Honda Crosstour to get new styling, features and better mileage for 2013

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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We've written a couple of news stories about the upcoming 2013 Crosstour, mostly because the model is just so interesting. From its unorthodox liftback shape to its sole position within its own niche market, not to mention the paradox of slow sales yet high ownership satisfaction, we watch comfortably from our collective armchair while Honda continues to take all the risks by reinvesting in its mold-breaking automotive oddity.

Will Honda succeed with the updated 2013 Crosstour in a market that didn't wholly accept the 2010 through 2012 model? That's anyone's guess, but the Japanese automaker seems to believe in its sporty utility despite lacklustre beginnings. One of these reasons it remains faithful is that Honda has figured out one of its shortcomings and hope to address this with the new model; customers can't cross-shop it.

Back in September we quoted Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda, as saying, "People weren't exactly sure what it was [because] it was a tweener." A tweener? Yes, something that doesn't fit in to a specific market segment. It sits somewhere between a midsize sporty liftback, like the original Accord hatchback in concept at least, and a regular crossover SUV, like Honda's own Pilot.

What to do? While advertising a lot more could help, Honda will start by giving the 2013 Crosstour a bolder frontal design with a larger revised grille, plus a redesigned lower valance with SUV-like contrasting dark 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.

Honda will also make it more fuel-efficient, while adding power to its topline model. The base four-cylinder Crosstour will get a more fuel-friendly four-cylinder from Honda's new Earth Dreams engine lineup, this one configured to four cylinders at 2.4 litres of displacement and making 192-horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The big difference is a claimed EPA rating of 22-mpg city and 31-mpg highway (10.7 and 7.6 L/100km respectively); more optimistic Canadian ratings will be available soon. Once again the Crosstour will also be available with a 3.5-litre V6, but this engine is also upgraded to Earth Dreams spec, with 7 additional horsepower for a total of 278, plus 252 lb-ft of torque over a wider rev range.

What's more, the new standard six-speed automatic, which replaces Honda's old five-speed unit, includes new paddle-shift actuation with the V6, better for driving dynamics as well as short-shifting the transmission to eke out more kilometres per tank of fuel. The eco result of Honda's V6 upgrades is a claimed EPA metric-equivalent rating of 11.7 L/100km city and 8.1 highway for front-wheel drive models or 13.0 city and 8.4 highway for all-wheel drive Crosstours; again Canadian ratings will look much better, so hold off comparing them to crossover competitors just yet.

The new Crosstour will also get standard feature upgrades, including a backup camera with guidelines, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a 360-watt AM/FM 6-disc audio system with seven speakers, USB/iPod connection, and fog lamps, while a wider rearview mirror expands the view of what's behind while its rear headrests have been redesigned for better rearward visibility. Additionally, the Crosstour's revised interior, which features "upgraded interior design and materials" according to the press release, will boast a larger infotainment system screen, while proximity sensing Smart Entry keyless access with pushbutton ignition will also be available. Available safety features will include forward collision warning and lane departure warning. New colours include Kona Coffee Metallic (shown) and Mountain Air Metallic. Of course, Canadian content may differ.

Despite the additional standard features and overall improvements, the 2013 Crosstour's base price will only increase by $360, at $36,990 plus destination. Expect Honda to add all 2013 details to its Canadian retail site before November 30, when it reportedly goes on sale.

Only time will tell if these modifications help boost the 2013 Crosstour's sales numbers.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Honda, 2013, Crosstour, Midsize,

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