2013 Honda Crosstour Introduction

The Honda Crosstour was introduced for 2011 as a model of the Accord, but is now a model of its own. It's been left behind by the Accord, which began a new generation for the 2013 model year, while the Crosstour continues to ride on the old Accord's platform, which dates back to the 2008 model year. However, the 2013 Crosstour received extensive updates to the styling and interior that mimic the new Accord.

Crosstour is about 5 inches longer, 4 inches taller, and, with all-wheel drive, 600 pounds heavier than the Accord. Plus, it can tow 1500 pounds.

We compare all-wheel drive because that seems like the main reason for choosing the Crosstour over the Accord, although by then you're looking at a price that's nearly $8000 higher than the base 2WD four-cylinder Crosstour. With all-wheel drive, the Crosstour connects with its intentions: a crossover that's actually a sedan, that looks like a coupe. The only car like it is the BMW X6; or rather, we should say the Crosstour is like the X6, because the design was BMW's idea, and the X6 came first. No other carmaker has copied this idea, which makes you wonder. During the week we drove the Crosstour, it was the object of favorable attention and curiosity, but Crosstours aren't exactly selling like hot cross buns.

If you look past the fastback sedan styling, the Crosstour might compete with the Toyota Venza, with stats and prices that are very close.

The Crosstour only seats five, like the Accord, but offers expanded cargo capacity. Not that much, however, with the rear seats folded: 59.7 cubic feet, compared to 51.3 in the 2012 Accord (meanwhile the less swoopy but still sleek Venza has 70.2). But with the rear seat up, there's 25.7 cubic feet in back, compared to 15.8 cubic feet in the trunk of the Accord sedan. And because the slope of the long rear hatch is so shallow, it won't hit you on the chin on the way up, like a liftgate will unless you step back.

The fastback roofline is a big compromise, as the shallow slope gets in the way of rear-passenger entry and headroom. On the upside, a couple inches of height at the floorboards, combined with its taller roof, make the Crosstour easier than the Accord for the driver to climb in and out of.

The driver has the higher seating position of a crossover, though not quite as high as an SUV. The big hatchback opens wide to the cargo area, while lift-over height at the rear bumper is not much higher than a midsize sedan's. There's 6.2 inches of ground clearance, to make it more versatile like the SUVs it competes with, but that's still just 0.4 inches more than the Accord.

The Crosstour shares no body panels with any Accord, neither 2012 nor the redesigned 2013. However, its sheetmetal is more like the 2013 Accord, thanks to revisions for 2013. Honda says it's more rugged looking, presumably because there's more black plastic in the fascia at the front, rear and rocker panels. We don't get rugged out of that. But we do see a cleaner shape at the nose, thanks to its mimicking the new Accord.

There are two engines. Acceleration with the four-cylinder is satisfactory, while with the V6 it's heavenly.

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 192 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque and islinked to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4-liter 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder engine gets a class-leading 22/31 EPA-estimated City/Highway miles per gallon

The 3.5-liter SOHC V6 makes 278 horsepower and comes with a 6-speed automatic. The 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 20/30 mpg with 2WD and 19/28 mpg with AWD.

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