The Crosstour is an Accord with a backpack, and that's not a bad thing
That's why Honda decided to redesign the Crosstour for 2013, with a more aggressive front end that makes it look less like the Accord sedan. Other than the sheetmetal, however, the two cars are almost identical, and that's not a bad thing: We enjoyed driving the Accord, and found the Crosstour just as agreeable. Priced around $30,000, our tester seemed a great choice for active empty nesters or young families who don't want to go full-on crossover.Lucky for potential Crosstour buyers out there, Honda has also included all the cool new tech that's on the new Accord: Lane departure warning, a side-view camera, and HondaLink – a smartphone connectivity suite featuring Harmon's Aha infotainment platform. Unfortunately, the Crosstour also features Honda's dual-screen i-MID, which struggles with the complexity of the car's infotainment offerings. #### A weak interface sandbags some truly innovative tech In theory, HondaLink and Aha impress us. Together, they use a phone's data connection to push selected parts of the wider internet right to the Crosstour's dashboard in an easy-to-digest form. Podcasts, streaming audio, Yelp reviews, Facebook, Twitter — they're all there, and they're all designed to be easily accessible for drivers and passengers. Want to listen to __Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me?__ on a Tuesday, or listen to KROQ even though you're in Maryland? Not a problem.
What is a problem is Honda's i-MID, which is short for Intelligent Multi-Information Display. The system uses two screens — a small, low-functioning touchscreen and a large LCD that's controlled by an over-jiggly jog wheel. That's confusing enough. What's worse is the multi-layered menus that often duplicate each others' functionality. For instance, we found three distinct ways of adjusting the volume of the navigation system's voice prompts. Combine a labyrinthine user interface with subpar voice recognition, and you have a system that frustrates users instead of facilitating connectivity.
Remarkably, the Crosstour lived up to the challenges we threw at it. We hauled four passengers and their bags on uphill stretches of highway. We did quick merges and passing maneuvers while lugging around furniture. We drove in icy parking lots. The Crosstour never complained, and we found it to be quite a capable cruiser. That larger rear end adds about five inches and 365 pounds over an Accord, but we didn't find it any less maneuverable.
Sporting? Hardly, but the Crosstour's steering and suspension still remain communicative enough to keep drivers involved and alert. It doesn't jar you over bumps, but it doesn't feel like it's been lubricated in Anbesol, either. We think that's a perfect match for a car designed to be at home on long trips or stop-and-go traffic.
If you can get over its looks, the 2013 Honda Crosstour is a solid performer with some very innovative features.
For 2013, the Honda Crosstour's looks got a little less polarizing. If you still can't stand the shape, however, you may be won over by an interior chock full of technology to keep you safe and entertained. Regrettably, all of those advances are paired to a user interface that's less than user friendly.
The Crosstour starts at $27,230 for a base model with front-wheel drive. Fully loaded, the all-wheel drive EX-L with a V6 and navigation tops out the range at $37,090.
In between, Honda continues their relatively straightforward method of options: Each trim level gets a set bunch of features, and there's nothing you can tack on afterward short of a navigation system. That means the 2WD EX V6 gets a V6 engine, front-wheel drive and cloth seats, the 2WD EX-L we drove got leather, navigation, front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine, and the 2WD EX-L V6 gets all those features plus a V6.
The Crosstour comes with your choice of a 192 hp four-cylinder engine and a five-speed automatic transmission or a 278 hp V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission. Cars equipped with the six-cylinder engine can get all-wheel drive in EX-L trim. The rest of them are front-wheel drive. There's no manual transmission option.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn't rated the 2013 Crosstour except for rollover risk, where it gets four stars to indicate it has a low risk of rollover.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranks the 2013 Crosstour as a Top Safety Pick. It gets top "Good" ratings in the front, side, and roof strength tests. It has not been tested in IIHS's new small overlap test, which simulates hitting a pole with a small portion of the front of the car at a speed of 40 mph.
A Honda Crosstour with a four-cylinder engine, like the one we drove, is EPA rated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. We saw numbers closer to the low end of that range in our real-world testing. With front-wheel drive, cars equipped with the six-cylinder engine get 20 city, 29 highway. Cars equipped with all-wheel drive get 18 city, 28 highway.
Meet the tester
Former Editor in Chief, Reviewed Home@itskeithbarry
Keith was the Editor in Chief of Reviewed's appliance and automotive sites. His work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Car & Driver, and CityLab.
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