It would be easy to think that the Honda Accord Crosstour has an identity crisis because it mixes elements of an SUV with those of a fastback sedan. Slip behind the wheel, however, and the car makes perfect sense.
The Crosstour is part premium sedan and part SUV. While it doesn't slot into a single category, its combination of characteristics means it will appeal to buyers who have an active lifestyle and are looking for a sporty yet practical four-door that can tackle bad weather or rough roads with the confidence of an SUV. Plus, the large rear hatch and fold-down rear seat give the Crosstour the kind of cargo-carrying flexibility normally found in an SUV. The sloping roof does intrude on the height of the cargo space, but that's a relatively minor issue for most folks.
Folding the rear seat from the back is easy because there are levers near the interior fender wells. An 8.4-inch-deep under-floor utility box creates storage space for wet or dirty items. The box lid can be flipped over to the plastic side to protect the floor of the cargo area.
The sedan/coupe/SUV combination is a notion that is catching on with other manufacturers. Acura has the ZDX and BMW has the X6. Other companies are poised to offer similar models.
The front-wheel-drive Crosstour is available in EX and EX-L trim models. All-wheel drive is available on the EX-L. Prices begin at $29,670 for the EX and top out at $36,220 for an all-wheel-drive EX-L with leather and navigation. That is the vehicle that I drove.
The 3.5-liter V-6 delivers 271 horsepower. For the front-wheel-drive model, fuel economy is rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those numbers drop to 17 city and 25 highway for all-wheel drive.
Honda's V-6 can deactivate up to half of the engine's cylinders for improved fuel economy, and it does so with such smoothness you know it's happening only because a tiny ECO light comes on in the instrument cluster.
The five-speed automatic transmission has been programmed to hold the car in gear during a corner, and it can match engine rpm on downshifts.
The Crosstour's cabin is nicely finished and very comfortable. The EX-L, with leather trim and wood-grained accents, feels like a more expensive vehicle. The seats have good support, and the instrument panel wraps around the driver and passenger.
The navigation screen sits in a deep recess so it is visible even in bright sun.
Rear visibility can be challenging because of the sloping rear roof, but the backup camera has excellent resolution and a very bright picture. Lane changes require careful use of the outside mirrors.
I give the Crosstour's styling mixed reviews. The grille looks similar to that of the Odyssey minivan, and it seems too big and a bit awkward for the rest of the vehicle, which otherwise has nice proportions.
The sloping roof complicates getting into the back seat, but once inside, backseat space is on par with the regular Accord sedan. The 110.1-inch wheelbase is the same as that of the Accord sedan.
Even though this crossover coupe has all-wheel drive and good ground clearance, it doesn't drive like an SUV. It feels tight and solid on twisty two-lane roads. Choppy pavement reveals that the ride is quite firm, but it is not objectionable.
The Crosstour isn't likely to appeal to a wide audience, but for folks who want the hauling flexibility of an SUV and the ride of a sedan, it hits the spot.
The base price of the test car was $36,220. Destination charges brought the sticker price to $36,930.
Three years or 36,000 miles with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
2010 Honda Accord Crosstour
Engine: 3.5-liter, 271-hp V-6
Wheelbase: 110.1 inches
Curb weight: 3,887 lbs.
Base price: $36,220
As driven: $36,930
MPG rating: 17 city, 25 hwy.
Tom Strongman's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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