2011 Honda Accord Crosstour EX-L Road Test Review

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Honda makes one of the best selling vehicles in North America in its Accord sedan, so it only makes sense that they'd want to capitalize on its success by spinning off variations. Proof positive is the Accord Coupe, a sporty two-door version that effectively replaced the old Prelude years back, and if you think even farther back to 1997 and beyond you might remember the Accord Wagon, a wonderfully functional five-door that many lament for no longer being with us.

That's where the Accord Crosstour comes in. No one is really sure where it fits into the scheme of all things automotive. Part wagon, part hatchback, part crossover, whatever that last item really is, the Crosstour is either the ideal combination of everything or the runt of the litter that won't be able to find a home, such is the risk taken when creating an entirely new segment. Certainly BMW has seen success with its similarly conceived X6, no doubt where Acura came up with the idea for its ZDX and hence how the Crosstour trickled down into Honda's lineup, not that the two have much in common. At the end of the day, the Crosstour's place in the automotive landscape, or not, will be up to you.

Writing about my week behind the wheel is up to me, so first off here are a few basics. Most body panels are unique to Crosstour and aren't shared with the Accord sedan, although family resemblance is obvious. Inside, these two are carbon copies forward of the rear seats, and here in Canada that also means all Crosstours are the equivalent of a top-line leather-clad Accord EX-L. Additional standard goodies include 8-way driver and 4-way passenger power-adjustable heated front seats with driver's side memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-folding heated mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a 6-CD/MP3 audio system with aux and USB inputs as well as XM satellite radio, active noise cancellation, Bluetooth connectivity, a powered glass sunroof, privacy glass, a cargo cover, and more.

The Crosstour rides on nice big 18-inch alloy rims wrapped in 225/60R18 all-seasons, which hardly compromise the ride quality yet deliver decent grip around corners. Let's not even pretend to compare driving dynamics to the aforementioned ZDX, as the Crosstour is clearly designed with comfort in mind, but its front double wishbone, rear multi-link suspension setup nevertheless tracks well. I didn't venture off-road, nor is this what the Crosstour is meant for either, but 205 mm (8.0 inches) of ground clearance makes light-duty cottage country forays a possibility even in nasty weather when optional all-wheel drive is chosen.

No matter the drive wheels, Crosstour's perky 3.5-litre V6 zips along nicely thanks to 271-horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque, although with most of Honda's rivals incorporating 6-speed transmissions or CVTs across their lineups, I was a bit miffed to see the Crosstour hobbled by an old 5-speed unit. Certainly it's a good gearbox, shifting quickly enough and plenty smooth, but that extra forward speed helps in highway fuel economy. Then again, the Crosstour does quite well with an estimated 11.5 L/100km in the city and 7.2 on the highway in front-wheel drive or 12.3 and 8.0 respectively in all-wheel drive trim, and on cheaper regular fuel no less. This has much to do with the engine's variable cylinder management system that can shut down three of its six cylinders under lighter loads. Still, wouldn't it be interesting to see how much better its mileage would be with an extra top gear like Honda's Odyssey offers?

Odyssey in mind, if you're downsizing from a minivan or a larger SUV and looking to return to a more car-like experience yet unwilling to give up a certain level of functionality, the Accord Crosstour's cargo hold offers a whole lot more than that of a midsize sedan. Behind the rear seats the Crosstour gives you 728 litres (25.7 cubic feet) of volume compared to 397 litres (14.0 cubic feet) in the Accord four-door's trunk, and moreover the wagon-hatchback-whatchamacallit allows full cargo access to the rear seating area to store longer items when its 60/40-split rear seats are folded forward, resulting in 1,453 litres (51.3 cubic feet) of space.

Like I related in the beginning, the term crossover might as well be short for compromise, so you'll have to decide if the Crosstour's more car-like stance and load compromising sloped rear window is for you, or if something more SUV-like, such as the Pilot, would fit your lifestyle better. If the Crosstour is your thing you can put on in your driveway for $36,450 including destination. All-wheel drive will set you back $38,450 and adding a navigation system and rearview camera, only possible with the all-wheel drive model, will cost you $40,450, destination fee included.

After a week behind the wheel I only can attest to one thing for sure, life is so easy with the Accord Crosstour that the toughest problem you're gonna have is trying to explain exactly what it is to your friends and neighbours.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Honda, 2011, Accord Crosstour, $30,000 - $39,999,

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