2014 Honda Crosstour Review
Good Car, Bad Wrapping
Sometimes a car is doomed from the start. Take the Honda Crosstour for example. When first released as a 2010 model, called the Accord Crosstour at the time, the concept behind this vehicle was simple enough.
|1. Base models get a 2.4L four-cylinder. There’s also an optional 3.5L V6 with either FWD or AWD.
2. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available.
3. V6 FWD models are rated at 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
4. Base pricing starts at $28,210 with delivery. Our loaded 2WD EX-L V6 Navi model costs $36,620.
North Americans were no longer buying traditional wagons, but still wanted the practicality of a wagon in a more rugged, SUV-like vehicle. So Honda took the bones of the brand’s top selling Accord sedan and transformed it into a higher riding, five-door crossover.
But something went horribly wrong in the gestation period. A little bit too much spice, or maybe straight-up LSD, was added to the petri dish resulting in vehicle that looked like a hunchback Accord suffering an allergic reaction. The Crosstour has a more distinct look, for better or worse, than other high-riding crossover wagons, namely the Toyota Venza and Subaru Outback.
Last year Honda addressed some of the feedback on the Crosstour’s interesting looks and reworked some elements on the exterior during a wholesale refresh of the crossover. Borrowing a lot of elements from the all-new 2013 Honda Accord, the term refresh is a better fit when referring to the Crosstour as it did not receive the ground-up redesign of Honda’s pride and joy family sedan.
The Crosstour’s changes are still extensive. Aside from the exterior tweaks, the interior was also redesigned to reflect the new Accord including the dual screen center stack as well as a host of technology like Honda’s LaneWatch camera, HondaLink, push button start, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Under the hood the old optional 3.5 liter V6 engine was replaced by the new Earth Dreams V-6 of similar size that not only boosts power but also fuel economy. Paired to this engine is the new six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to either the front wheels or all four.
More Power, Less Fuel
Producing 278 hp and 252 lb-ft. of torque, the new V6 has enough power to motivate our 3,928-lb Crossotour test vehicle with respectable thrust. The six-speed automatic has a lot to do with this as the first few gears snap off in quick succession to help the vehicle get up to speed. Despite the Crosstour’s weight, it is still able to tow a claimed 1,500 lbs. That number isn’t huge, but a crossover, no matter how wagon like it is, needs to be able to tow.
Fuel economy has improved in V6 Crosstours thanks to the new Earth Dreams engine. It is now officially rated at 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. We however were only able to achieve an unimpressive 21.5 mpg average. Most Honda vehicles we test deliver real-world mileage closer to the high-end of their EPA estimates, but not the Crosstour. Making matters more puzzling to us is the fact that we had the vehicle during a week in St. Petersburg, Fla. where temperatures remained in the high 70s; ideal for optimal fuel economy.
The Missing Link
Much like we have found in the 2013 Honda Accord V6 Sedan, the Crosstour builds power in a smooth, buttery fashion that high pressure turbocharged engine cannot mimic. Overall, the Crosstour drives a lot like, surprise surprise, a high-riding Accord. It is like a missing link between the eighth generation 2012 Accord and the ninth generation 2013 Accord as it blends driving attributes of both vehicles. For example, road noise is more prevalent in the Crosstour than in the 2013 Accord, but the new six-speed automatic transmission is more refined than the old Accord/Crosstour’s five-speed auto.
Despite this vehicle being more of a wagon than a true crossover, it is outfitted with large sidewalled 225/60R18 crossover tires. This allows it to handle sandy, mild off-road trials with ease due to the suspension being set up to offer enough travel for these undulating surfaces even for front-wheel drive only Crosstours. Speaking of which, front-wheel drive versions of the Crosstour are referred to officially as “2WD” while all-wheel drive editions are “4WD.” This is in an attempt to make the Crosstour seem more truckish and sadly Honda is not the only manufacturer guilty of this.
Where the Crosstour does live up to the SUV/Crossover label is in cargo capacity. Aside from a plethora of cubbie holes and storage bins throughout the cabin, the trunk is capable of swallowing 25.7 cubic feet of gear that expands to 51.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. Backseat space however is less generous as despite there being 37.4 inches rear legroom, nearly half an inch more than in all-wheel drive models. Taller adults will find that headroom is lacking.
Up front the wide bucket seats offer a plenty of space and are comfortable on long drives. The general layout of all the controls and dials mimics that of the 2013 Accord, which means they are intuitively placed and easy to operate. The rear bi-split window is frustrating because it obscures rearward visibility both while driving and parking. Making matters worse, the back-up camera is grainy and distorted in low lighting conditions.
The 2014 Honda Crosstour begins at a starting price of $28,210 after destination charges with our fully loaded, 2WD EX-L V-6 Navi model coming at $36,620. That is a $2,500 premium to gain some ground clearance and cargo capacity over a similarly equipped Honda Accord Touring. More importantly, that is right on par with a similarly equipped Toyota Venza XLE V6 FWD and Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited with Eye Sight; although the Subaru is equipped with AWD at that price point.