"You don't choose cars like this; you succumb to them. They creep up on you like thin hair and thick ankles."
"The Honda Crosstour's various personalities haven't been stitched together with much style. Maybe it would be more effective if it had a giant plastic replica of a hamburger and fries attached to the roof."
When it entered our fleet 12 months ago, the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour had the odds stacked against it. We all know it's what's on the inside that counts, but a pretty face makes a good first impression. And the Accord Crosstour had one that only a mother could love. We needed time to get to know this new Crosstour. After all, it was a Honda. In the world of cars, being a Honda is a good thing. That was a good place to start.
Why We Got It
Bigger is better. That is what Honda told us with the all-new Accord Crosstour. It redesigned the Accord sedan in 2008, increasing most of the dimensions. That wasn't enough. Honda went even further with the 2010 Accord Crosstour, casting it into a giant wagon crossover thing, but not quite an SUV. Into which category the Crosstour best fit was somewhat vague. Its role in this segment-straddling niche, which included the Subaru Outback and Toyota Venza, was what appealed to us. We wanted one.
On another level, the Honda Accord is a massively successful seller in sedan form. It remains a benchmark in the highly competitive midsize sedan league. Honda ventured outside its comfort zone with the Crosstour and we followed. Maybe Honda knows something we don't. When Honda offered us a Crosstour for the long-term blog, we accepted. An Accord with all-wheel drive and room for skis was right up our alley. This should be a popular car.
We spent more time on the highway driving our 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour than in any other situation. Executive Editor Michael Jordan reflected following 800 miles along Interstate 5 in California, "It settles into its suspension on the road, so you feel like the ride motions are being controlled by the dampers, not the springs. There's a lot less of that thing that makes every other Honda and Acura feel like there's 80 psi in the tires. It gives this cut-down MDX a poise that you won't find either in a Honda Accord or an Acura TL. It's like a different ride engineer at Honda R&D did the job. Hope he gets more work." He continued, "The car part works pretty well, too. The low Honda-style beltline accentuates visibility, which keeps you relaxed on a long drive. Seats are great."
Inside the cabin, Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds addressed the perceived lack of rear visibility. Edmunds blogged after an 800-mile interstate trip of his own, "Visibility was a concern expressed by some when they first saw this design. On this trip, at least, I didn't have a huge problem with seeing cars around me. The Crosstour has the same peek-a-boo secondary window in the vertical part of the hatch that we saw on the Honda CRX back in 1988. It helps improve the view straight out the back, and it also helps you see down lower in the rear bumper area than you could in any SUV. And that rear three-quarter window, small though it may be, does give the driver a glimpse into the blind spot with a simple head check. Could it be better? Sure. Is this what I would call poor? Not at all. The view out of the back is good and into the blind spots is decent."
Honda built electronic maintenance reminders into the Crosstour. When the light came on we went to the dealer: pretty simple. Along the way we still checked the fluids, though. It asked for an oil top-off at about 5,000 miles. Just 2,500 miles later the Crosstour required its first formal service. It cost a mere $50.
Near the 15,000-mile mark the dash illuminated B16 service due; cough up $300. The oil and filter change (B) was expected, as was the tire rotation (1), but the differential fluid change (6) came as a surprise to our wallet. Honda recommended this interval as a break-in period. From this point forward, diff fluid is changed every 30,000 miles.
We've come to expect a brake job due on Hondas around the 20,000-mile mark. It happened to our 2008 Accord, our 2005 Accord Hybrid and the Crosstour, too. One difference was that we returned the Crosstour to Honda before completing the work ourselves. A passenger airbag recall was issued during our test but it did not apply to our vehicle. Our maintenance experience was quite positive overall.
Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs (over 12 months): $345.19
Additional Maintenance Costs: None
Warranty Repairs: None
Non-Warranty Repairs: $20 to repair a flat tire
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: None
Days Out of Service: None
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
Performance and Fuel Economy
We track tested our 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour when its long-term test began and we repeated the process at its conclusion one year later. After a year the Honda showed improvement in general performance at the track. Only acceleration tests reflected a change for the worse.
From a dynamic perspective, the Crosstour got better. Slalom speed increased by almost 3 mph to 62.2 mph. Around the skid pad the Honda generated 0.80g of lateral force, which was a negligible improvement. Both tests benefited from the stability control system remaining on. Not all straight-line tests reflected progress, however. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton wrote following a 60-0-mph stop of 132 feet, "Yikes! Steering wheel vibration and shuddering is pronounced after the second stop. There is adequate fade resistance, and the stopping distance is slightly better than its first test, but these rotors are way warped. The tires still feel rock hard and gravelly." Acceleration from zero to 60 mph fell 0.4 second to 8.0 seconds (with 1 foot of rollout), and the quarter-mile time fell to 16.2 seconds at 86.8 mph. We cannot explain the reason for this decrease.
EPA fuel-economy estimates ranked the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour at 17 city and 25 highway mpg, an average of 20 mpg. After 19,000 miles of service our fuel consumption rate matched that figure exactly. That didn't seem too bad for a 4,035-pound car.
Best Fuel Economy: 27.8 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 12.3 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 20.2 mpg
Twelve months ago Honda suggested a $36,930 retail value for our 2010 Crosstour. At the time of this story, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator gauged its private-party resale value at $27,347. This equates to roughly 26 percent depreciation from its original MSRP.
According to the same calculator, a 2010 Accord sedan depreciated about 24 percent under similar conditions. So the market doesn't seem to mind whether the Honda has a hatch or a trunk in the back. Honda maintains a reputation of reliability, and that makes a big difference on the used car lot.
True Market Value at service end: $27,347
Depreciation: $9,583 or 26% of original MSRP
Final Odometer Reading: 19,400
Our long-term test of the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour began on a superficial level. But we soon discovered what it offered beneath the surface. Edmunds.com Editor Ed Hellwig owns the quote, "You don't choose cars like this, you succumb to them. They creep up on you like thin hair and thick ankles." Hellwig added, "One minute you're rolling a 3 Series coupe, the next your wife needs room to haul her gardening stuff and the kids want rear doors and a DVD player. It's about that time when wagon-style things like the Crosstour start to look attractive. OK, plausible maybe."
You don't get a Crosstour to impress friends with its looks. You aren't drawn to it for the engaging drive either. A Crosstour sits in your driveway because an Accord sedan isn't large enough to manage your life. You need the extra cargo space, sometimes you need all-wheel drive and you don't want the financial liability attached to fueling a V8 SUV. For the past 12 months and nearly 20,000 miles we drove it in the situations for which this car was intended. We found some snow, dusted around on a dry lake bed and spent the rest of our days tooling down the highway.
By the conclusion of our test the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour was like new. Interior and exterior wear were virtually nonexistent. Resale value was decent. The Crosstour was ready for a set of brake pads and rotors when we returned it but otherwise mechanically sound. Say what you will about the styling. There are undeniable functional benefits to the tall wagon design. But is that enough to outweigh aesthetic tastes? That depends. As Hellwig concluded, "Your friends may wince, but your family will love you."
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.