2010 Honda Accord Crosstour: New Market, New Mojo
September 26, 2010
There's a lot of talk these days about how Honda's lost its way. How it doesn't have the swagger and street cred it used to. And, well, that's sort of right. Honda used to be this neat little engine company that happened to know how to put a chassis and wheels around it.
Think about those cool old Hondas: The CRX, Civic Si, Acura Integra Type-R, S2000...you think of that engine first. Heck, how many K20s have been dropped into things that aren't Hondas? Like Ariel Atoms for instance.
Honda can do a sweet, soulful engine with its eyes closed. You think John Mayer has trouble wooing the ladies with a guitar and a few key words? Same thing.
That skill helped Honda get big and and make money, lots of money. Turned out they were darned good at it, and while those sweet motors stuck around to some degree, Honda focused on making cars people want to buy in bulk. And buy they did.
And people said they sold out. And said they lost focus. And said that Honda got bland and didn't care about the guys who got 'em where they were. Said they weren't cool.
And then Honda built the Accord Crosstour: The coolest car in Honda's current lineup.
We're using cool in a different sense here than we would, say, in a Civic Si / Ed Hardy / spiky hair way. We're talking a relaxed cool. An L.L. Bean, comfortable-in-who-you-are cool.
Think the guy you see hiking with his toddler--impeccably dressed but still relaxed-- not the dude with the bald-spot fist-pumping to Ke$ha.
Edmunds.com Editor Ed Hellwig, in his comparison of the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour and the 2009 Toyota Venza, wrote one of the sweetest lines I've read this year (You reading this, boss?), "You don't choose cars like these, you succumb to them. They creep up on you like thin hair and thick ankles." Great line, boss. Seriously, I'm envious..that's genius. I just don't agree. ('cept for that Venza. I can smell the Rogaine and Xenadrine just thinking about it.)
See, there are cars you succumb to-- Odyssey, CR-V, Venza, Sienna, Rav-4, Grand Caravan. You get it.
But then there are cars that carry a different stigma. Cars like the Subaru Outback and Forester, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Flex, etc. They're utilitarian and perfect for the family on the go without the stench of settling burned into the fabric that some other big cars endure.
Think of the guy who drives a Sienna. Now the guy who's got an Outback. See the difference?
It's here that the Accord Crosstour really strikes a chord with me. When you sign on the dotted line, you don't get a car and a kid, and 6,000 Cheerios in the seat cushions, and a suburban cookie-cutter-house with an uptight homeowner's association and a job you don't like. You just get a neat little wagoney-thing with good ground clearance that may-or-may-not haul some kids pretty well. That option is yours and yours alone. It's not a pre-requisite for ownership. The Crosstour can be driven by a 22 year old base-jumper as easily as it can an 82 year old grandma.
More grown up with broader horizons, Honda's ditched the bell-bottom Jnco Jeans for some Columbia khakis with this one. It's not a look everyone's going to love. But when was the last time Subaru had a look anyone loved?
With Saab confused and Subaru falling behind on the engineering front, the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour has this New Englander feeling a little homesick. I'll take quirky, functional and different any day.
( And besides, any time we can get another hatchback/wagon on the road instead of ANOTHER bland three-box sedan...Win! )
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com