2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi
2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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2011 Honda Accord CrossTour

The Honda Accord CrossTour is a bit of an odd duck. Part car, part utility vehicle, the CrossTour combines, or at least attempts to combine, the performance, comfort and driving manners of a car, the stylishness of a fastback, the utility of a hatchback/wagon, and the all-weather capability of a sport utility vehicle.

To a point, it does this successfully, but there are limitations to combining vehicle types: for example, its sloping fastback design isn’t as space-efficient as a wagon; and its tall hatchback design with a high ground clearance and a high centre of gravity isn’t capable of handling as well as a standard sedan.

As well, in Honda’s attempt to combine the stylishness of a fastback, the utility of a wagon and the toughness of an SUV, the CrossTour’s styling could be described as an uneasy mix of competing body styles: its tall nose, bold grille and high ground clearance seem to be at odds with its sweeping profile and wide stance.

2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi
2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi. Click image to enlarge

That’s an unfortunate first impression really, because in my week spent with the CrossTour, I was quite enamoured with its combination of easy driving manners, comfortable cabin, generous cargo utility, and all-weather capability. This is a vehicle for someone who wants a mid-size V6 sedan, but also needs the winter traction of all-wheel drive, and the cargo room of a hatchback. If you like the styling, or can at least overlook what you don’t like, there’s a lot to recommend the CrossTour.

Another positive point is a recent price-drop. 2011 Accord CrossTour FWD models start at $34,900, down from $36,450 in 2010. 2011 4WD models (all-wheel drive) are now $36,900, down from $38,450 last year. And top of the line 4WD models with Navigation are now $38,900, down from $40,450. As of this writing, 2012 Accord CrossTour MSRPs had not been announced but as there are no major changes for the 2012 CrossTour, it’s not likely prices will increase; particularly as the CrossTour’s nemesis at Toyota, the Venza, is priced considerably lower starting at $30,800.

Standard features

The CrossTour only comes in the top EX-L trim line with a 3.5-litre V6 engine, five-speed automatic transmission and a host of standard features including leather seats. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. A navigation system is optional on the top model.

2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi
2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi. Click image to enlarge

It would be nice if the CrossTour were available in a lower trim level with Honda’s 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine – that might shave $5,000 off the price – but it’s not.

Standard features include 18-inch all-season tires and alloy wheels, front fog lights, automatic headlamps, power-folding heated mirrors, leather seats, power heated front seats, driver’s side memory, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks with pass-through, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary, USB input and XM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone, tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, power sunroof, variable intermittent front wipers and intermittent rear wiper/washer, rear privacy glass, active noise cancellation, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rear cargo cover, compass, outside temperature display, garage door opener, keyless entry, auto up/down front windows, cruise control, floor mats. 2012 models add a rearview camera in the rearview mirror.

Interior impressions

Our test car was the top dog EX-L 4WD Navi model which includes a large colour screen buried deep in the upper instrument panel (to reduce glare) that displays navigation, audio, climate and driver information functions as well as a rear view when the transmission is put into Reverse gear. Scrolling between the functions is accomplished by turning, pushing, pulling and manhandling the extra large, and rather rude knob protruding out of the centre of the dash.

2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi
2011 Honda Accord CrossTour EX-L 4WD Navi. Click image to enlarge

Though I like the CrossTour’s interior in general, I dislike Honda’s confusing arrangement of buttons in the centre instrument panel. Though large and easy to see, these buttons are laid out in an unconventional and somewhat haphazard manner; for example, the climate controls are separated by the central audio, navigation and information controls. I found myself constantly looking for the right button to press. Drivers do have the option of using audio volume, mode and channel buttons on the steering wheel and Honda’s navigation system includes French or English voice-activated prompts.

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