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2014 Honda Crosstour

2014 Honda Crosstour

The Basics:

The Honda Crosstour is no Accord Wagon, and it should be. Instead, it's fairly invisible on the market, where its hatchback body style doesn't look as neat as the Accord sedan on which it used to be based, or as practical as a true wagon.

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid, two new entries into the growing mid-size sedan hybrid segment, are more pleasant to drive than a Prius, more spacious than a Volt, and offer all the usual virtues of the popular Accord range.

Commonalities between the Crosstour and Accord are now few, to the detriment of the former. Instead, the Crosstour is more a huskier cousin to the Accord with handling suiting its heft. At first glance, the Crosstour's shape promises increased utility over its three-box Accord sedan relative. It grows heels, adding a couple extra inches of ground clearance and a 4-inch taller roof over the Accord, greatly improving ease of access for passengers. Drivers and front passengers are welcomed by generous space in the first row, but rear-seat riders are penalized by the Crosstour's sloping roofline and teardrop cabin that makes headroom an issue for the taller among us. The Crosstour's cargo carrying ability introduces additional disappointment as its strut towers intrude into the trunk. Thankfully, the rear seats fold opening up the cabin for more cargo and a large storage area, large enough for bigger electronics or a briefcase, exists under the cargo floor. The floor itself can be flipped to reveal an uncarpeted, east-clean surface if you choose to haul around dirtier items.

Honda fits the Crosstour with the same four- and six-cylinder engines as before. You'll likely be pleased by the performance of the smaller 192-horsepower inline-4, which finds itself married to a five-speed automatic transmission. For those seeking a bit more power, Honda's new 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6—dubbed Earth Dreams—cranks out 252 pound-feet of torque and sends that power through a six-speed automatic transmission. The later powertrain also comes with paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel if you want to feel like Ayrton Senna on your weekly shop. The Accord sedan has adopted a new front strut suspension layout for better tuneability, but the Crosstour continues with the double-wishbone setup that's been a point of pride for many Honda fans. Front and rear stabilizer bars, a front strut tower bar, and hydraulic power steering—the last of which is no longer offered in the new Accord—further aid the Crosstour's handling.

Fuel economy remains the same as last year: Four-cylinder models see 22 mpg city and 31 mpg on the Environmental Protection Agency's test cycles. The V-6 achieves ratings of 20 mpg city and 29 mph highway. Adding all-wheel drive to the mix brings those numbers down by 1 to 2 mpg.

But is the Crosstour just an Accord+? In a word, no. It doesn't possess the driving dynamics of the Accord and the Crosstour's additional characteristics—such as increased ground clearance—don't make up for the extra cost. If anything, the Crosstour feels like a heavier, taller, and less agile version of the Accord, weighing a significant 300 to 500 pounds more than the Accord across that model's entire trim range.

Honda's most recent Crosstour attempts to cast it as more of a crossover. Unfortunately, it may not go far enough, looking more like an overwrought wagon than anything approaching a rugged SUV. Wearing a five-door bodystyle with a hatch instead of a liftgate and a rounded roofline, the Crosstour appears afflicted with a hunchback. However, the design revisions last year also gave the Crosstour a face resembling that of the newest Accord sedan, featuring a slotted grille with more visual width. And a crossover can't exist without plastic cladding, so Honda added more near the Crosstour's doorsill and wheelwells. The exterior product is a vehicle that's not enough of an SUV and too much of a hatchback for American tastes. At least the refresh brought improved materials to the interior, again following a path blazed by the new Accord.

The NHTSA hasn't rated the Crosstour, but the IIHS gives it a "good" score in available tests; it hasn't been subjected to the new small-overlap test. Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot display, a system triggered by the turn signal that displays a wide-angle view of the side of the vehicle on the dash's screen, is fitted to the Crosstour, while lane departure and forward-collision warning enhance the Crosstour's safety-feature set. Its rear headrests were additionally reshaped for improved visibility.

Honda lowered prices marginally last year and improved content. The Crosstour EX now has standard automatic climate control with filtration, Bluetooth, USB input, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and an automatically dimming rearview mirror. Top-trim V-6 models in EX-L trim add dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, and HondaLink with enhances functionality for Aha, Pandora and Internet radio.

Buying Tips:

The cargo space in the Honda Crosstour ends up being somewhat more confined than in other crossover or hatchback models its size. So before you buy, fold down the seats and make sure there's enough space for your typical weekend activities.

Other Choices:

  • 2014 Acura TSX
  • 2014 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2014 Subaru Outback
  • 2014 BMW X6
  • 2014 Toyota Venza

Reason Why:

The Crosstour finds its most direct competition at a Japanese rival, Toyota's Venza. The Camry-based Venza is more practical than the Crosstour, embodying more wagon and car characteristics. Oddly, the Acura TSX Wagon, which is more or less a redesigned version of the European-market Honda Accord Wagon, offers more interior space, a sportier drive, and returns better fuel economy than the Crosstour, as does the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagon. Buyers looking for ruggedness can find it in the Subaru Outback, where they'll be surprisingly met with a more spacious and usable interior.

The Bottom Line:

The 2014 Honda Crosstour doesn't have a clear niche: it promises more room than the excellent Accord sedan, but doesn't net much extra space under its hatch.

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