When Honda says the Accord Crosstour is based upon the Accord Sedan, they're not kidding. At a base weight of 3852 lbs (4070 lbs with AWD), the Accord Crosstour is almost exactly 300lbs heavier than the Accord EX V6, but in most everyday driving circumstances the driving feel is remarkably similar between the two vehicles. If you decide to probe the limits out on the twisties, the Crosstour has a bit more inherent understeer dialed in than the sedan, but it doesn't become pronounced until you surpass 7/10ths or so. At that point you'll be hearing a bit of howling from the modestly sized 225/60-18 tires (EX-L) as well as feeling the Accord Crosstour's higher roll center and added mass. My guess is that the vast majority of prospective owners will rarely approach this threshold in everyday driving, however.
It's clear that the Realtime All-Wheel-Drive system is not offered on the Accord Crosstour to enhance cornering performance. For the most part, its operation is so subtle that most people wouldn't even know it's there except to possibly note that the FWD version's trace amounts of wheelspin and torque steer are essentially absent in the AWD model.
For the most part, the Crosstour is a quiet and comfortable cruiser. Wind and road noise are dealt with pretty well, though on one portion of the freeway I briefly noticed a strange thrumming sound that sounded almost like a mild Helmholz effect, and there was so much going on at that moment, I couldn't quite figure out what caused it - the first thing I did was to try raising all of the windows (in case one was cracked open), but it may have been a pattern of seams in the road surface that caused it. In any case, it is something I will watch for the next time I get into a Crosstour. I found the ride quality to be generally good, though my driving partner felt it was a little bit on the firm side. I generally prefer a controlled ride to one that is overly soft and floaty, and in this sense, the Crosstour strikes a pretty good balance, though I wouldn't mind even a little bit more damping.
The Crosstour shares the Accord's VGR (Variable Gear Ratio) steering, which balances parking lot quickness with freeway precision and comfort. In everyday driving, overall feel is generally pretty good, particularly compared to some of the electrically-assisted power steering systems currently on the market. To deal with the added mass of the Crosstour, the brake system has been upgraded: up front, the rotor size is actually down 0.1 inches (to 11.7) compared to the sedan, but the calipers are a dual piston setup (as opposed to the sedan's single piston design) and provide a larger effective diameter. The rear rotors are 12.0 inches in diameter, which is 0.9 inches larger than the sedan's. The brakes performed reasonably well during my day of driving in the hills around Rancho Palos Verdes, but I didn't really stress them much. Later in the day I was doing a few quick 0-60 runs for our test gear and the brakes started smoking pretty heavily after only the second run. Furthermore, it didn't take much effort to overwhelm the tires' braking forces - I sensed a lot of weight transfer when transitioning off the throttle and onto the brakes.
During our day of driving the Accord Crosstour, we were also able to sample two competitors: Toyota Venza V6 and Nissan Murano V6. Compared to these two, the Accord Crosstour and Murano represented the two extremes, with the Venza slotting right in between them. The ride and handling of the Accord Crosstour is much more polished than either the Venza or the Murano, but in the turns the Venza seemed to have slightly better overall balance than the other two vehicles. That was probably the sole advantage that the Venza held over the Crosstour. The Murano's ride was surprisingly truck-like, and the CVT made it feel sluggish. I didn't much care for the drive. The Venza's nervous, always in motion ride quality caught me off guard, but its punchy 3.5L 4-cam V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission felt considerably peppier than the Crosstour's. On paper, the Crosstour outguns the Venza's 268hp V6, but it certainly doesn't feel that way on the road. With its noticeable valvetrain gnashing at higher rpms, the Toyota V6 loses points to Honda's simpler SOHC V6 in terms of overall refinement. During the 0-60 testing mentioned above, I recorded a best time of 7.9 seconds in the Crosstour. I was unable to test the Venza or the Murano, but the Crosstour felt like it was a closer match for the Murano than the zippy Venza. Overall, the Crosstour can't quite match the performance of the Venza, but it offers more a sophisticated
chassis and superior drivetrain refinement than both the Venza and Murano.
The Accord Crosstour is supposed to offer more utility than the Accord sedan, but does it deliver in terms of passenger comfort? The interior layout, key features, and the front seats are essentially identical to the Accord sedan's, so for the most part, the answer is yes. That being said, the Crosstour's sloping roofline infringes on rear seat headroom when compared to the sedan as well as its closest competitors. At 39.3 inches, the Venza's rear headroom trumps the Crosstour's by nearly 2 inches. This is something that is immediately noticeable when sitting in the rear of both vehicles. Cargo capacity behind the Crosstour's 2nd row of seats comes in at 25.7 cubic ft., which is just a few cubic feet smaller than the Venza's 30.9 cubic ft. measure. A hidden, removeable storage box under the floor provides an additional 1.9 cubic ft. of storage area and offers 8.4" of depth. A quick pull of a lever located on either side of the the cargo area automatically lowers each rear seat, expanding the total cargo volume to 51.3 cubic ft. with a perfectly flat floor. While impressive when compared to a sedan, this figure has the Crosstour trailing the Venza by roughly 19 cubic feet.
For the dimensionally curious, the Crosstour can swallow an item that is up to 75.5 inches in length (2nd row folded). With the rear seats up, the maximum depth is 41.7 inches. The cargo area has a maximum width of 55.7 inches, though that narrows to just shy of 31 inches in the passage between the rear suspension uprights. Also, I tried measuring the minimum clearance beneath the hatch, and from my contorted position, it seemed to offer at least 16 inches of clearance.
Honda hopes to sell 40,000 Accord Crosstours per year, and will build them alongside the CR-V at the East Liberty Plant in Ohio. Pricing starts at just under $30000 for the 2WD EX model and tops out at just over $36000 for the fully equipped AWD EX-L with Navi. See the table below for full pricing details.
The Crosstour is a solid engineering effort from Honda, but they have rolled the dice with its unconventional packaging and styling. Will this gamble pay off or does the Facebook response foretell the Crosstour's fate? Only time will tell.