The Honda Crosstour is the first of several new vehicles that will be popping up in the coming months that are all quite similar. There’s the BMW 5 Series Grand Turismo, the Acura ZDX, one from Audi, and a couple of others I can’t think of at the moment. So what is it?
Basically, it’s a car with a hatchback instead of a boot or trunk. Hmm, haven’t we seen something like this before? I remember a Mazda 626 back in the mid-1980’s being very similar. I’m pretty sure there was some type of Toyota that was mid-sized and a hatchback, and for sure Saab has been doing it since the beginning of time.. so why the new-found interest in these hatchbacks? Beats me, but they make absolute sense and I could never understand why they were always being overlooked by the general population – at least in North America.First Impressions
Based on the Honda Accord, the Crosstour is quite large and roomy. Honda is marketing it as a “premium sedan with versatile aspects of an SUV to create a distinct concept within the Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment.” I’m pretty sure all the other manufacturers will be doing the same thing, because these 5-door hatches are quite a bit more expensive than their 4-door sedan counterparts.
With the mad rush away from SUV’s, it appears that all the manufacturers are looking to expand their CUV line up, and I’m all for that… there are way too many SUV’s clogging the roads. I drive into Toronto once a week to get a new car to road test and probably 95% of the vehicles are occupied by only one person. We don’t need big vehicles, we need smaller ones.
All Accord Crosstour models come standard with a 3.5 liter 202 K.w (271 hp) i-VTEC V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), designed for power and fuel efficiency (The VCM cylinder deactivation system is programmed to run on 3, 4 or 6 cylinders, based on the current power requirement). Honda estimates the fuel economy at 11.5 L/100km city & 7.2 L/100km highway for the 2WD version. The base model comes in Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and the two other models come with Honda’s Real Time 4WD system. A 5-speed automatic transmission comes standard and integrates a downshift rev-match feature for smooth and sporty manual downshifts – however, shockingly there is no paddle-shifter to take full advantage of this great feature!!!
Climbing behind the wheel, I was impressed by the instrumentation – especially the blue lighting at night. I was pleasantly surprised to find I had to use a key to start the car (I’m so sick and tired of the over-used start button that is so popular right now). Still, a complete keyless entry/start system wouldn’t have been out of place in a luxury vehicle like this.
On the road, the Crosstour felt very nimble and quick – belying its size. The drive-by-wire throttle was much better than I’ve experienced in other vehicles. Though it isn’t always instantaneous, it never left me out to dry when overtaking a slower vehicle. I enjoyed driving the Crosstour immensely, and after a week I’m happy to report I was able to drop it off without obtaining a speeding ticket from the local constabulary – something I thought wasn’t possible because it was so fun to drive! The chassis is tight and solid – more like a sports car than an Accord on stilts. I loved having the hand brake – too often I’m seeing more of the foot pedal parking brakes and they are simply murder to use in the snow when doing brake-turns! ;>)
The seats were very comfortable and with the 10-way adjustments, it was easy to get into the right position. However, after an hour or so behind the wheel we did find the seats an issue. My bum was numb, and both of our backs ached when we got out.. not good. The press material said that they are the same seats that are in the regular Honda Accord. I haven’t driven one yet, but based on this I don’t see one in my future – even for a week.
The centre console has plenty of little covered storage areas, most of which I found too small to be of any use, but it makes the area look dressed up I suppose. One thing that did irritate me were the sheer number of buttons and the way they were hap-hazardly spread across the console. For example, half the heating/air-con buttons were on the driver’s side and half were on the passenger side (and no, I’m not talking about driver temperature controls vs. passenger’s!).
The same was true of the audio buttons. Couldn’t someone figure out how to group all the relevant buttons together in a logical manner? Have a look at the picture and see what I’m talking about.
Located inside the centre console armrest is an auxiliary input jack, a USB audio interface and a 12-volt power outlet – there’s even room for 19 CD’s! The sound system features a 360-Watt AM/FM/Sat Radio with a 6-disc CD changer, Sub-woofer (driven by a dedicated 90-watt amplifier) and 6 (Kevlar cone) speakers, and aluminum dome-type front tweeter speakers in the A-pillars. The sound quality was outstanding and worthy of the vehicle.
