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Mudfest 2013: Tom's Hardware Helps Test 23 SUVs

Honda Crosstour

Honda has a long history of creating hatchback versions of its Civics and Accords. In fact, the Accord debuted as a hatchback. A sedan version followed a year later. The first-gen Accord hatchback was a more traditional square box, but that changed with the second-generation variant, which sported more coupe-like styling and the convenience of a hatchback. The aesthetic continued into the third-gen Accord, and then was put to rest with the follow-up to that when a more traditional station wagon emerged. Unfortunately the Accord wagon met its demise after only two generations.  

Meet the 2013 Honda Crosstour, refreshed with a little tweaking and more SUV-like styling. Honda drops the Accord brand, simply calling the car Crosstour. It slides in between the CRV and Pilot in Honda’s line-up.

Honda implemented somewhat controversial design elements. The front half looks like a familiar Accord, while the back half is a mix of the sloped rears of '80s hatchbacks with a window typical of wagons. Add in more rugged cladding that reminds us of Subaru's Outback, and you can see why we call the Crosstour hit or miss. We're frankly not very fond of it.

Our Crosstour arrived with the Honda navigation system featuring Aha Radio and Pandora compatibility. Two displays come installed: an eight-inch Multi-Information Display takes the top-center spot and a smaller touchscreen sits where you traditionally find a radio. We found the configuration a little odd, though the touchscreen's purpose changes depending on the app or mode being used, leaving the larger display for conveying information. There wasn’t enough time for us to explore all of the available capabilities, but our HTC Droid DNA paired easily. It just didn't support text messaging or any other niceties.

Also, our iPad plugged in and functioned as-expected. Honda was one of the first manufacturers to announce Siri Eyes-Free support. Unfortunately, the Crosstour did not have this function implemented. We asked the Honda rep about it and he mentioned the feature is still in beta.  

The Crosstour employs the same drivetrain as Acura's RDX: a 3.5-liter “Earth Dreams” V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and Real Time AWD system. Power delivery consequently feels a lot like the RDX, though Honda's Crosstour puts you closer to the ground. Real Time AWD starts off feeling a lot like front-wheel drive in the Crosstour as well, with a tendency to understeer before power is sent to the rear wheels.

While blind-spot detection systems are becoming popular among family-class vehicles, Honda’s answer to the blinding question is to install a camera. Honda LaneWatch technology installs a camera on the passenger side mirror that automatically turns on when you use the right turn signal. The camera displays on the vehicles MID display and provides a live view of the car’s blind spot. You can also manually turn on the LaneWatch camera with a press of the button mounted on the turn signal stalk too. We found this feature pretty cool and imagine it’d be quite useful for daily driving.

When it comes to safety aids, our Crosstour sample came with Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning technologies. These passive systems rely on a small camera mounted above the rear-view mirror, sounding off audible and visual warnings in the instrument cluster when you veer out of the lane or a potential collision is detected.

Vehicle Specifications
Vehicle2013 Honda Crosstour
Trim level4WD EX-L Navigation V6
Engine3.5 L "Earth Dreams" V6
TransmissionSix-speed automatic with paddle shifters
DrivetrainReal Time AWD
InfotainmentHonda Navigation System
Notable featuresForward collision warningLane departure warningRear multi-view cameraLaneWatch
Fuel economy19 city, 28 highway, 22 combined MPG
MSRP$37,920
  • Super_Nova
    Very slow newsweek
    Reply
  • flong777
    Interesting but with so little time per vehicle, the results are obviously suspect. I believe the Wrangler is the best off-road vehicle, not sure about the rest. But that conclusion come from more in depth reviews which actually "review" the vehicle.
    Reply
  • Johnny_C13
    Well, at least the Grand Cherokee can (literally) run (on) Crysis... but I wonder if it starts faster with an SSD?
    Reply
  • MU_Engineer
    Anybody find it funny that the vehicle largely based on WWII era technology does the best in the offroad tests while the newer, high-tech "tall wagons with AWD" get stuck in more than a couple inches of snow? Just like tablets, phones, and laptops aren't going to make desktops go away, unit-body transverse-engine four-banger cars aren't going to replace body-on-frame trucks with solid axles and leaf springs when you need to do real work. The even funnier thing is that an "ancient" carbureted pushrod V8 and manual transmission would have made the Wrangler perform *better* in the offroad tests than the 8-speed slushbox and fancy twin-cam V6 car engine.
    Reply
  • ammaross
    Stopped reading when I saw the Toyota 4Runner wasn't in the mix.
    Reply
  • ammaross
    Stopped reading when I saw the Toyota 4Runner wasn't in the mix.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    10968917 said:
    Interesting but with so little time per vehicle, the results are obviously suspect. I believe the Wrangler is the best off-road vehicle, not sure about the rest. But that conclusion come from more in depth reviews which actually "review" the vehicle.

