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Honda Crosstour, 2012: A practical SUV alternative, but sadly no Accord wagon

What do you call a Honda Accord wagon that isn’t a wagon but should appeal to those who would buy an Accord wagon? If you’re Honda, it's the Crosstour.

Introduced in 2010 as the Accord Crosstour, Honda dropped Accord for the name for 2012. The Crosstour still shares its chassis and powertrain with the Accord, but it has its own identity.

2012 Honda Crosstour

Honda refers to the Crosstour as a 5-door hatchback. Since its rear hatch limits available cargo space, it doesn't have the functionality of a full-blown wagon.

The car's size makes the term hatchback inappropriate, though, and so I've lumped the Crosstour with other category-defying models such as the Toyota Venza.

Another key change for 2012 is the availability of a 4-cylinder engine — the same 192 horsepower 2.4 liter unit in the Accord. Compared to the now optional 271 horsepowwer 3.5-liter V6, the four-cyclinder nets a few extra mpg — as much as  29 mpg on the highway.

2012 Honda Crosstour

My test car featured the optional 271 hp, 3.5-liter V6. It's smooth and pulls with authority, despite the Crosstour’s hefty 4,000-pound curb weight. Unfortunately, like on most of its other models, Honda equips the Crosstour with an antiquated 5-speed automatic transmission.

Honda claims buyers aren’t demanding a 6-speed; The manufacturer says it  5-speed is good enough, but that's the carmaker's stubborn nature.

The Crosstour drives well because of its underpinnings. It sits higher off the ground, though, which combined with lightly weighted steering makes for uninspiring handling.

2012 Honda Crosstour interior2012 Honda Crosstour center console2012 Honda Crosstour back seat

All-wheel drive is available, which should make the Crosstour snow-worthy. Unlike a more capable SUV, it has touring tires and limited ground clearance, and thus I recommend not taking the Crosstour off road.

The Crosstour interior also borrows heavily from the Accord, which has a fine, but dated look.Honda’s technology also needs updating. The low-res LCD screen and button-heavy dash look ancient compared to systems other manufacturers' systems.

25.7 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seat up

With the rear seats folded down, the Crosstour offers a lot of cargo space, and a bicycle or other large object fits with ease. With the seats up, the cargo area is limited, since it just isn’t very tall. A proper wagon design would be more practical. The Crosstour has also eceived a lot of flack for its unique exterior design and its rear end is ugly.

The 2012 Crosstour starts around $27,000 for a 2WD EX model, and tops out at $35,000 for the AWD EX-L V6 model. This makes the Crosstour competitive with other mid-size crossovers and pseudo-wagons.

2012 Honda Crosstour

Although a decent vehicle that would be a more practical alternative to a standard mid-size sedan, I wish Americans weren’t so irrationally wagon averse. Then we could get the Accord Wagon I'd rather drive.

 

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