After fielding the question - "What is it?" - for a solid week in our 2013 Honda Crosstour test car, we finally settled on responding first with "Its a Honda" before we launched into detail about it being based on the Honda Accord sedan and designed to provide an alternative to the traditional "boxy" mid-size crossover SUV vehicles offered by other brands - vehicles that all tend to look alike, no matter the brand.
It is no wonder that, when driving the Honda Crosstour with its unique styling, one is likely to get asked what it is. Most people, seeing it on the road, do not readily recognize it as there are not a lot of them out there.
Now in its fourth full year, it has yet to gain a meaningful following selling just 29,000 in its first full year in 2010 and only 21,000 in 2012. Sale are just 10,000 units so far in the first half of 2013 - even with an extensive update to interior design and materials quality plus a more powerful 3.5L V-6 engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Honda calls the 2013 Honda Crosstour a a premium mid-size crossover and is very quick to add that it takes the best of the popular and proven Accord and gives it some of the advantages of a crossover such as its additional cargo room and easy access with the rear hatch - all without the box styling of traditional crossovers.
We had not driven a Crosstour since its introduction in 2010 and were of a similar mind as many others - having seen it around, recognized it as a Honda, figured out that it was sort of an Accord wagon-type hatchback and assuming it must be pretty good (being a Honda) even if it was a bit odd looking.
Our impression after a solid week of local and on the road driving is very positive and even surprises us a bit how much we like it. This is a Honda first and foremost with the added convenience of a crossover without the boxy styling while it includes the command seating layout which gives the driver excellent road visibility often wanted by crossover drivers.
Our test vehicle was the high end 2013 Honda Crosstour 4WD EX-L with NAV V-6 which came without any additional options or extras and delivered for $37,920. The V-6 also offers the Real Time 4WD in the EX-L for $34,990 and EX-L with NAV for $37,090.
The EX does come with the V-6 and the six speed automatic in a 2WD starting at $30,890 for the base, EX-L at $33,540 and EX-L with NAV for $35,640.
The other model available in the Crosstour is 2WD only with a four cylinder and five speed automatic transmission that starts at $27,230 for the EX, going to $30,915 for the EX-L and topping out at $33,015 for the EX-L with NAV.
We found our test Crosstour had all of the reliable and solid road handling attributes of an Accord, but then added Real Time all-wheel drive (AWD), more cargo space with easier access from the hatchback, an available more powerful 3.5L V-6 (278 horsepower and 252 lb.-ft. of torque) with the six-speed automatic transmission.
It delivers an excellent and comfortable driving experience enhanced with lots of features including the new HondaLink information system, a power moon roof, seven speaker audio system with sub-woofer and Speed Sensitive Sound Control to mute road noise plus a very nifty reversible deck in the cargo area that conceals a lift-out 2-cubic foot utility box that can be used for many purposes including keeping your beverages and snacks cold under ice when tailgating.
The 2013 Honda Crosstour 4WD EX-L with NAV V-6 we tested came in a Crystal Black Pearl with Black Leather interior and the V-6 power train that included the six speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, Real Time 4WD and running on 18-inch alloy wheels.
The EPA fuel economy ratings for the Crosstour are 19/28 MPG city/highway with an average expected of 22 MPG. We found for the approximately 300 miles we drove, that we averaged 23.2 MPG.
Additional features and equipment on our Crosstour included Leather Trimmed Tilt and Telescopic Steering Wheel with Control Switches, Honda Navigation System with Voice Recognition, Rear-View Camera, Right Side Mirror Side View Camera that activates during right turns, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPM), Forward Collision Avoidance Warning, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Lane Departure Warning and Vehicle Stability Assist.
The Crosstour also had Dual-Zone Climate Control with Air Filtration and rear console vents, Driver 10-way Power Seat, Passenger 4-way Power Seat, Heated Front Seats, Power Windows and Smart Entry System with Push Button-Start.
The infotainment system included a 360-Watt AM/FM/6-Disc In-Dash Audio with seven speakers and a subwoofer, XM Satellite Radio, HondaLink, Radio Data System (RDS), MP3/Windows Media Audio Playback, MP3/Auxiliary Input Jack, USB Interface and the Speed Sensitive Volume Control to mute outside noise in the cabin.
Often, when we are test driving a vehicle, we have an opportunity to talk to current owners. On one of our excursions, a 2012 Crosstour pulled in next to us so we took the opportunity to ask the owner about her impressions.
First words from her were - "Its a Honda". She went further to describe how the Crosstour, with its wagon-like crossover styling, provided her all of the comfort and handling of a Honda Accord sedan plus a very accessible deck height and easy opening hatch for loading and unloading - which she does several times a day in her work - as being a primary reason she chose the Crosstour over other crossovers considered.
She mentioned also the concealed utility box under the cargo floor as being very useful for cargo and a great feature for family outings including keeping beverages and snacks cold.