    Its a great offroad vehicle for the price. The other two are capable vehicles, but the buyer demographic will never take them offroad.

    10969315 said:
    Anybody find it funny that the vehicle largely based on WWII era technology does the best in the offroad tests while the newer, high-tech "tall wagons with AWD" get stuck in more than a couple inches of snow? Just like tablets, phones, and laptops aren't going to make desktops go away, unit-body transverse-engine four-banger cars aren't going to replace body-on-frame trucks with solid axles and leaf springs when you need to do real work. The even funnier thing is that an "ancient" carbureted pushrod V8 and manual transmission would have made the Wrangler perform *better* in the offroad tests than the 8-speed slushbox and fancy twin-cam V6 car engine.

    Mechanical technology has its uses but the WWII Era vehicles are awful for comfort and driving feel. Not going to lie though, the G-wagen is one sexy beast IMO. The Wrangler is only a 6-speed auto iirc, but there's a company that offers HEMI conversions :D.

    10969432 said:
    Stopped reading when I saw the Toyota 4Runner wasn't in the mix.

    Toyota didn't submit any vehicles, disappointingly. Was hoping the 5th Gen 4Runner and new RAV4 would be there :(.
    Reply
  • joe gamer
    Holy crap these are expensive vehicles, who is buying these monsters? I make $60k a year and live comfortably but there is no way I could afford any of these. The HYUNDAI clocked in at over $35k....The painfully anemic Subaru(with what has to be the worst manual I've ever used) is still over $20K and it's terrible, poor power, poor gas mileage, poor off road performance, ugly styling, shitty electronics, and only moderate interior room...but that's the only one in my price range? How poor am I exactly?

    Seriously the WRX transmission is quite nice, how the hell did all of their others end up to be so godawful?

    Guess I'm stuck with my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo until I can win the lottery...oil burning, gas guzzling eyesore it may be but hey the money I saved will buy me a decades worth of gas.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    10969918 said:
    Holy crap these are expensive vehicles, who is buying these monsters? I make $60k a year and live comfortably but there is no way I could afford any of these. The HYUNDAI clocked in at over $35k....The painfully anemic Subaru(with what has to be the worst manual I've ever used) is still over $20K and it's terrible, poor power, poor gas mileage, poor off road performance, ugly styling, shitty electronics, and only moderate interior room...but that's the only one in my price range? How poor am I exactly?

    Seriously the WRX transmission is quite nice, how the hell did all of their others end up to be so godawful?

    Guess I'm stuck with my 1999 Isuzu Rodeo until I can win the lottery...oil burning, gas guzzling eyesore it may be but hey the money I saved will buy me a decades worth of gas.

    Nothing wrong with an old Isuzu, before GM raped and pillaged them :(. Cars are so expensive nowadays, you're about as poor as I am, but add in two kids and a wife. The WRX has a nice manual because its a performance vehicle. Manuals in economy cars are usually sloppy. long throws and not very exciting, which is why I hate to say to get the auto in economy cars. But, the XV Crosstrek could probably be fixed with a short throw shifter, that usually does wonders.

    Reply
  • JPNpower
    Why are you using SUVs in the mud!!! These things belong in parking lots at the mall!
    Reply