The 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour is the best car for you if you want a friendly galoot of a four-door hatchback that drives far better than meets the eye. The 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour gets a slightly rearranged dashboard layout but otherwise carries over unchanged. The 2011 Crosstour represents the sophomore edition of a radical Honda that turns the Accord sedan into a new-age crossover SUV station wagon. Priced in the $31,000-$37,000 range, Crosstour seats five in roomy comfort and is available with all-wheel drive (AWD). Honda calls this bulbous-tail fastback a “crossover utility vehicle” and bravely casts it as the flagship of the Accord line. The 2011 Accord Crosstour is aimed at taste-makers who have a family and don’t want a three-row SUV. There apparently are not legions of those folks in the market for a new car – Crosstour sales have been modest. Wait for the 2012 Crosstour if you’re keen on a four-cylinder version and want to roll the dice that Honda will introduction one for model-year 2012. The 2011 Crosstour comes only with a V-6. That helps keep its starting price several thousand dollars above that of its closest rival, the Toyota Venza, which offers both four- and six-cylinder engines and handily outsells the Crosstour. Buy the 2011 Accord Crosstour if you’re not in a gambling mood and envision a role in your life for this atypical but appealing stew of automotive genres. Barring introduction of a four-cylinder model, the 2012 Accord Crosstour isn’t expected to gain any features worth waiting for, though it could represent the final year before Honda treats this crossover to freshened styling.
The 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour’s styling is a carbon copy of the 2010 model’s. Crosstour is a four-door hatchback with a trendy coupe-like roofline. It’s based on the underbody structure of the midsize Accord sedan and shares the car’s basic dashboard design and cabin décor. Crosstour doesn’t have an SUV-tall step-in height but does ride higher than the Accord sedan and has a more commanding seating position. Its wheelbase – the distance between the front and rear axles – is virtually identical to the sedan’s. And though the body bears an Accord-family resemblance it’s designed to convey a more powerful presence. Crosstour is slightly wider and longer than the Accord sedan and is a significant 8 inches taller, for much more interior volume. This is a commodious passenger compartment outfitted in high-quality materials. Crosstour’s hatch lid lifts to reveal 25.7 cubic feet of nicely finished cargo space, double the volume of Accord’s trunk. Crosstour has 51.3 cubic feet with the 60/40 split rear seatbacks folded, but similarly sized competitors with less-slanted tailgate shapes, such as the Toyota Venza and Subaru Outback, have more than 60 cubic feet of cargo space. In the only model-year 2011 change, Honda slightly reconfigures the central portion of Crosstour’s dashboard, moving some of the more frequently used climate controls – defroster buttons, for example – closer to the driver and creating a more compact audio array. It’s a minor but welcome change that more logically groups Crosstour’s rather abundant number of switches and knobs. The 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour continues with a three-model lineup: EX, upscale EX-L, and top-of-the-line EX-L with navigation, which Honda calls the EX-L Navi. The only styling distinction is that the EX has 17-inch alloy wheels and the EX-Ls have fancier 18-inch alloys. Fuel-economy ratings for the 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour get a slight bump over their 2010 ratings. With front-wheel drive, the 2011 Crosstour remains rated at 18/27 mpg city/highway. With AWD, the 2011 Crosstour is slightly more fuel efficient than its 2010 counterpart at 18/26 mpg compared to 17/25. The Crosstour runs on regular-octane gas.
Crosstour borrows Accord’s most powerful engine and fortifies its suspension to support an additional 300 pounds of curb weight (an additional 500 pounds with AWD). A four-cylinder engine isn’t consistent with Honda’s initial positioning of the Crosstour, so the 2011 model returns with a 3.5-liter V-6 as its sole engine. It has 271 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque and is equipped with Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management system, which automatically runs it on three or four cylinders to save gas in low-demand cruising. Honda reserves six-speed automatic transmissions for cars from its premium Acura division, leaving the 2011 Crosstour to repeat with a five-speed automatic. This transmission lacks manual-gear-control via a separate shifter gate or steering wheel paddles but does benefit from Honda’s new shift-logic programming for better engine-speed management, particularly during cornering. Like the Accord, Crosstour has front-wheel drive, but unlike the car, it’s available with all-wheel drive. While Venza makes AWD available even on its lowest-priced four-cylinder model, Honda reserves it as an extra-cost feature for the top-line Crosstour EX-L. Typical of a crossover AWD system, Crosstour’s defaults to front-wheel drive but can automatically shuffle power between front and rear wheels to sustain traction. Crosstour has an SUV-credible 8.1 inches of ground clearance (a couple of aero-enhancing plastic tabs below the front bumper hang lower), but it isn’t designed for off-road use. Towing capacity is a modest 1,500 pounds. In all, Crosstour drives and rides like the slightly inflated Accord that it is – and that’s a good thing. Alert V-6 acceleration and athletic road manners distinguish Accord among midsize sedans and the same virtues help Crosstour drive with more precision than midsize crossovers with more conventional-SUV styling and the taller center of gravity that entails. Factory options are not part of Honda’s marketing strategy. The carmaker instead equips each model in a lineup with a specific set of features based on careful study of buyer preference. The policy simplifies assembly and therefore promotes quality, though it does compel Honda shoppers to sometimes climb the model ladder to acquire a desired feature – and in the process, pay for items they might not otherwise have purchased. The 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour doesn’t deviate from this plan. It continues with a nice array of standard features while again reserving perks like leather upholstery and a navigation system for the uplevel EX-L model. Among features standard on all 2011 Crosstours: dual-zone automatic climate control, heated mirrors, power moonroof, power front seats, and manual tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio and cruise buttons. Antilock four-wheel disc brakes, traction and antiskid control, torso-protecting front side airbags, and head-protecting curtain side airbags also are standard. The standard audio system is a 360-watt unit with seven speakers and an iPod auxiliary jack. EX-L models add Bluetooth cell-phone linking and a USB iPod interface. EX-L Navi models get the navigation system with voice activation and a rearview backup camera.