All Photos: Anne Proffit
I've been a fan of Honda vehicles since the first Civic appeared back when most of you weren't even born.
It was small, light, agile and filled with attitude - something that continued to be the hallmark of all Honda vehicles for its first quarter-century or so in the American market.
Then it appears that Honda, like so many of us, started dieting on junk food, getting larger and less fun to play with as time went on. This situation has reached an apex with the Honda Accord Crosstour, the largest car offering by Honda in the United States (its trucks are larger, for the most part).
The 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour 2WD EX-L evokes a lot of different feelings from me. On the one hand, I really like its sloping roof-line contours and utilitarian hatchback design. The massive front end looks brutally powerful and the pronounced shoulders evoke the same response. From its triple-bar grille to its upswept rear deck, the new Honda Accord Crosstour sure looks nasty - the double pipes at the back don't hurt either.
Then why am I so ambivalent?
Maybe it's because the Accord Crosstour fills a need I didn't know existed? Maybe it's because the Crosstour is everything Honda never said it would be - large, heavy and lacking in agility? Maybe I just don't get it?
Make no mistake about it, the 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour EX-L has plenty of good things going for it. In most respects, it's just a couple of inches bigger than the Accord sedan, at 196.8 inches long, 74.7 inches wide and standing 7.6 inches taller at 65.7 inches than the sedan. The wheelbase is a tenth of an inch shorter at 110.1 inches, but weight here takes its toll.
The standard EX-L sedan has a four-cylinder engine and the Crosstour sports a V-6, so that it weighs 3887 pounds as opposed to the sedan's 3421. The 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 has 271 horsepower at 6200 rpm (redline is 6750 rpm) and 254 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm, typically high for Honda.
A five-speed automatic transmission with grade logic control is the only one offered and can't be shifted manually. I guess Honda assumes nobody who's into a sporting sedan/hatch would want to shift this? And why no six-speed automatic for fuel-saving efforts?
The all-wheel independent suspension on this front-wheel-drive machine includes double wishbone and multi-link suspensions with stabilizer bars. Variable assist rack-and-pinion power steering is a bit on the light side. All-wheel ABS-equipped disc brakes have electronic brakeforce distribution and tire pressure monitoring is present. Honda fits Michelin 225/60R rubber on five-spoke 18-inch alloy rims; the wheels are handsome and tires are quiet and durable.
Mileage is 18/27 mpg from the 18.5-gallon tank, which can give up to 500 miles in cruise-control-assisted highway driving. I didn't refill the tank during our week together and there was no trip computer on the car to tell me the range or even trip mileage. That's only available with the navigation system, which this Crosstour didn't have.
There were no options on the 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour 2WD EX-L in tango red pearl with ivory leather interior. With destination, the total vehicle cost is $33,470. Included in that price are some excellent items, such as the leather seats and steering wheel, a 350-watt, seven-speaker audio system, XM satellite radio, steering wheel-mounted controls for audio (left), phone (lower left) and the really good cruise control on the right. There are dual climate controls and the front windows have an auto-up feature. Floor mats are included as is a one-touch power moonroof.
It was difficult to see the center screen, even though it is recessed into the dash. No problem with the black gauges and their white numbers and blue pointers. Honda does have both temp and fuel gauges on this car. In reverse, the left mirror dips but not the right, and what's with that? There are plenty of hard plastics throughout the interior, which might be nice for the utility of the Crosstour but doesn't lend itself to any luxurious pretensions.
There are cupholders in all four doors, two in the central tunnel area and two in the rear, pulldown armrest. There is air flow for the rear seat passengers, a nice touch by Honda, and seat pockets for storage. The central covered storage/armrest area in the front area of the cabin has a removal tray, 12-volt plug, auxiliary and USB plugs. There are two seat memories for the driver's chair which has lumbar support but very little lateral assistance. The front passenger seat has power operation.
The covered hatch area is commodious to say the least - it has 25.7 cubic feet of storage with the seats up that expands to 51.3 cubic feet with rear seats folded. I particularly like the fact that the carpeted area can be easily reversed to rubber-topped so that the cargo hold is easy to keep clean. There's also plenty of subfloor storage.
Families may find the 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour a worthy addition to the garage area; I just wish it were more Honda-like in terms of agility and concessions to comfort and convenience for the driver. The last "real" Honda car built is, I believe, the late S2000 roadster, which exemplified the simplicity of Honda cars from the past and pointed toward the fun of driving in the future. Unfortunately, the Accord Crosstour is a bit too bland for my taste.
© 2011 Anne Proffit