Honda Accord Crosstour Joining the Movement
Steve Schaefer, Wed, 11 Aug 2010 08:27:11 PDT
It was only a matter of time before Honda fielded a true crossover vehicle. While its popular Pilot is a boxy SUV, despite its car platform, the Crosstour version of the ubiquitous Accord gives the brand a competitor for other Japanese-brand vehicles like the Nissan Murano and Toyota Venza as well as American models such as the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Flex.
The Crosstour uses the Accord`s proven 110.1-inch wheelbase but builds a different creature on it. Photographs don`t do justice to the surprisingly exuberant design, with its extra bold grille up front and sweeping curves along the doors and rear panels.
The Crosstour stands more than 7-1/2 inches taller than the sedan, stretches 2-1/2 inches longer and outweighs it by more than 300 pounds, coming close to the two-ton mark in full dress.
Inside is an extremely accommodating environment that looks and feels more like an entry from Honda`s Acura luxury brand. My son, Cameron, who has a sharp eye for automotive details, pegged the price at $40,000. He was highmore about that later.
The interior of my Opal Sage (a pretty medium gray) tester was Ivorywhich brightened up the cabin and probably added to that luxury feel that Cameron picked up on. Cozy Charcoal black is also available.
The leather seats looked, felt and smelled wonderful. Black carpets, contrasted with the lighter interior panels and shiny accents, lent further sumptuousness to the ambiance. In the rear compartment, the looped carpet on the floor panel seemed more like something from a classic Jaguar than a Honda, and there was a nice metal kick plate too. The rear cargo panel flips over so you can use its plastic side when hauling dirty thingssuch as new plants for the garden, grungy camping gear or the family dog.
An important reason to own a crossover over a car, besides sitting higher, is cargo space. Despite identical passenger capacity to the Accord sedan, the Crosstour provides 25.7 cubic feet of cargo room to the sedan`s 14-cubic-foot trunk. And you can flip down the rear seats and get 51.3 cubic feet. There are handy levers in back, so you don`t need to walk back and forth on each side to do it. You can have up to 75.5 inches of length with the seats folded. Yes, an upright bass fits easily, but so do ladders, skis and much more.
The cargo hold has a 1.9-cubic-foot hidden removable utility box, which includes a tray to hold yucky stuff. At 8.4 inches deep, it`s great for stashing valuables out of sight even if you`re not using the unique two-pieced cargo covers.
The Crosstour comes only in Honda`s top level modelEXbut within it you have five choices. You can upgrade to the EX-L model and add the Navigation system package. Four-wheel-drive comes at the EX-L level only.
Every EX comes with a wide range of the standard features you`d expectdual-zone automatic air conditioning, a nice 360-watt, 7-speaker audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, and more. The EX-L adds leather on the seats, steering wheel and shift knob, adds heat to those leather chairs, bumps the alloy wheels to 18-inchers, puts in the aforementioned cargo covers, and provides an USB connection for your iPod (plus a few other things.)
Every Crosstour comes with the Accord`s 271-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, with 254 lb.-ft. of torque, coupled to a five-speed automatic. In this world of six-speed automatics that seems a little old-fashioned, especially with the Venza flaunting a six-speed and the Murano a continuously variable transmission.
But something those competitors don`t offer is cylinder deactivation, which runs the V6 on 6, 4 or even 3 cylinders depending on current power requirements (acceleration, climbing a hill or cruising). This helps the car earn EPA fuel economy numbers of 18 City, 27 Highway. I averaged 22.4 mpg. The EPA Green Vehicle Guide gives the car a 7 for Air Pollution and 5 for Greenhouse Gasjust below the SmartWay category. But this is a big, powerful car and that`s a darn sight better than a 1969 Ford Country Squire station wagon.
Pricing starts at $30,450 for a two-wheel-drive EX, including shipping. Upgrade to the EX-L for a $2,900 premium and add an additional $2,200 for the Navigation system. My test car was an EX-L with the navigation system, at $35,480, with no options and an old, lower destination charge. The top model is the four-wheel-drive EX-L with navigation system, at $37,000.
Closely comparable to many other crossovers on the market, the Ohio-built Accord Crosstour offers "Honda quality," no small thing, and feels like a luxury car without wearing a fancy nameplate.