring cars never dreamt of.
Experience incredible luxury, albeit (unfortunately) probably not at the Gatsby level, in one of the modern touring sedans offered by Alberta Honda. With the ability to view our new and used inventory, as well as research our models and how they stack up against the competition, Alberta Honda’s website is the prime destination for learning about all things Honda. And if you plan on taking any road trips in your Honda, make sure to stop by our service department for a tune-up, or browse our accessory department to find the perfect accompaniment for your trip. If you can’t find the answer on our website, then give us a call, or stop by.