Test Drive: 2012 Honda Crosstour

2012 Honda Cross Tour - frontBy Barbara & Bill Schaffer

We were surprised when Honda introduced the Crosstour in the fall of 2009.? It?s not the kind of car we would expect from a company that tends to play it safe and conservative.? Sure they needed a large vehicle to compete with crossovers like Toyota?s Venza, Ford?s Flex and several others, but instead of a traditional wagon-style design, Honda chose to be more like one of the four-door coupes ? for example the Mercedes-Benz CLS or the BMW X6.

Unfortunately, the buying public has not been clamoring to put the Honda Crosstour in their driveways and Honda has only sold about 60,000 since the introduction.? To put that in perspective, Honda sold 107,068 Odysseys just in 2011 alone.

Nevertheless, the Honda Crosstour is one of our favorite Hondas.? We like the looks even though one of us thinks it has a big butt. ??In spite of that, we think it is one of the auto industries? best-kept secrets.
2012 Honda Crosstour - interiorEssentially, the Crosstour is a five-door hatchback version of the Honda Accord sedan.? We still have trouble envisioning that the Accord is all grown up and actually fits the EPA large car specs with more interior room than most of its competitors. ?So when designers start with this large car and create something like the Crosstour, it too, is large, nearly 200 inches long and weighing just over two tons ? that?s roughly the same size as a Toyota Venza or Subaru Outback.

However, size has little consequence on how the Honda Crosstour drives.? It?s agile, responsive and quick.? The only criticisms we have are the wide 40.2-foot turning diameter and poor rear visibility from the sloping rear roofline and pillars.

Honda engineers have taken care of the visibility matter for 2013 by adding an Expanded View Driver?s Mirror, and LaneWatch? a blind-spot display that uses a camera mounted on the passenger mirror to provide an enhanced view of the passenger-side roadway.? They are also adding a new Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems.

The Honda Crosstour is powered by Honda?s superb i-VETC V-6 engine.? It?s rated at 271 horsepower, and is capable of a 7.2 second 0 to 60 mph run, along with fuel economy of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for the four-wheel drive version. ?We averaged 22.6 during the week we drove it. ?The V-6 has a sophisticated cylinder deactivation system that cuts the engine back from six to three or four cylinders depending on the vehicle power requirements.

2012 Honda Crosstour - rearThe Crosstour received some criticism originally for only offering the one engine, so for 2012 they have added a 192 hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine option in two front-wheel drive (2WD) trim levels.?? The four-cylinder has an EPA rating of 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.

Both engines are combined with Honda?s five-speed automatic transmission.? We?re surprised Honda hasn?t gone to a more efficient six- or seven-speed transmission like most manufacturers. ?Early reports say the 2013 Crosstour will get a more efficient six-speed automatic transmission. ?Front-wheel drive is standard on the Crosstour, but a Real Time? four-wheel drive (4WD) is available with the V-6 engine.

Honda Crosstour comes with a choice of two models, two engines and two drivetrains. The new four-cylinder 2WD is available in the EX or EX-L trim level.? The 2WD V-6 is available in the same EX and EX-L trims but the 4WD is only in the EX-L trim.

Crosstour pricing starts at $28,585 for the EX 2WD with four-cylinder engine and goes as high as $37,470 for the V-6-powred EX-L with 4WD and navigation.

All the Honda Crosstour models are well equipped with the usual assortment of power equipment, plus Bluetooth, 17-inch aluminum wheels, moonroof, dual zone climate control and premium audio system. ?The EX-L ups the ante with 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather seating, heated front seats, memory driver?s seat and mirrors, upgraded audio speakers, HomeLink? transmitter and cargo cover.

The appeal of the Honda Crosstour for us is that it looks more like a sporty touring car than a wagon, plus it?s a much more exciting look than the Accord sedan. ?It seats up to five, has good cargo space and because it?s a hatchback the space can be expanded to carry larger and longer loads. We also appreciated the large hidden storage compartment under the cargo bay floor with a removable utility box making it easy to pack or clean.

The Honda Crosstour is an excellent vehicle for the couple that wants something sporty but with the ability to expand to carry more people or cargo when needed.