Real World Review of the 2014 Honda Crosstour

Oct 13, 2014

Since the Honda Crosstour first went on sale in 2010, it has earned a range of mixed reviews. Some car shoppers and reviewers say they love its practicality and capabilities, while others can't get past its unusual styling or its increasingly outdated interior. In order to form our own opinions about the unusual hatchback, we spent a few days in a 2014 Honda Crosstour. Here's what we thought.

Old and New

Although the Honda Accord was fully redesigned for 2013, the Crosstour was merely face-lifted, and that means the hatchback still uses the chassis, platform and other items from the 2008-2012 Honda Accord. The result is an odd hodgepodge of old and new, with some features -- such as the gear lever and climate controls -- borrowed from the outgoing model, and others -- such as the steering wheel and dual screens -- taken from today's Accord. The result is that the interior isn't exactly old, but it's hardly modern either, which is a good description for the rest of the car, too.

For an example of what we mean, look no further than the Crosstour's styling. Although it's been updated compared to its 2010-2012 predecessor, it still shares the same unusual shape. While we certainly welcome the idea of an all-wheel-drive Accord wagon, we're not entirely sure this is the right way to go about it. Based on the Crosstour's sales, it seems like most car buyers tend to agree.

Outdated styling isn't our only complaint about the Crosstour. We also weren't thrilled with its powertrain, which is hard to believe considering that our test car was equipped with a muscular 280-horsepower V6. Our problem isn't with the engine, which is smooth and powerful, it's with the transmission, which is surprisingly jerky and slow to react to pedal inputs. While the Accord V6 also uses this engine and transmission, the pair seems to be dulled by the Crosstour's size -- and maybe even by its all-wheel-drive system.

Some Bright Spots

We don't mean to make it seem like the Crosstour is all doom and gloom. On the contrary, we think the crossover has a few bright spots -- including the mere fact that it exists. Not every shopper wants an SUV, and Honda's decision to create the Crosstour was certainly welcomed by drivers who miss the Accord wagons of the 1980s and 1990s. That includes us -- so we hope the Crosstour sticks around after the current model cycle comes to an end, albeit with a few changes.

In the same vein, we appreciate two other key Crosstour points: its available all-wheel-drive system and its carlike driving experience and ride. Once again, the Crosstour offers SUV versatility for shoppers who just don't want an SUV.

Our Take

We like the idea of the 2014 Honda Crosstour on paper. It offers 4- or 6-cylinder engine choices, front- or all-wheel drive, and a midsize wagon body style for shoppers who don't really need the ground clearance -- or driving position -- of a larger SUV.

Unfortunately, however, the Crosstour just doesn't quite entice us when we're behind the wheel. Cargo capacity can't reach that of an SUV, and the interior is still using too many outdated touches. Meanwhile, the newly redesigned Subaru Outback offers everything you can get in the Crosstour -- along with a wider range of available features, a more modern interior, improved gas mileage, and the same carlike ride and driving position -- for less money. Although we wouldn't completely avoid the Crosstour, we'd certainly shop the competition first.


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