WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 – With an ever-growing crossover market, the ability to distinguish oneself from the pack is becoming more difficult than ever before. Sure, there are looks and perhaps features that can differentiate various models. But the overall scope of what we perceive a crossover vehicle to be has been largely status-quo in recent years.
Enter the 2013 Honda Crosstour EX-L V6 with all-wheel-drive. This is a vehicle that aims to combine the best of a sedan, station wagon and crossover all in one vehicle. It looks a bit funky. But after driving this rig for a week, I firmly believe it will cater rather well to those folks who feel “lost in the fray.” They’re not quite ready to step up to the full size of a larger crossover as they like the size of their current sedan. It’s this key demographic that I believe Honda has met head-on.
A 3.5-Litre V6 engine provides plenty of power. It churns out 278hp and 252 ft-lb of torque – enough to pin you back in your seat, and never feeling inadequate when you step on the accelerator.
The only downside to all this horsepower is that it doesn’t kick in until 6800rpm. That means that for most of your driving, you won’t be comfortably ensconed in its power band.
A six-speed automatic transmission doesn’t have a manual mode but does feature a “sport” mode in which the shift-points are drastically changed. You’ll find that gears are held much longer in this mode, providing a definite sporty “feel.”
If you’re looking to save a few dollars and don’t mind a downgrade in power, there are two 4-cylinder models available and a V6 model with front-wheel-drive as well.
Honda uses very high-quality leather upholstery which provides a very comfortable feel and look to the entire interior. The Crosstour is technically a 5-passenger vehicle. Overall seat comfort was good and there’s plenty of legroom and headroom for four adults. However, I believe the middle seat would be a bit cramped for any adult over 5’4” tall on longer trips.
The rear cargo area is huge and comes with some nifty reversible panels that provide a rubberized area in the back for wet or damp items. Underneath this is a removable storage bin. If you need even more space for hauling stuff, the rear seats collapse down and add quite a bit more space.
The Crosstour’s entertainment system / NAV is the same unit we find in the recent Acuras and that’s not a bad thing. Overall sound quality here is actually better than the Acura MDX and RDX that I checked out last year and I believe that’s due, in part, to the subwoofer’s coupling with the rear cargo area. There is a much fuller sound present in the Crosstour with a far better bass response. While there is a center channel with Dolby Pro Logic II available, I found that it didn’t sound as natural or as clean as the normal 2-channel mode.
On the downside, mastering the system’s center control knob for Bluetooth audio, CD, MP3/wma and satellite radio may take a bit of time.
All of what I consider to be standard features for a car in this price range are present. That includes cruise control, tilt wheel, power windows, power mirrors, and heated seats.
Honda tackles the blind-spot issue in a rather interesting way. On the driver’s side, the mirror has an outer portion that captures a wider angle and for the passenger side, the screen on the dash uses a camera to show you what’s next to you before switching lanes.
The Crosstour’s ride quality is very smooth yet somewhat firm. It handles a bit more towards the SUV side of things than that of a sedan. I found freeway noise to be about average and the smoothness of its ride to be quite nice. It doesn’t have too harsh a suspension either. When you go over speed bumps or hit bumpy roads, it handles these scenarios with a good amount of suspension damping. Not too rough and not too soft.
In the end, I believe the Crosstour has hit its mark of being a “crossover of a crossover.” It’s competitively priced, gets decent fuel economy (EPA: 19/28) and makes for a rather nifty utilitarian vehicle. My only real criticisms are reserved for the huge rear pillars which greatly hamper visibility, as well as the vehicle’s use of a two-section rear window – mainly because the rear wiper doesn’t cover it all.
Those relatively small complaints aside, I’d encourage you to test-drive a Crosstour if you’re in the market for a new crossover and one that’s slightly outside of the norm.
Priced from: $37,920
Honda’s website: http://automobiles.honda.com