Thursday, November 7, 2013

Honda's Crosstour defies traditional labels

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

This review originally appeared in the October 2013 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California ­– I had a Honda Crosstour once before, and it was pitched to me as a sport-utility vehicle.

To which I said: Really?

OK, you get four doors, five seats and a back end that yawns open wide for cargo, but the look is decidedly sedan-hatchback.  If you’re thinking crossover, the scales tilt decidedly toward the sedan side.

Which is OK.  I can see the Crosstour providing small families, large families and everything in between with comfort and convenience for many a year.  Just be sure to eyeball this vehicle carefully at the dealership, just so you have a good idea in your head of what it is and what it can do.

My tester was the 2013 Crosstour 4WD EX-L V6 with navigation, which translated to a fairly hefty starting price of $37,090 (please note, a two-wheel drive Crosstour EX starts at $27,230).  Happily, the sticker on my Crosstour included everything and the kitchen sink.

The starndard list included leather-trimmed seats/steering wheel, the aforementioned nav system, steering wheel-mounted controls, a driver’s 10-way power seat with two-option memory, heated front seats, a forward collision-warning system, a lane-departure warning system, a power moonroof and Honda’s blind-spot driver’s helper on the right side of the vehicle.

That last feature – Honda calls it “LaneWatch” ­– equates to giving you a real-time rearview camera view of the vehicle’s right side in the center nav screen when you snap on the right-turn signal.

Yeah, that’s pretty cool.  It certainly gives you a good view of that pesky bicycle rider coming up on your right side when you’re trying to make a simple right turn.  That alone might save you a lawsuit, or worse.
As for the lane-departure and forward-warning collision systems, I found them unnecessarily sensitive.

On the fly, the comparatively high-riding Crosstour is nothing like an SUV.  It’s a nicely performing sedan all the way, with more than enough power provided by a 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 278 horsepower.  The ride is smooth, quiet and even in straight lines, on city streets or on twisty mountain roads.  A sturdy suspension swallows up most road bumps.

And gas mileage with the V-6 is fair at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Interior features were smartly laid out and within reach.  For once, I did not need to dive deep into the owner’s manual to figure out the various sound, entertainment and nav systems.

Overall, this vehicle gets a solid “B” grade and shapes up as a nice fit for somebody who just wants a little bit of SUV in his/her vehicle.  The Crosstour is no brute.  But it’s functional and easy to drive.

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