The 2013 Honda Crosstour has been slightly updated inside and out, and is being branded as a versatile vehicle. They’re not going to be able to sell it to the masses on looks, to be sure, so let’s have a look at it from the versatility perspective and see if this divisive Honda has what it takes.
Pricing: 2013 Honda Crosstour
Base price (EX-L 2WD trim): $32,650
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $34,390
Under the Hood
This is the second-from-the-bottom trim, which means it has the 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine. It puts out 192 horsepower at 7000 RPM and a paltry 162 lb.ft of torque at 4400 RPM. That’s not paltry, you shout. Well, yes it is – when it’s trying to motivate a 3734 pound vehicle around town, it is. Honda stays old-school here, sending the power through a relatively dated 5-speed automatic and on to the front wheels.
Fuel economy is rated at 9.4 L/100 km (25 mpg) in the city and a very impressive 6.4 L/100 km (37 mpg) on the highway. During my week of commuting in slow-going traffic, the occasional freeway jaunt and two quick rips down the highway, I averaged an excellent 9.7 L/100 km (24 mpg). The tank holds 70 litres.
Well, here’s the Crosstour’s real issue. Regular readers will know I’m a wagon and van kinda guy, which lets these kinds of vehicles get away with a lot in terms of styling. But the Crosstour took even me for a surprise, and after a week with it, there were still a few angles I couldn’t get past. It’s a strange looking vehicle, to be sure. The Honda literature uses the byline “Beauty and Brawn.” Right. I’m almost positive nobody in their right mind would argue for the “beauty” part here. But let’s get through this together and move on.
The 2013 has gotten a few little cosmetic upgrades, and the front bumper and grille certainly give it much more appeal as it’s coming down the road toward you. Honda says it’s “more rugged and aggressive” – that’s a bit rich, but OK. The rear benefits from a new bumper and dual exhausts, and I can say that the whole package looks a little more unified and tied together.
But you can’t get past that bubble butt. It’s out there, and I guess it’s pretty much love it or hate it. I know some Crosstour owners are absolutely head-over-heels over this car, and that’s cool. I wouldn’t say it’s a good-looking vehicle from the back. Any angle from the back draws your eye to the hunch-backed design language.
The lower trim level’s 17″ rims (wearing 225/65s) look pretty …. lower trim level, I guess. Certainly the 18-inchers on the V6 are more attractive.
The updated Crosstour has really benefited here. The revised interior is significantly improved and although the dash is still made up of hard plastics, everything comes across as more refined, luxurious and current. It appears that the Crosstour got access to some of the parts bins for the Accord. I liked the stitched panels on the door, which gives the cabin an upscale, somewhat luxurious feeling. Unfortunately, the terrible glossy wood trim on the dash and console isn’t convincing. The Crosstour is big and it feels big inside.
The heated leather seats are power-adjustable and there is a 2-position memory for the driver’s seat. In front of you, the steering wheel has controls for cruise, media, phone and the driver information screen and there are nice, clean and simple gauges behind it.
The center stack houses Honda’s new two-screen system which we’ve seen in the Accord and the Odyssey now. It takes a bit to get used to. The upper screen is more of an information center, where the lower touch screen is where you do your work – there is also a rotary knob to help you control it. Together, they help you manage your media, phone and vehicle settings. I wasn’t smitten with the sound system. It’s middling at best. Controls for the dual-zone automatic climate control flank the lower screen – it’s strange to have them split up like that. The center console holds the gear selector, a parking brake lever, two cupholders and a big armrest.
An average-sized tilt/slide sunroof sits overhead and you get a bit of driver assistance tech – a lane-departure warning system, LaneWatch (Honda’s blind-spot camera that shows you what’s in your blind-spot on one of the screens when you signal to the right) and a back-up camera.
The second row offers plenty of space. I found the head room and leg room to be excellent for my 5’10” frame. There are three seats, each with a seatbelt and a headrest back here. The Crosstour is unusual in that it actually offers enough space width-wise for three adults to sit back there.
Honda adds adjustable air vents at the back of the center console. The middle seatback folds down to become an armrest with a couple of cupholders and there are two seatback map pockets.
There are two sets of LATCH connectors for kids’ seats, and our brood of three found themselves with ample room and liked sitting back there in spacious comfort.
There are a number of places to store stuff around the cabin. You get good, usable door bins and a decent glove compartment. The center stack has a small horizontal bin with a flip-up lid near the bottom, and an open drop-in bin right below it – it’s rubberized and great for phones. Behind that, at the front of the console, are two flip-up lids – one covers a 12V plug, and one covers another small rubberized bin. There is a large bin under the armrest, where you’ll also find the USB and auxiliary plugs, as well as another 12V outlet.
Of course, with a rump this size, you’d expect the trunk space to deliver. It’s pretty good, but that sloping window does bite into the cargo space somewhat. You get 728 litres to start with. Fold the rear seats down (they split 60/40, and fold easily using release levers in the trunk for each side) and you’ll have 1453 litres to work with.
I really liked the flexibility of the trunk space. First of all, there’s significant under-floor storage in a water-proof box. And then there are the reversible trunk floor panels – carpeted on one side, and all-weather rubber on the other side. Love it!
The 4-cylinder Crosstour is not fast. As a matter of fact, it feels sluggish going through any of the gears, even the lower ones. The engine always feels like it’s working hard, unless you’re really taking it easy. Above 4000 RPM or so, it gets noisy and raspy and feels like it’s going to run out of breath. On top of that, the Crosstour always feels heavy. Which it is.
I found the ride to be pretty good, and the overall handling capability is surprisingly good for a car this big. It always felt planted, and even though there’s plenty of body roll, the car turned in nicely and felt easy to throw into corners, all things considered.
I was quite surprised by the noisiness under some conditions. The most noticeable (other passengers commented on it too) was the road noise, which became a real issue especially as you approach and maintain highway speeds. Visibility out of the Crosstour is OK except for the rear view. It is obstructed by the rear headrests, and THEN it’s bisected by the ridiculous Prius-like split rear window. Terrible!
I don’t think the Crosstour is the kind of vehicle that people end up seeing during a car shopping trip and just falling in love with. Or at least that probably doesn’t happen very often. It’s really come across as a love-it or hate-it kind of ride during my week with it. I spoke to a couple of owners who wouldn’t consider buying anything else. I spoke to a few onlookers who couldn’t get over how ugly it was.
What’s not up for debate is that it’s a relatively comfortable, spacious and efficient (in the 4-cylinder guise) vehicle that offers a lot of flexibility and room. If that’s what you’re looking for, and you find yourself thinking that the Crosstour is a fetching vehicle with its curvaceous rump, you’ll be happy with it. And you’ll be happy with the pricing for this trim.
I give the Crosstour a 6 out of 10.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was actually pretty high. She liked most things about it, except the rear end styling and the rear visibility.
The upper trims offer Honda’s awesome V-6, coupled with an all-wheel drive system. I’m certain that this would be a smoother, more powerful and even more sure-footed vehicle, however you can kiss your fuel efficiency good-bye, and tack on thousands more to the purchase price.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Honda Canada.
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