By David Colman
Hypes: Stands Out In A Crowd, Utilitarian
Gripes: Inelegant Back Road Handling
Honda revamped its Crosstour for 2013 by supplying it with mock skid plates front and rear. These fluted aluminum shelves convert this crossover’s appearance from benign to purposeful. Suddenly, the Accord-based product looks more like an SUV than a station wagon on stilts. The new fascias hide the fact that the Crosstour is based on the previous generation Accord chassis, so if you seek the latest underpinnings, you’ll have to opt for the 2013 Accord sedan. But bear in mind that the sedan stores 16 cubic feet of baggage compared to the Crosstour’s 22 cubic foot capacity.
New for 2013 is an uprated 3.5 liter V-6 engine producing 278hp and 254 lb.-ft. of torque. Though the FWD chassis will only tow 1,500 lbs., it’s got more than enough grunt to run like the wind on the freeway. Despite its substantial 4,030 lb. weight., the quiet and efficient Crosstour requires careful minding because it always wants to run at 80MPH. The interior is eerily silent at freeway speed, and because Honda has equipped its new 6-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifts, you can easily kick down a gear or two for lane change spurts. Rear vision is surprisingly good given the bifurcated rear window, and long slabs of heavily tinted side glass. Helping in this regard are 3 perfectly placed and sized rear view mirrors, and the ingenious rear view camera which displays continuous images on the dashboard screen. You can activate this camera by depressing the end of the light control stalk, or turning on your right turn blinker.
The flowing roof lines of the Crosstour diminish rear seat headroom, and inhibit carriage of tall cargo. But the trim lines distinguish this Honda from any other shape on the road. Think of it as a bargain priced Audi A7. If interstate cruising is high on your requirement list, the V-6 Crosstour is a perfect match. But if you spend significant drive time on twisty back roads, this tall, softly sprung Accord adaptation will force you to take turns at a glacial pace. The new-for-2013 18 inch alloys look aggressive, with five split and machined spokes, but the tires Honda has chosen – Michelin 225/60R18 Latitudes – break traction early and squeal disconcertingly. The Crosstour’s traction control complex also kicks in at disarmingly low speeds to usher you cautiously through turns. If you live in the snow belt, you can order your Crosstour with all-wheel-drive, but you’ll pay $1,450 for the upgrade.
The interior of this Honda features the company’s typical multi-level, horizontal dashboard arrangement which requires you to scan various strata of gauges and displays to find the information you seek. On occasion, this effort requires averting your eyes too long from the road. The individual climate settings, for example, occupy a niche of their own separate from any other read-out on the panel. However, the large central display screen, which is new this year, does a terrific job of keeping track of music supplied via SIRIUS XM or MP3 sources. The screen alternately serves as a navigational map when needed. The front seats are reasonably comfortable, but the backrest angle adjustment is via a crude manual ratchet lever. What you will appreciate most of all about the Crosstour’s accommodations is the width and spaciousness of the cabin. The 75 inch wide Crosstour enjoys a 2 inch advantage over the 73 inch wide Accord. and a 6 inch advantage in length. This extended stance, coupled to the elevated ride height produced by the 60 series tires, imbues the Crosstour with an airy, commanding driving position that makes it perfect for long interstate commutes.
2013 Honda Crosstour EX FWD
- Engine: 3.5 liter SOHC, 24 Valve V-6
- Horsepower: 278hp
- Torque: 254 lb.-ft.
- Fuel Consumption: 22 MPG City/33 MPG Highway
- Price as Tested: $36,470
- Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars