The Honda Crosstour’s styling appears unconventional today, but, what with vehicles such as the Toyota Venza and the BMW 5-Series GT becoming more common on our roads, it looks as if convention might be changing.
When I drove the Crosstour, I couldn’t help but compare it to the new-look crossover from Honda’s upscale division, the Acura ZDX. With the ZDX, passengers (even those of short stature) have to fold themselves up like origami in order to enter the back seats without clonking their head on the door frame. In comparison, entering the rear seat of the Crosstour feels like climbing into the back of a Honda Accord – no contortions needed. Next, look into the rear cargo compartment. While the official cargo capacity numbers for the two vehicles are nearly identical, the space behind the second seat in the Crosstour appears more usable, because its roof is less steeply sloped and the load floor is lower.
On the road, the Crosstour handles much like an Accord sedan, which is to say quite well. I’d like to see a six-speed transmission and paddle-shifters in place of the five-speed automatic, but I’m guessing that’s not a priority for most buyers of this vehicle.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
The Crosstour’s styling is nothing if not divisive. I do think that it looks better in person than in pictures, so I guess I’m starting to warm up to it a bit. The interior is well done and far more comfortable and attractive than either the Toyota Venza or the Nissan Murano. My only serious complaint about the cabin is the busy central dash. There are too many similarly sized buttons and they don’t seem to be arranged in any logical way. For me, a simple radio or HVAC adjustment required a quick once over, over and over again even after spending a weekend with the car.
The Crosstour is quite agile and enjoyable to drive. The steering could use more weight but I found it to be fairly accurate and communicative during a somewhat spirited run on a few curvy back roads. The ride and handling balance is not necessarily tuned for sportiness but it provides a good amount of feedback without feeling soft. And in this category, the Crosstour’s lower ride height and lower center of gravity undoubtedly give it a handling advantage over the taller, more top-heavy competition. Of course, the tradeoff with the Crosstour is that, given the sloping roofline and the narrow cargo-area opening, its usefulness as a utility vehicle will be somewhat limited.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
One has to wonder if Honda’s vaunted packaging engineers were out to lunch the day this design came through their office. The major oversight with the Crosstour is the way the rear-struts poke into the rear cargo hold. The similarly sized Toyota Venza also uses struts in back, but somehow avoids such sacrifices in interior space. This design flaw, along with the sloping profile puts the Crosstour at a huge utility disadvantage compared to the Toyota.
Thankfully, the engineers in charge of driving dynamics ate at their desks and then went to work making the big hatchback go down the road almost as gracefully as the Accord on which its based. As Jen noted, the steering is quick and precise. The silky smooth V-6 and strong brakes likewise never give the impression that they were designed for a lighter, smaller car, as so often feels the case in car-based crossovers. Of course, the Crosstour isn’t an S2000, and it understeers at the first sign of aggressive driving. But for most average drivers, the transition from mid-size sedan to tall hatchback will seem completely seamless.
Honda also did a good job upgrading the interior so that even at our test car’s $36,220 sticker, it doesn’t feel like merely an expensive Accord. The high-brow Berber carpeting, soft-touch, tastefully grained dash, and upscale, if somewhat busy center console are all live up to the premium pricing, and are a marked contrast to the Tupperware plastics one finds inside the Venza.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
When talking about the Honda Crosstour, of course the first thing everyone comments on is the exterior styling; ignoring this is like ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room. But climb into the driver’s seat, grab hold of the thick steering wheel, and find some empty roads. The Crosstour’s driving dynamics resemble those of the popular Accord sedan.
Rather than design this funky body, I would’ve liked to see Honda bring back the Accord wagon and offer all-wheel-drive. Now I know wagons aren’t America’s favorite body style, but I don’t see this design sending buyers sprinting to dealerships either.
The Crosstour’s cargo area, while big, isn’t as big as it could be. The strut towers intrude way too far, and the slopped hatch opening limits how much can fit inside.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
If you can get past the unusual exterior (it’s taken me a few months to warm up to it), you’ll find the Crosstour is a competent competitor to Subaru’s latest Outback. It may not have as much cargo space-thanks to the sloping rear hatch-but the car feels and drives very similar. Here, though, you’re treated to Honda’s strong 3.5-liter V-6, a smoother transmission, and a much more upscale interior.
I’m also happy to see the Crosstour has a little more body control than the Outback, but that isn’t saying much. Honda would have completely won me over if they’d incorporated more weight and feedback into the steering rack. As it stands, it’s overboosted and rather vague, and it needs fairly regular correction while running down the highway.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
Evan’s comparison between the Accord Crosstour and the Subaru Outback seems appropriate enough, but I couldn’t stop comparing it with the Toyota Venza. Both the Toyota and the Honda are new models, and both feature, shall we say, distinctive, styling. Both start in the high $20,000 range (although the Honda is more expensive), both have strong V-6 engines (optional in the Venza’s case), and both drive fairly well but will never be mistaken for sports cars, let alone their sedan siblings.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2010 Honda Crosstour AWD EX-L
Base price (with destination): $36,220
Price as tested: $37,000
3.5-liter V-6 engine
5-speed automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Vehicle stability assist
Tire pressure monitoring system
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
360-watt AM/FM/6CD/MP3 audio system with 7 speakers
XM satellite radio
USB audio interface
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Heated front seats
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Tilt/telescoping steering column
18-inch alloy wheels
Options on this vehicle:
Key options not on vehicle:
Trailer hitch — $581
17 / 25 / 20 mpg
Size: 3.5L SOHC V-6
Horsepower: 271 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 254 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Curb weight: 4070 lb
18 x 7-inch aluminum wheels
225/60R18 Michelin Latitude Tour HP all-season tires