2013 Honda Crosstour 4WD EXPosted on June 7th, 2013
Midsized crossover gets styling and power enhancements
By Nina Russin
The idea behind the original Honda Crosstour was to make the best-selling Accord it’s based upon a more versatile ride. The Crosstour’s hatchback design, additional length and height create a larger cargo space for buyers whose active lifestyles might require loading bicycles, skis or snowboards inside.
Lackluster response to the original model had Honda designers return to the drawing boards, restyling the car for 2013 and adding a more powerful V-6 engine. Honda also lowered the price of the base four-cylinder model by $525: MSRP starts at $27,230 excluding the delivery charge.
The upscale EX model tested starts at $37,090. It is all-wheel drive as opposed to front-wheel drive and is fully loaded with Honda’s newest safety technology, including the LaneWatch display that uses a camera in the passenger side mirror to record activity to the right of the car. As a runner and occasional cyclist, I think it’s one of the best technologies currently on the market.
Convenience features on the test car include push button start, satellite radio, Pandora radio, SMS text messaging, Bluetooth interface, navigation, dual-zone climate control, ten-way power driver’s seat, power moonroof, and a ten-way power driver’s seat with two-position memory. Final MSRP, including the $830 destination charge, is $37,920.
Test drive in Phoenix
I spent the last week behind the wheel of the newest Crosstour, driving on highways and surface streets in the Phoenix and Scottsdale metro areas. It pains me to say this as a huge fan of both the Honda brand and the Accord sedan, but the Crosstour falls short for me.
The most obvious problem with the car is visibility out the back. Because the rear glass is at a severe slant, engineers added a second glass area beneath it. However the location of the rear seat headrests and the bar between the two pieces of glass obstruct most of the driver’s view. A rearview camera on the test car eliminates this when the driver shifts into reverse, but it doesn’t address the issue moving forward.
B-pillars on the car are also fairly wide, making the LaneWatch feature a necessity rather than an option. I was grateful to have a convex mirror insert on the driver’s side to make monitoring cars to the left of my vehicle a little easier.
Styling is an improvement over the original model, with a more masculine feel, highlighted by the Crosstour’s 18-inch alloy rims. However the design still seems rather bulky to me, which is completely uncharacteristic of Honda. After all, this is the same company that produces the uber-cool Fit, Civic Si and CR-Z.
The suspension also seems kind of lunky, even though engineers are using Honda’s tried and true double wishbone setup in front and multi-link setup in back. The V-6 model is rather nose-heavy with about 60 percent of the vehicle weight up front. Perhaps this, in combination with its rather substantial 3934-pound curb weight, is why it feels so soft in the corners.
The more powerful V-6 engine is by no means a disappointment. I had no problems staying ahead of the crowd merging into high-speed traffic off highway entrance ramps, and power off the line is excellent. The new six-speed automatic transmission significantly improves fuel economy over the five-speed unit. On my 150-mile test drive, I generally exceeded the EPA estimated 28 miles-per-gallon on the highway.
Steering feedback is good at all speeds. The Crosstour has good on-center response on the highway. However the car’s large wheels and long wheelbase make for a poor turning circle: 40.2 feet. I wasn’t able to perform a U-turn without having to correct at least once.
The Crosstour’s spacious interior holds up to five adult passengers. The high roofline gives those in the second row plenty of headroom. Designers did a good job of laying out the controls. The mouse-type device that operates infotainment functions in the center stack is intuitive to operate.
Honda’s navigation systems are among the best in the industry: easy to program and capable of recalculating routes very quickly.
I appreciated the two-position driver’s seat memory, since I had to position it fairly high to get a clear forward view over the front cowl. I found the seat comfortable for drives up to two hours in duration. Redundant steering wheel controls enable the driver to operate the Bluetooth and audio system with minimal distraction. Both the center stack screen and gauge cluster are easy to read in bright sunlight.
There are plenty of 12-volt power points throughout the interior for recharging portable electric devices, as well as storage bins. A locking glovebox provides front-row passengers with secure storage.
Levers near the liftgate release the second-row seatbacks to fold them flat. Although the Crosstour meets our bicycle-friendly standards, large wheel wells make the cargo floor rather narrow.
The Hondo Crosstour EX comes with front, side, and side curtain airbags, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, daytime running lamps, active front headrests, traction control and stability control, antilock brakes, a rearview camera, and the LaneWatch side view camera.
Honda builds the Crosstour at its East Liberty, Ohio assembly plant.
Like: The Crosstour’s 278-horsepower V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission are a big improvement over the powertrains on earlier models, with excellent power off the line and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range. Ergonomic controls inside the car give the driver access to a wide range of connectivity features, including SMS text messaging.
Dislike: Poor visibility out the back, and soft cornering performance. Wheel wells impinge on the cargo area, making it rather narrow.
Model: Crosstour EX 4WD
Base price: $37,090
As tested: $37,920
Horsepower: 278 Hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 252 lbs.-ft. @ 4900 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 19/28 mpg city/highway2013, Best Value 2013, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Honda, performance, pricing, standard safety
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