At 20 paces, we're a little bit lost. The 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour 4WD EX-L Nav, our newest long-term test car, is sitting in a parking lot and we're pacing the pavement, looking for the one angle that will make it all make sense.
Posed alone under a streetlight, this half-wagon, half-crossover chimera is not making it easy for us. So we recall Honda's own description, some 87 pages of background material that in typical Honda fashion tells the story with lots of graphs. In this case the Accord Crosstour apparently sits at the nexus of the X and Y axes at "versatile" and "stylish"; "crossover zone" and "premium"; and, of course, "response" and "operation."
Even so, we're still not sure what this Crosstour thing is. We call it a wagon. They call it a crossover utility vehicle (CUV). We sort of want one to haul our bikes and strollers and test gear. Honda thinks it's for empty nesters with "sufficient life knowledge and driver experience." This means no kids but some lifestyle equipment (bikes), but without the need for a boxy, stigma-saddled SUV or minivan for their "couples socializing," "visits from children" and "dating." Whatever.
It doesn't matter what it is or why it's been built, because it's still based on the Accord (which is good), and it's got more usable/flexible interior space than a sedan (which is good), and for the next 12 months, we've got a 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour 4WD (which is very good).
Why We Got It
The Honda Accord — you know, the normal Accord sedan — is a big car. It's big in sales volume and big in market significance, plus it's big in its physical dimensions after its 2008 redesign. But apparently not quite big enough, because this offshoot of the Accord joins the Toyota Venza and the new Subaru Outback in an offshoot of the crossover segment where the vehicles are taller than a wagon, less boxy than a crossover and boxier than a hatchback.
While we're not members of the Boomer generation or active empty nesters, we're still a bit taken with the whole idea. Our long-term test of the 2008 Honda Accord EX-L proved it to be a capable, comfortable car for our lives, but as with all sedans, it fell short when tasked with ski trips and outings with adult-size toys, not to mention light-duty mudding.
This all-wheel-drive Crosstour, though, could be what we need. Even if looking at it is something we don't want.
What We Got
Like all Hondas, the options are set out by the trim level, and this one is an EX-L with navigation, just like our long-term Accord test car. But before you start drilling down to trim level, there are some specifications that are standard for every 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour.
First there's the 271-horsepower 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6. Then there's the five-speed automatic transmission with grade and cornering G logic, which means the transmission won't start hunting unnecessarily for ratios during climbs, descents and cornering. This particular test vehicle has Honda's optional real-time 4WD, a predictive system that lacks locking differentials (which is why we call it "all-wheel drive," and not "four-wheel drive"). In the trim level Honda calls "EX-L w/Nav," the Accord Crosstour has voice-activated navigation with a rearview camera, leather-upholstered seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 360-watt audio system with USB connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control and a one-touch power moonroof.
But this all comes at a price, $36,930 to be specific. And for once, we opted for some dealer add-ons for this Honda. First we picked the rubber cargo mat for $138, and then we chose the parking sonar to go with the camera for $495 — hey, we do a lot of city parking and this is one option that will surely pay for itself as it minimizes our body shop bills. Along with destination and handling fees, the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour 4WD EX-L Nav came to $37,563.
The Road Ahead
It doesn't matter whether you call it a CUV, wagon, hatchback or Frankenstein's monster, because the classification is less important than the experience to come.
We've got 12 months and 20,000 miles with the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour 4WD EX-L Nav to see if this market segment, the versatile-responsive-stylish-operational-premium-crossover, makes more sense in the real world than it does in graphs.
Once we figure out what it does, we'll know what it is.
Current Odometer: 326
Best Fuel Economy: 19.4 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 19.4 mpg
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.