February 18, 2011
I rolled in our soon to be departed long-term 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour the other night and was reminded of something. When I worked at Big Motor Car Corp, we worked a lot on JD Power Initial Quality Survey (IQS). A lot.
Of course you know IQS surveys tens of thousands of new-vehicle owners to provide feedback on quality during the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership. For complaints where our customers had difficulty with operation of any type, we used the term DTU, for difficult to use.
Well I doubt that Honda R&D Americas has had to deal with too many DTU complaints with the Accord Crosstour. That's because everything is easy to use -- the navi, the radio, the HVAC, the center stack switches (even if there are a billion of them), the cruse control, setting the trip odo. Everything.
Everything, except the horrible interactive voice response Bluetooth phone pairing (I hate this in all vehicles so equipped.)
Next time, Honda should put it in the navi screen with a visual-manual interface -- like Nissan.
Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ ~19,600 miles
February 17, 2011
Honda has made a strange ergonomic choice on the Accord Crosstour. One I don't agree with, but one that is, I admit, not much to worry about.
To check your fuel range on most cars, included the Acura MDX and the Honda Odyssey I've driven this week, the number can be found somewhere on the instrument panel directly ahead of the driver. And it can left there indefinitely instead of the odometer reading or some other info the driver may not need very often.
But this ins't the case in the Honda Crosstour. In the Crosstour "Range" is buried over on the nav screen behind two promps. First you push the "info" button and then you have to select Trip Computer. Not a big deal, but now I don't have my audio info or my nav screen.
Again, this isn't a deal breaker for me, but Honda got it right on the MDX and the Odyssey. Hmmmmmm...
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
January 27, 2011
See that on the center screen? Of course you don't, because it's too freaking dark! It seems like the light sensor that determines if it's day or night is too sensitive. In the slightest shade, it makes the nav screen go into night mode. If I were in an unfamiliar city, this could be aggravating, since night mode is pretty much blacked out if there's any ambient light.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor
January 19, 2011
As a person who tends to frequent restaurants more than her own kitchen, I can appreciate the Zagat function of our 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour's nav.
Kudos that it can still be accessed even when the car is in motion so the passenger can play concierge while the driver is busy.
Props should also be given for its easy instructions:
1) Choose "Places" category in the nav.
2) Click on "Zagat 2009."
3) Pick a metro area.
December 10, 2010
At night, the Crosstour dash really does feel like the bridge of a starship. It's kinda cool and tech, but a little overwhelming. We've written before about Honda's button enthusiasm in the CT. Hopefully they dial it back in the next iteration. Granted, all automakers face a tough task trying to package climate, defrost, audio - controls we demand to be simple - in a coherent manner with the other tethers of our connected age: navigation, Bluetooth, voice-activation.
But I don't get the thin display strip above the vents, below and in front of the monitor. It displays temperature, mode, and usually truncated audio metadata. Seems like a redundancy. Give climate control its own submenu in the multimedia unit and two methods to open it: onscreen via the joystick knob, and a single hard button for direct access.
Was also curious why Honda recessed the display so far deep into the dash.
Hard to see in the photo above, but it's set back towards the windshield. A Honda spokesman offered couple of reasons. It helps reduce glare, and it's closer to the driver's line of sight, reducing eye travel. Makes sense. But that's also why it doesn't feel right. When I want to speed up the fan, I look for the center stack, not the middle of the windshield. Maybe I just need re-training.
December 02, 2010
In a recent post on our long-term Sonata, I noted that its screen was one of the best in the segment -- far outpacing the ones in the Accord or Camry. Well, I made a point to snag the keys to our Accord Crosstour last night to get a real comparison. Here's what I came up with.
The Crosstour's screen is mostly held back by its lack of resolution. The coarseness of the pixels give it an outdated look, but the information is still quite legible. I'm quite pleased with the layout and the menus are intuitive. Also, I like how you can change the color scheme -- as shown in the animated slides above. I'm partial to the red, but it clashes with the cool blue instrument panel.
This morning, I decided to see what a higher-resolution screen might look like in Photoshop. The before and after results are shown below.
November 04, 2010
I like to listen to On Broadway on SiriusXM, much to the chagrin of my fellow editors. When they get in a car after me, not only do they have to move the seat way back but they get greeted with showtunes. Gotta sing. Gotta dance.
Sometimes, even I can't listen to "Luck Be a Lady" for the billionth time. So, I appreciate a car that allows me to hook up my iPod. The Honda Accord Crosstour offers an aux plug and a USB cable, instead of an iPod-only connection. But you should see the comedy of errors it takes to attach my iPod to the very short USB cable in the center storage area. I just can't get my arm to hold the USB cable and plug in my iPod cable. The lid of the storage area is in the way of my elbow and the USB cable is so short that it doesn't reach out of the fairly deep storage compartment. I can't make the connection from a seating position. I have to get out of the car and approach it sideways. I'd rather just have the USB outlet without a cable so I can plug directly in with one hand.
