Honda doesn't make an Accord wagon . . . except that it does. Most automakers in the U.S. know that introducing a traditional wagon is not a good idea if you want serious sales volume. The 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour, however, is anything but traditional. The Crosstour is a four-door Accord-based wagon-like vehicle that has a slightly raised ride height to look like a crossover SUV.
Perhaps more to the point, the Crosstour looks like nothing on the road today. Styling is a polarizing feature that sets apart the Honda from midsize crossover competitors like the Toyota Venza, Nissan Murano, and Ford Edge. A bulky grille sits at the front while a gently sloping roofline is an interesting design detail, one that makes necessary the split rear windshield -- just like you would find on a Toyota Prius or Honda Insight hatchback.
A five-seater, the Crosstour has been considered by some Motor Trend magazine staffers as one of the more mature cars in its class. You won't find 20-inch wheels or dark orange paint as options on the Honda, but you will on the more edgy Toyota Venza. This Honda is in its element when transporting a few adults and their gear around town or up the highway, not on a winding canyon road.
For the 2011 model year, the Crosstour is only offered with the regular Accord's 3.5-liter V-6 engine that's good for 271 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic does duty in all Crosstours, and all-wheel drive is available for those who don't want the standard front-wheel-drive model. A less expensive four-cylinder model is likely to appear for the 2012 model year to increase efficiency and lower the price. A 2011 Crosstour can't be purchased (at sticker price) for less than $30,000.
The only change to the Crosstour for the 2011 model year are a set of repositioned buttons on the center stack designed to make the interior easier to use. While the Accord and Crosstour are often criticized for having too many buttons in the cabin, the controls become more intuitive after a few days of driving.
The Crosstour will surprise any current Honda owner with its quietness. Unlike the 2011 Pilot SUV Motor Trend recently tested as part of a multi-vehicle comparison test, the Crosstour does not suffer from typical Honda road noise. That's because the Crosstour is the first Honda to feature Active Sound Control, which uses the sound system to reduce undesirable noise inside the cabin.
The Crosstour's pricing in the low to high $30,000 range means potential buyers could also consider an Acura TSX wagon as well as a cheaper Honda CR-V and still stay in the Honda family. The Crosstour has 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats (there's no third row) and 51.3 cubic-feet with the rear seats folded down. For comparison, the Acura TSX wagon has 25.8 cubic feet with the second row seats in place and 60.5 cubic feet when they're folded down. The 2011 CR-V compact SUV is the biggest of the three, with 35.7 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 72.9 cubic feet when the seats are folded down.
Despite the lack of cargo space compared to the TSX wagon and CR-V SUV, the Crosstour still fills a niche. Entry and exit for passengers is easier in the Crosstour (which has lots of rear seat legroom) than the TSX wagon. As for the CR-V, the Crosstour is more unique and refined than that popular SUV.
Fuel economy on the V-6 powered Crosstour is respectable, at 18/27 mpg city/highway for front-wheel-drive models and 18/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive model is not offered in the 2011 Crosstour's base EX trim.
What you'll find in all Crosstour trims is a "good" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the front and side impact tests. The IIHS rated the Crosstour just marginal for roof strength. Honda's crossover wagon performed mostly well in the tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A five-star rating (out of five stars) was given in the front driver, front passenger, side driver, and side passenger tests on a 2010 model.
None of the Honda Accord's competitors have a straightforward wagon variant, which is no doubt why the odd Crosstour exists. Honda shares some parts between the sedan and crossover wagon, and consumers get to believe they are driving a crossover. If you can stomach the Crosstour's design, it's a good package.