REVIEW: 2014 Honda Crosstour versatile, polarizing

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Introduced in 2010 as the Accord Crosstour, Honda dropped Accord from the official name two years later. The 2014 Crosstour still shares its chassis and powertrain with the Accord. But five years into its first generation, it still has its own polarizing identity.

Like its predecessors, the 2014 Honda Crosstour has been heavily maligned. Its critics don’t know how to categorize the car. It’s not a wagon, SUV or sedan. It’s category defying and some folks just aren’t comfortable with that.

Honda defines the Crosstour as a 5-door hatchback. But its rear hatch design limits available cargo space and it doesn’t have the functionality of a full-blown wagon or more spacious crossover rivals. But so what? It’s a trendsetter in its own category.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

My weekly driver was the V6 EXL trim with four-wheel drive. Like the Accord, the Crosstour helps define the manufacturer’s vehicles. It’s attractive without flash. It has good performance while not performance-oriented. It has attractive interior and exterior designs but doesn’t have any “wow” attributes. It offers a quiet ride, particularly for a non-luxury car.

The 2014 Honda Crosstour is similar but more versatile than the Accord.
The 2014 Honda Crosstour is similar but more versatile than the Accord.

Steering is accurate and handling is controlled. The Crossover is much like an Accord, but it’s heavier and has a higher center of gravity.

As a hatchback, the Crosstour’s cargo space isn’t as big as some competitors’ cargo areas. But its convenience is impressive. Pull an easy-to-use lever on the back seats and the 60-40 splits fold flush. The space isn’t ideal but it’s a better choice than an Accord if an owner wants convenience, versatility and a sharper design.

The baseline Crosstour, like the Accord, has a wealth of standard features: 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, sunroof, full power accessories, eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control, 60/40-split folding rear seatback, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rearview camera (with its monitor embedded in the rearview mirror), Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The 2014 Honda Crossover interior is clean and efficient.
The 2014 Honda Crossover interior is clean and efficient.

The EX V6 models adds 18-inch wheel and a chuck of high tech feature, including Bluetooth, blind-spot monitor and an upgraded sound system with Aha compatibility and Pandora radio smartphone integration.

The EX-L V6 adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver seat memory functions, forward collision and lane departure warning, and satellite radio. The sole option for the EX-L is a voice-activated navigation system.

The Crosstour is available with two engine options. My driver featured a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 278 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The Crosstour is largely an Accord with all the latter’s attributes, but it’s more versatile.

Likes:

Responsive transmission.

Well-built, handsome interior with high-end materials.

Easy-folding back seats.

Handsome exterior design.

Dislikes:

Limited cargo area matched against other crossovers, small SUVs

Facts & Figures: 2014 Honda Crosstour

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.9 seconds.
Airbags (6): Standard front, front side and side curtain.
Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway), 22 mpg combined.
Horsepower: 278.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $37,240.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Price As Tested: $38,070.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,0000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/60,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/unlimited mileage.

What Others Say:

“The 2014 Honda Crosstour hatchback provides more versatility than a midsize sedan, but if cargo space is what you need, a crossover SUV or wagon will likely suit you better.” — Edmunds.

“As long as you don’t need a huge cargo hold or 3-row seating, it’s a compelling alternative to traditional crossovers.” — AutoTrader.

We like the high seating position, the spacious cabin with its comfortable seats, and the smooth powertrain. The 3.5-liter V6 gets 21 mpg overall with the new six-speed automatic. However, the styling impedes the view to the rear and hurts cargo space, handling is clumsy, and the turning circle is wide.” — Consumer Reports.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Honda takes risks. It did the Honda Element, Honda CNG and it did with the Crosstour. For that reason alone, I like. It looks unlike any other car on the market. It’s a sedan with more versatility, it sits high proud and it’s responsive. Props to Honda for again stepping out of the mainstream.”

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