Anybody else have trouble with this?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
November 02, 2010
Yesterday, I complained that the Crosstour's navigation sent me on a needlessly circuitous route over the weekend. Our loyal and helpful commenters chimed in with some advice, so I made sure to snag the Honda's keys last night to investigate. Here's what I found...
I scrolled through the nav menus to see if it was set to "direct route," but there was no such option. Then I decided to input an address and, Voila! Just after you confirm the address, the system gives you a choice of route options, but it looks to me like it defaults to a direct route.
November 01, 2010
This weekend marked the first time I brought our Honda Crosstour home. I was curious as to how it drove and if the hatch really does add utility, but I got distracted by some mildly aggravating features.
It's already been noted that the center stack has far too many buttons, and I agree. There are plenty of cars out there with the same features that don't resort to control panels that look like it was pulled out of the Apollo 11 lunar lander. My real issues with the Crosstour, however, lay elsewhere.
October 12, 2010
Whenever I have to drive the tangle of freeways that is L.A., I like to have a navigation system along for the ride.
The system in the Crosstour is easy to use. You dial in your destination using the big multi-function button in the middle of the center stack. It allows you to use it while the vehicle is moving, so your passenger can operate it without having you pull over.
Another nice thing is that it doesn't speak to you much. You know how some nav systems keep talking to you the whole trip. "In a quarter mile, turn right, in 1/16th of a mile turn right, in 200 feet turn right, turn now, make a u-turn, blah blah blah."
With the Crosstour, you get "In a quarter mile turn right." That's it. It doesn't nag you until you turn. If you need more information, you can look at the map.
Which do you prefer?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
September 30, 2010
We've complained in the past about the placement of some of the buttons on the Honda Accord Crosstour's center stack, a problem Honda has acknowledged. In the 2011 Accord sedan, some functions have been moved to improve convenience and shorten the reach for the driver.
Not sure it makes enough of a difference.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 13,222 miles
September 28, 2010
The problem with driving a different car every night (not that I'm complaining) is not really having the chance to get accustomed to its quirks, size, features, etc. For instance driving an unfamiliar car with a liftgate and thinking you got it in the perfect parking spot only to find that since you parked a bit too close to the car behind you, you now can't get into the cargo area.
With our 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour, you can see just how much space you have to open the tailgate via the dotted line. Of course, if you'd rather do without the guidelines (pictured below), you can easily deactivate them by holding down the "Cancel" button in the center console for 3 seconds while you're in "Reverse."
September 24, 2010
Last night, a friend and I made a last-decision to go see game 3 of the final Dodgers/Padres series of 2010. I knew it was going to be a lengthy slog through evening traffic, so I picked a vehicle with a good navigation system (to assist with rerouting on surface streets) that I knew would be comfortable and easy to drive. I picked our Accord Crosstour.
The seats in the Crosstour feel almost exactly like the seats in our long-term 2008 Accord EX-L V6. As with the Crosstour, the driver seat in that car had its detractors, but I always liked it. The shape of the Crosstour's back cushion fits my frame well, and the seat-bottom cushion is long enough to support my thighs. The seating position relative to the steering wheel and pedals also fits me to an ergonomic tee. It was indeed a long slog (we arrived after dark, as seen above), and the driver seat never got uncomfortable.
Beyond that, I find the Crosstour incredibly easy to maneuver to considering its size. Visibility is also good, except for the view to the rear corners -- and at least there's a rear camera to help with that. On the way home, when we were back up to 65 mph, I enjoyed the Honda's quiet ride -- it's a significant improvement over the Accord sedan.
On the walk out of the stadium, we noticed one more benefit to Accord Crosstour ownership.
You're never going to lose this car in a parking lot.
September 20, 2010
Some people prefer to have a dark navigation screen at night, while others prefer to have the bright daytime screen. On many cars with navigation, you have to dig deep into the menus to find the day/night switch.
But with our long-term 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour, this task is simple. The switch is right there below the Cancel switch. It's convenient, and avoids a lot of frustration and unwanted glare at night.
Some people may complain that there are far too many switches in the Crosstour's centerstack, and I would tend to agree. But with familiarity, you can find most switches pretty easily.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 12,800 miles
September 02, 2010
I listen to the Adam Carolla Show podcast most mornings, but unfortunately, that usually means I have to listen to the two to three minutes of promos and ads that play at the beginning of each show. Now, I don't mind hearing the odd commercial for a Mangrate, but it gets tiresome when I hear it every freakin' day. Now, if I'm using a simple aux jack, I can fast forward using the iPod itself, but most cars' iPod interfaces don't include a means to fast forward something. Holding down the seek button (as you would with a CD) just skips ahead to the next podcast.
