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The 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour is further proof that there's no automotive segment that can't be cut into even smaller pieces. The Crosstour is a 4-door hatchback version of the Accord, and with its slightly raised ride height and available all-wheel drive, Honda gets to call it a crossover. Aimed at empty nesters and young families, do its merits as a roomy, cargo-centric and more-refined Accord outweigh its ungainly shape? Honda invited us for a test drive to find out. We found the Crosstour to be a nice driver, and think that Honda will probably sell the 40,000 copies it says it will each year. But it's not all roses, so here are the 10 things you need to know about the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour.
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1. It's not a Honda version of the Acura ZDX.
Not long ago, Honda's luxury division, Acura, introduced a similar-looking vehicle, the ZDX. Like the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour, it's aimed at empty-nest types who want to throw extra gear in back, but don't need a full-blown three-row crossover. Like the Crosstour, it's also brimming with an added layer of refinement. However, the ZDX is based on the MDX platform, and is dimensionally very similar. The Crosstour is based on the Accord sedan, and is much closer to that vehicle. Despite their superficial appearances, the ZDX and Crosstour are actually quite different under the skin.
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2. It looks better in person.
We're not going to declare the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour a beautiful car. However, it does gain something in person that's lost in photos, and it looks pretty good from some angles. Yet the nose looks heavy, the rear quarters unduly bulbous, and the slightly raised ride height makes the car look more massive than it really is. On the other hand, there are some interesting design details, like the concave character line that gradually becomes the convex edge of the rear fender. Inside it's much better, essentially an Accord sedan with some tasteful (but fake) wood trim and nicer available leather.
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3. It's notably quieter than the Accord Sedan.
Honda added some extra sound deadening to the Crosstour, making it notably quieter than the Accord sedan upon which it's based. You notice this mostly at freeway speeds. While the Sedan tends to be filled with tire noise, the Crosstour is subdued enough that a little extra wind noise is apparent. None of it is disagreeable though, and overall the Crosstour fills the need of being an agreeable driving companion for a long haul.
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4. There's no 4-cylinder option.
Honda says that they didn't offer a 4-cylinder because it would have been only a marginal fuel economy bump, and not enough people would have bought it. Maybe. However, we think the absence of a 4-cylinder is because Honda simply doesn't make one big enough to move the Crosstour with any kind of authority. The 271-horsepower V6 Crosstour is about 300 pounds heavier than a V6 Accord sedan, so it's easy to assume a 4-cylinder Crosstour would weigh roughly the same amount more than a 4-cylinder Accord. The biggest 4-banger in Honda's lineup is only 2.4 liters, and with just 162 lb.-ft. of torque. By contrast, the rival Toyota Venza's 4-banger has 182 lb.-ft. of torque, and still feels weak-kneed.
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5. Visibility out the back is pretty bad.
Like most slope-backed cars these days, the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour has pretty lousy rear visibility. Blame the thick rear pillars, narrow hatch glass and relatively small rear side windows. Honda has tried to compensate with an additional glass panel at the bottom of the hatch. While it undoubtedly helps, there's no overcoming the fact that the Crosstour is just hard to see out of through the back. A rearview camera is available, but only as an option on more expensive models.
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6. It's more fun than a Toyota Venza.
The Honda Accord-based Crosstour is clearly aimed at the Toyota Camry-based Venza. However, the two philosophies of the carmakers are in play as well. The Venza is quieter and more isolated, but the Crosstour is more fun to drive. Now, before you think that the Crosstour will be your next autocross car, this is all relative. The Crosstour handles a twisty road fine, thanks to Honda's traditionally firmer suspension tuning and sharper steering. The transmission programming even tells the car to hold a gear when in a corner, for a sportier feel. Unfortunately, the all-wheel drive system is purely for low-traction situations, not for improving handling, and Honda has mysteriously drowned out most of the harmonious sounds coming from its V6 engine, making this otherwise great engine sound downright dull.
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7. It gets decent gas mileage.
Even though the Crosstour only comes with a V6, it still gets pretty good gas mileage, but it's not class leading. A front-drive Crosstour gets 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined; all-wheel drive gets you 17/25/20. That beats the Venza's highway scores by 1 mpg for front drivers, but matches it on the all-wheel drive versions. In city scoring, the Venza still has an edge, beating the Crosstour's score by 1 mpg in front and all-wheel drive configurations. The Nissan Murano -- another sedan-based crossover vehicle -- matches it in the city but loses out on highway scores by 4 mpg and 2 mpg for front and all-wheel drive models, respectively.
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8. Cargo room is on the small side.
Despite that huge hatch and big, bulbous rear quarters, the cargo room is on the small side compared to other vehicles in this class. With the rear seats up, there's 25.7 cu. ft. of cargo space; with the rear seats folded there's 51.3. Sounds good, but the Crosstour's cargo area is narrow, and suffers from the extreme angle of the cargo hatch itself. By contrast, the comparatively boxier Venza offers up 34.4 cu. ft. behind the rear seats, and a relatively whopping 70.1 with those seats folded. The Murano is also significantly larger, with 31.6 cu. ft. and 64.0 cu. ft., respectively.
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9. It has lots of nifty features.
Maybe you think we're Crosstour bashing. We're not, really. The Crosstour has a lot to offer. For example, it offers a healthy dose of standard equipment that's usually reserved for higher-end vehicles, such as the dual-zone climate control or 360-watt audio system. If you opt for leather you get premium, luxury car-quality hides, and an even better audio system with USB integration for your iPod. Then there's the reversible floor in the cargo area, which lets you put dirty items in the hold without worrying about marring your looped carpeting. Under that reversible panel is a storage box, which not only keeps valuables out of sight, but also actually lifts out for cleaning.
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10. For something called "Accord," it's kind of pricey.
The Honda Accord built its reputation on being a good value, but the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour is quite a bit more expensive than its 4-door sedan cousin. A front-wheel drive Crosstour EX -- the base model -- comes out to $30,380 with the $710 destination charge added in. Prices climb pretty quickly too: The front-drive EX with leather (EX-L) is $33,280, and if you add navigation you're looking at $35,480. An all-wheel drive EX-L is $34,730, and if you add navigation it's $36,930. Compare that to a regular Accord sedan, and even the most expensive -- an EX-L with navigation -- still comes to only $31,815. So the question is this: Does the Crosstour offer up a few thousand dollars worth of extra refinement, cargo space and style? We're not entirely convinced, but time will tell.
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