Looking through the rearview mirror, the sightline is constrained because the glass is a two-piece unit, with part of it looking like it’s actually bodywork and not glass. It’s all very clever from the outside, but some drivers may have issues with it. For me it was a non-issue, you just get used to it and adapt. I did however have a bit of a problem seeing out when it was all covered in road grime. You can easily clean the large glass area with the rear wiper, but there’s no way to clean the little lower window unless you use a cloth. Although the car had a rear-view camera, it was covered in the same road grime, so many times it was impossible to use.
Rear seat accommodation was terrific and we had no complaints…only compliments from our rear passengers. The rear seats (split 60/40) fold quickly and easily with just the pull of a lever located in the cargo compartment.
With the seats folding perfectly flat, the cargo area is a generous 1,453 L (51.3 cu. ft). The rear hatch door is very light and makes it easy to close, but it didn’t always catch on the first attempt, requiring me to get out of the car and re-close it several times..
Under the floor in the cargo area is a hidden removable utility box that is 213 mm (8.4”) deep, creating a very usable 54 L (1.9 cu. ft) of storage space. There are two additional side trays for additional storage space. The carpeted lid of the cargo box can be flipped over to the plastic side to protect the carpet from dirty items – a great feature.
The rear cargo area measures 1,059 mm (41.7”) long by 1415 mm (55.7” wide). Maximum cargo length measures 1,918 mm (75.5”) with the rear seats folded. To emphasize its CUV aspirations, the Crosstour has 152 mm (6”) of ground clearance.
The Crosstour is loaded with plenty of standard safety features – as you’d expect in this type of vehicle. Among the list are the following: Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, a Honda-exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions;
Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) commonly referred to as Electronic Stability Control; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist; side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; dual-stage, multiple threshold front and side airbags; and active front-seat head restraints.
One thing that’s unique to the Accord Crosstour is its Maintenance Minder system – I imagine this will be rolled out across the line in the future. It calculates the engine’s tune-up schedule based on driving conditions and the information appears in the odometer display, indicating when to do maintenance – even when to rotate the tires.
Long-life fluids are used for reduced maintenance costs and environmental impact (fluid disposal).
The Maintenance Minder system calculates the exact kilometres between service intervals and as a result, engine coolant changes are needed about every 10 years / 160,000 kms, and engine oil changes are required around 12,000 kms.
One thing that I think helps considerably when it comes to running costs of any vehicle is the fuel used – to that end, Honda has designed Accord models to use less-expensive regular unleaded fuel.
There is no doubt at all that the Crosstour is a well-designed CUV for those with an active lifestyle…. the ideal customer would in fact be someone like me. In Honda’s press material they pitched it against the Accord sedan and the Toyota Venza.
Personally I think the Venza is an entirely different vehicle and I certainly wouldn’t compare these two to each other. Oddly enough, using Honda’s own information, the Venza won in every category with the exception of the width!!! I liked the Crosstour, but didn’t love it. It’s extremely sporty – that’s one huge way that it can’t be compared to the Venza.
There’s definitely a market for the Crosstour, but I can’t think of anything it really compares to other than the Saab 9-3 or its sister-vehicle the Acura ZDX. It’s MUCH cheaper than the BMW 5 GT or the Audi version.
Handles like a sports car
Heated seat button stays on until YOU switch it off
No paddle shifter
Uncomfortable front seats
Takes a while to heat up in the winter (bum warmers not very warm either)
Numerous blind spots around the vehicle
Acura ZDX, Saab 9-3
By The Numbers…
Pricing for the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour 4WD
Please visit your local dealer for the latest prices and incentives.
Powertrain: 3.5L i-VTEC V-6 engine with VCM; 5-speed automatic transmission; Real Time 4WD
Horsepower (Kw): 271 (202) @ 6,200 rpm
Torque (N.m.): 254 (344) @ 5,000 rpm
Cargo Capacity: Behind Rear Seats: 728 litres (25.7 cu.ft) / Behind Front Seats: 1453 L (51.3 cu. ft).
Towing capacity: 680 kg
Fuel Consumption: (4WD Model)
City: 12.3 L/100 kms // Highway: 8.0 L/100 kms
I averaged 11.75 L/100 kms during combined driving.
Copyright © 2010 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Honda
Also Published at: Automobilsport.com & Flagworld.com