However, the Accord (Crosstour or otherwise) has a tuning toggle button, which is inferior to a tuning knob for actually tuning the radio, but it does quite nicely in its double duty as a fast forward button. Of course, there's nothing that indicates it's an iPod fast forward button; it was just my genius that figured it out after saying to myself, "hmm, I wonder if that silly tuning toggle does double duty as an iPod fast forward button?"
I then wondered, "hmm, I wonder what the category button does to my iPod?" Actually, it does nothing. Thusly, it continues to be a pointless waste of space on an otherwise cluttered dash. Who's going through XM categories with regularity anyway? "Enough with this rock channel, it's time for some World music. Bring on them pan flutes!"
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,751 miles
August 20, 2010
Sometimes I like to zoom out on the nav, just to see how different areas look on the full screen. This view of Seal Beach, California, is one of my faves. The peninsula of Long Beach to the northwest, the ocean inlet, the gray area of the Naval base, all such a cool jigsaw puzzle of land and water.
Senior Automotive Editor Brent Romans recently voiced concern about the glare on the Honda Crosstour's navigation screen. Not sure I agree. Looks just fine to me.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
August 06, 2010
A while back Al had written about our Crosstour's navigation screen, noting that its recessed location helped cut back on the chance of it being washed out by direct sunlight. It seems like a fine idea, but just in general I've never found the Crosstour's screen to be exceptionally bright or easy to see.
Part of the problem is that the recessed location has traded one issue (direct sunlight) for another (indirect). I've noticed that midday sun will reflect up onto the screen from the bottom ledge, thereby washing out part of it. We've had other test cars with recessed screens (our 750i comes to mind) but I don't remember it being as much of an issue. A brighter and crisper screen for the Crosstour would definitely help out here.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
June 10, 2010
Our long-term 2010 Honda Accord has a nice Navi/Audio screen and a great interface. Of course the HMI (Human Machine Interface) of a touch panel screen is better than systems with a remote control interface like this, Idrive, and MMI.
But one of several advantages for these systems over touch panel displays is that the Navi screen can be set back in the IP (Instrument Panel, the engineering term for "dashboard") so it is shielded from glare. This isn't practical with touch panel displays as this would cause interaction interference.
You can also present larger fonts, and the focal length is better for older people with remote controlled displays.
You can still get a bit of glare on the Crosstour's Navi screen depending on the driving situation, but most of the time -- no.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 6,600 miles
April 27, 2010
More information, that is. I like to listen to the Broadway channel on satellite radio. I sing along loudly much to the dismay of other drivers around me.
With Broadway musicals, it's important to know the name of the song and who is singing it. I want to know if the show is the original or a revival. That's essential to theatre nerds like me.
But the Honda Accord Crosstour's display only tells me the name of the show. And not even all of that. It cuts off the character count at only 16 letters. Boo.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
May 18, 2010
I know, I know, you think it's ugly and silly, etc. etc. etc. But I believe there are at least 10 things to like in every car. Here's my list for the Crosstour:
1. clear, full-color rear camera view
2. clean, unencumbered gauges that are easy to read
3. precise steering
4. a steering wheel that feels good in the hand
5. smooth, balanced ride without being floppy
6. comfortable front seats
7. roomy back seat area
8. convenient levers in cargo area to drop the rear seats
9. lots of little storage cubbies and useful cupholders
10. adequately powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine
I'm sure I can come up with more. Feel free to add some of your own.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
March 09, 2010
Here's the view of the navigation screen through my polarized sunglasses. I see a big brown blob in the center of the map.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
March 04, 2010
My short dash to Arizona is history. Our 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour is back its assigned spot in our underground garage. Better still, the Crosstour now has enough break-in miles for its initial track test next week.
Gas station to gas station, the trip from my Orange County home to Prescott, Arizona was 343.7 miles long. The return trip was somewhat longer because I first made a detour south to Glendale, Arizona before pointing the Honda west, towards home.
November 09, 2010
Tell me something: What's the point of a hands-free Bluetooth link which can't be paired while the vehicle is moving? This is not uncommon these days. Almost every car company out there prevents you from pairing a phone once the car is moving, including Honda.
The way I see it, the entire purpose of hands-free operation is to leave the driver's "hands free" while he drives -- not while he sits in a parking lot trying to decipher the correct language to pair his phone.
Obviously if I owned our long-term Crosstour this would not be an issue. I would pair my phone once and that would be it. I still don't think that makes it right.
What do you think?
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor