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2015 Honda Crosstour

2015 Honda Crosstour

The Basics:

The Honda Crosstour isn't the return of the Accord Wagon that many missed from generations past. And that's too bad. Instead, it's a tweener crossover vehicle with a hatchback shape that's less practical than a wagon or full-figured crossover, with styling that doesn't share the Accord sedan's taut lines. Its major selling point, aside from a little more cargo space, is that it offers all-wheel drive, while all Accord four-doors make do with front-wheel drive.

The 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid is a handsome sedan that delivers high gas mileage under real-world conditions; its biggest disappointment has been how few of them Honda is making.

When the Crosstour first hit showrooms, it was actually called Accord Crosstour. This made sense, since it was based on the Accord sedan sold at that time. Since then, it has dropped the Accord name, while the Accord itself has moved on to a new generation, leaving the Crosstour behind as a husky relative with sluggish handling.

True to its name, the Crosstour offers Americans some SUV-esque appeal, teasing more utility than what may be found in Honda's sedan, the Accord. It rides a couple inches higher than its four-door sibling, and its roof reaches about 4-inches taller overall. Its front row offers enough room for drivers and front passengers to have spirited, expressive hand-waving conversations without fear of inadvertently hitting each other, but rear space is compromised by a sloping roofline and a greenhouse tapering inward, cramping headroom. Aft of the rear seat, strut towers encroach on the Crosstour's cargo area, which is only saved by rear seatback that flip forward to make the space more usable. However, if there's one bright spot about the Crosstour's trunk, it's the big storage area beneath its floor. It's large enough for a laptop bag or briefcase, and its lid can be flipped revealing an easy-to-clean surface for dirtier cargo, like a muddy pair of boots.

Unchanged from the year before, two engines—in inline-4 and V-6 formats—power the Crosstour. The majority of buyers will find the smaller, 192-horsepower four-cylinder wholly adequate for the day-to-day duties of family life. It's mated exclusively to a five-speed automatic with front-wheel drive. Honda's newest Earth Dreams engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet or torque, sends power to the Crosstour's front or four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. That transmission can be manually shifted through steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Once a point of pride for Honda enthusiasts, the Crosstour rides on the double-wishbone front suspension previously used by the Accord. (During its last redesign, the Accord switched to a front-strut suspension layout for easier ride and handling tuning, Honda claimed.) Front and rear stabilizer bars further enhance the Crosstour's handling, while hydaulic power steering gives better feedback than the electric power steering systems fitted to other models in Honda's lineup, including the newer Accord.

Fuel economy also lags behind that of an Accord sedan, but it's decent compared to true, boxier crossovers. Four-cylinder models are rated by the EPA at 22 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway, while the front-drive V-6 now gets ratings of 20/30 mpg. The V-6-only all-wheel-drive models aren't far behind, with ratings of 19/28 mpg.

The Crosstour drives as its spec sheet suggests: like a 300- to 500-pound heavier, somewhat taller, and less nimble Honda Accord. With or without that knowledge, you'll be surprised to find that the Accord sedan's nimble feel is simply missing here, especially at lower speeds.

The NHTSA has rated the Crosstour only in its rollover tests, awarding it four stars out of five. The IIHS gives it a 'good' score in available tests--it hasn't been subjected to the new small-overlap test. Its safety-feature set includes available Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). It also offers Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot display, which shows a wide-angle view alongside the vehicle's passenger side when you activate the right turn signal.

The base EX model includes a nice complement of standard equipment, such as an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, USB input, steering wheel-mounted controls, and air conditioning. Top-trim EX-L models get leather-upholstered heated seats with matching leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climater control, and HondaLink infotainment with enhanced voice-to-text SMS functionality and additional integration with the Pandora smartphone music streaming app. The V-6 is available at either trim level, while all-wheel drive can only be found on six-cylinder EX-L models.

Buying Tips:

Before you sign on the dotted line for a Crosstour, fold down its rear seats to ensure it provides ample space for your family's travel and weekend activities. Because the cargo area pinches in on the sides and the roof slopes down, some bulkier items may not fit.

Other Choices:

  • 2015 BMW X4
  • 2015 Volkswagen Golf
  • 2015 Subaru Outback
  • 2015 BMW X6
  • 2015 Toyota Venza

Reason Why:

The Toyota Venza is probably the closest competitor to the Crosstour, but the Toyota offers more practicality. The Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen offers more interior room, a sportier driving experience, and returns better fuel economy thanks to its TDI powerplant, but it lacks the all-wheel-drive availability of the Crosstour. 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 2015 Honda Crosstour straddles the line between a comfortable and nimble Accord sedan and a larger, more practical crossover vehicle, with some benefits and drawbacks to accompany the muddied mission.

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