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2010 Honda Accord Crosstour
Honda hatches a new Accord with more style and cargo capacity
By Malcolm Gunn
You can't please all the people all of the time as Honda discovered after releasing pre-launch photos of its new Accord Crosstour.
The entire Internet blogosphere seemed to erupt with armchair automotive stylists waxing non-poetic and generally not-fit-to-print criticisms concerning the Crosstour's looks.
Simply put, they're wrong.
While no raving beauty (few cars actually qualify for that lofty description), the Crosstour should easily win plenty of popularity awards. It's altogether pleasing to the eye in a rugged sort of way, provides plenty of space for people and especially their belongings, offers decent performance and can handle most weather-influenced road conditions when the optional four-wheel-drive system has been added to the mix.
The decision-making process that ultimately led Honda to create a full-size multi-purpose hatchback seems quite logical in light of recent news that the automaker's upscale Acura division will bring a wagon version of its TSX sedan (not to be confused with the new ZDX) to North America next fall. With that design base covered, Honda's body shapers were free to sculpt something other a traditional wagon variant as they had done with previous Accords (and the approach that Toyota has taken with its Camry-based Venza).
The hatch on the Crosstour is its most prominent component and the portal that separates it from the rank-and-file Accord sedans. Additionally, the Crosstour features a more prominent snout and offers more ground clearance.
Raising the rear opening reveals a richly carpeted cargo hold that's nearly double the size of the sedan's. However, a flip of the twin levers positioned next to the inside fender wells releases the split-folding rear seat to significantly increase stowage room. However, don't count on as much available space as the Toyota Venza, Nissan Murano and other wagon-type vehicles.
One neat feature is the cover that conceals a briefcase-sized rear storage spot. Flip the carpeted side over and you have a hard plastic shell for placing muddy boots, wet clothing, towels, etc.
Honda is positioning the Crosstour at the premium end of the Accord scale and as such only offers the sedan's optional - and very lively - 271-horsepower 3.5-litre V6 connected to a five-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. The V6 has a deactivation program that shuts down two or three cylinders, depending on the engine load, to reduce fuel consumption under light load and level-cruise situations. Interestingly, the spark plugs continue to fire in the inactive cylinders to maintain plug temperatures and reduce the chances of fouling once the cylinders have been reactivated.
Honda's "Real Time" four-wheel-drive system, a $2,000 option on the Crosstour EX-L, works much like the version found on the brand's CR-V entry ute in that it only redirects power to the rear wheels when front-wheel slip is detected (that is, when the front wheels begin to turn more quickly than the rear wheels). Four-wheel-drive increases the curb weight by a modest 84 kilograms while also increasing city/highway l/100 km fuel consumption to 12.3/8.0 from 11.5/7.2 on front-wheel-drive versions.
Along with the expected power-operated components, the Crosstour EX-L (the only ,model available) includes dual-zone climate control, power moonroof, tilt and telescopic steering column, power-adjustable front seats and a 300-watt audio system with speed-sensitive volume control.
Also offered are leather-covered seats (heated in front), auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth hands-free communications link and 18-inch wheels.
Ordering the optional navigation system, one of the few extras you can add to the EX-L, also gets you redundant controls on the steering wheel.
Crosstour pricing begins at $36,450, including destination charges, and maxes out at $40,450 for the EX-L with navigation. That makes it nearly $2,500 more expensive than a comparably equipped Accord sedan, but easily worth it for anyone needing a more versatile and (doubting bloggers take note) visually appealing package.
What you should know: 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour
Type: Four-door, full-size front- /four-wheel-drive hatchback
Engine (hp): 3.5-litre SOHC V6 (271)
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Market position: The Crosstour is a unique Accord-sedan-based model that attempts to elevate the hatchback body style to a premium level of enhancement, aided by a lengthy list of standard equipment.
Points: While it might not win any art awards, the handsome hatchback stays a step or two ahead of its sedan counterpart; Handles as well as sedan version on twisty roads despite extra weight and taller ride height; Four-cylinder model with manual gearbox would appeal to fuel saving owners; Impressive luxury-leaning content; Automatic transmission activates rev-matching program when manually downshifting.
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control.
L/100 km(city/hwy): 11.5/7.2 (FWD)
Base price (incl. destination): $36,450
Base price: $43,100
Stylish G35-based wagon with plenty of performance and room for five.
Base price: $30,750
Good looking and practical with four-cylinder, optional V6 power.
Base price: $39,800
Popular, ruggedly built hauler looks good from any angle.
Malcolm Gunn is an automotive writer based in Moncton, NB, and a regular contributor to CarTest!
Posted February 3, 2010. © CarTest.ca TM