Honda to update funky Crosstour for 2013

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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To say Honda's Accord Crosstour was a bit unconventional when it debuted in 2009 as a 2010 model might be understating things a bit. Featuring a slightly bolder grille than a regular Accord sedan, along with a few changes to the body to give it more of a crossover look, plus a bit more ride height go along with it, things changed dramatically aft of the C-pillar where it's tail end tapered off into an unusually shaped albeit very useful hatchback.

Sales were initially very slow and then picked up somewhat as the market started to accept the unorthodox entry, but never achieved Honda's projections. In an attempt to bring more attention to the model, the automaker dropped association with the Accord by just calling it the Crosstour, while adding a four-cylinder model for better fuel-efficiency and a lower base price, but sales remain less than ideal.

And just why hasn't the Crosstour met sales expectations? According to a Ward's Auto interview of Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda, "People weren't exactly sure what it was [because] it was a tweener." In other words, with nothing to cross-shop it against, they likely didn't even put it on their shopping lists.

Let's face it. Most crossovers have SUV influenced styling and more of a tall wagon-like stance. Some, like Subaru's Outback and Toyota's Venza, are more car-like in character, while others, like Honda's own Pilot, look more like a traditional SUV despite their largely car-derived chassis architectures. In contrast, the Honda Crosstour seems to be pulling inspiration from premium players like Honda's own Acura ZDX and BMW's X6, but there's nothing amongst mainstream brands to shop against it, at least directly.

Honda hopes to remedy the situation with a facelift for 2013, which will reportedly be very close to a Crosstour prototype shown earlier this year at the New York auto show (Honda normally comes to market with production cars that look very similar to its concepts). If so, look for a much bolder frontal design with a larger revised grille, redesigned lower valance with SUV-like contrasting grey aerodynamics that will wrap around the rest of the body, highlighted by attractive aluminum cladding, and finished off with LED-enhanced fog lamps and much more rugged looking alloy wheels.

Wards adds that Crosstour customers have also complained about a lack of features, so the reworked 2013 model will reportedly get an updated interior with a larger 8-inch infotainment system screen, plus proximity sensing keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, and paddle-shifters for the top-line V6 model, while that engine will also be mated to a more appropriate 6-speed automatic transmission instead of the current 5-speed unit, enhancing performance and fuel economy.

Many people buy into the crossover segment because of an overall taller average ride height that lends to better outward visibility, which makes another Crosstour complaint critical for Honda to address. Owners report of poor rearward visibility, so therefore Honda will outfit all trim levels with a standard reverse camera, while its LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system will be available.

We should know soon if Honda makes all the changes speculated, while only time will tell if these modifications help boost the Crosstour's sales numbers.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Honda, 2013, Crosstour, $30,000 - $39,999, Midsize,

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