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Large MAV: 2010 Honda Crosstour (Honda)
Large MAV: 2010 Honda Crosstour (Honda)

2010 Honda Crosstour

Crossing the boundaries Add to ...

Honda apparently doesn't have very lofty ambitions for the 2010 Accord Crosstour crossover-cum-wagon it introduced last fall - they'd be happy if 3,000 or so were sold this year - but it might just surprise them.

The Crosstour can be looked upon as either a replacement for the not-seen-since-the-mid-'90s Accord wagon or a rather neat looking new niche player in the crossover segment. And not only does it have an interesting look and personality, but its $34,900 starting price is, a little equipment level juggling aside, right there with the Accord EX-L V-6 sedan.

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This means it just about squeaks into the bordering-on-luxury segment. And as intended, and as the name implies, it offers considerably more versatility for the active 50-something's it's aimed at than the sedan.

Honda's happy either way people look at it. As a range expander for Accord, which along with other mid-sizers is losing ground in the Canadian market mix. Or as a new player in the crossover segment, slotting in between the CR-V and the more traditional approach and larger Pilot.

The Crosstour, which went on sale in November comes in three EX-L versions all with V-6 power, the entry level model we're looking at here comes with front-wheel drive and a $34,900 price tag. The AWD EX-L starts at $36,900 and the premium version, with navigation, backup camera and other odds and ends is $38,900.

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Not everybody I've talked to likes the - some say rather heavy-haunched - styling of the Crosstour, but apart from some "busy-ness" up front I think it looks striking.

The made-in-U.S. Crosstour is built on a version of the new in 2008 eighth generation Accord platform and is 4,999 mm or about 70 mm longer than the sedan. It's also taller and wider and its 1,755 kg in FWD and 1,845 kg in AWD form top the Accord V-6's 1,637 kg.

In a hat-tip to rough-roadability, not off-roadability, its ground clearance has been increased by 6 mm. Handling on pavement was obviously the priority and the double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension have been fitted with noticeably - through the seat of your pants - firm springs and dampers. But ride, while not allowing bumps to pass unnoticed, won't draw complaints.

Steering is more important than acceleration in how a vehicle makes you feel about it and the Crosstour's has decent weight and that in-touch-with-the-front-wheels feel. And with the tautly-tuned suspension this makes the Crosstour - despite its heft - responsive and pleasant to drive either on a back road's curves or flat four-lane.

The Crosstour also borrows the single-overhead-cam, i-VTEC, 3.5 litre, V-6 from the Accord, which makes 271 hp at 6,200 rpm and 254 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Its Variable Cylinder Management system lets it operate on three, four or all six cylinders, to improve fuel economy - which is rated at 11.5 L/100 km city and 7.2 L/100 km highway for the FWD model, and 12.3 L/100 km city and 8.0 L/100 km highway for the AWD model.

This engine also delivers plenty of performance, stepping off like it means it and accelerating up to speed with as much alacrity as anybody will ever need. Drivability is aided by the five-speed automatic transmission's new electronics that don't allow it to up-shift during cornering.

The base Crosstour isn't exactly lavishly endowed, but it does come with most of the things the term "nicely equipped" is usually used for. These include 16-inch alloy wheels, power/heated mirrors, projector beam headlights with auto on/off, fog lights, power moonroof, speed sensing wipers, dual zone climate control, compass, remote entry system and cruise control.

The rest of the list reads; exterior temp readout, tilt/telescope steering column, 60/40 split rear seatback, power, heated driver and front passenger seats with memory and leather upholstery, and a premium 360 watt, seven speaker (with tweeters and sub-woofer) sound system you can plug all kinds of things into. Bluetooth connectivity wasn't offered as standard equipment initially but this oversight has since been corrected.

Safety features include front, side and side curtain airbag systems plus active head restraints, ABS and vehicle stability and traction control.

The Interior is essentially Accord sedan and thus not particularly rich looking, but pleasant enough with its stitched leather and no-trees-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-this-car "wood" trim. Blue highlighted instruments look okay, front seats are comfortably and highway noise levels acceptably low.

Only two will be comfortable in the back, and while there's a useful 728 litres of cargo space under the rear lift-gate with the seatback up, there's only 1,453 litres (historical note: the mid-90s Accord wagon had 1,792 litres of cargo space) with it folded. Plus another 52 litres in an under-floor space. Towing capacity is a meagre 680 kg.

Most vehicles that pass through my hands these days do what they were designed to do very well, but after returning them few actually leave me with the feeling that hey, I really liked that vehicle. The Crosstour is one that generated that response.

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2010 Honda Crosstour EX-L 2WD

Type: Crossover

Price: $34,900/$34,900

Engine: 3.5 litre, SOHC, V6.

Drive: Front wheel drive.

Transmission: Five-speed automatic.

Horsepower/torque: 271 hp/ 245 lb-ft.

Fuel economy: 11.5 L/100 km city 7.2 L/100 km hwy (regular gas).

Alternatives: BMW X3, Volvo X60, Chevrolet Equinox LTZ, Ford Edge, GMC Terrain SLT, Honda CR-V EX-L, Infiniti EX35, Mazda CX-7 GT, Nissan Murano, Subaru Outback, Toyota RAV4 Limited, Volkswagen Tigaun Highline.

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