With sporty handling and sleek styling, the Mazda 6 is for drivers...
2014 Honda Crosstour
The Honda Crosstour was introduced for 2011 as an offshoot of the Accord, but then became a model of its own. It's been left behind by the Accord, which began a new generation for the 2013 model year, while the Crosstour continues to ride on the old Accord's platform, which dates back to 2008. However, the 2013 Crosstour received extensive updates to the styling and interior that mimicked the new Accord. Nothing has changed for the 2014 model year.
Crosstour is about 5 inches longer, 4 inches taller and, with available all-wheel drive, 600 pounds heavier than the Accord. With V6 power, a Crosstour can tow 1500 pounds.
We compare all-wheel drive because that seems like the main reason for choosing the Crosstour over the Accord, although by then you're looking at a price that's nearly $8000 higher than the base 2WD four-cylinder Crosstour. With all-wheel drive, the Crosstour connects with its intentions: a crossover that's actually a sedan, but looks like a coupe. The only car like it is the BMW X6; or rather, we should say the Crosstour is like the X6, because the BMW X6 came first.
No other carmaker has copied this idea, which makes you wonder. During the week we drove the Crosstour, it was the object of favorable attention and curiosity, but Crosstours haven't exactly been selling like hot cross buns.
If you look past the fastback sedan styling, the Crosstour might compete with the Toyota Venza, with stats and prices that are very close.
Crosstour seats five, but offers more cargo capacity than the Accord: 59.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, compared to 51.3 in the 2012 Accord. (Meanwhile, the Toyota Venza holds 70.2 cubic feet.) But with the rear seat up, there's 25.7 cubic feet in back, compared to 15.8 cubic feet in the trunk of that prior-generation Accord sedan. And because the slope of the long rear hatch is so shallow, it won't hit you on the chin on the way up, like a liftgate will.
The fastback roofline is a big compromise, as the shallow slope gets in the way of rear-passenger entry and headroom. On the upside, a couple inches of height at the floorboards, combined with its taller roof, make the Crosstour easier than the Accord for the driver to climb in and out of.
The driver has the higher seating position of a crossover, though not quite as high as an SUV. The big hatchback opens wide to the cargo area, while lift-over height at the rear bumper is not much taller than a midsize sedan's. There's 6.2 inches of ground clearance, to make it more versatile like the SUVs it competes with, but that's still just 0.4 inch more than the Accord.
The Crosstour shares no body panels with any Accord. However, its sheetmetal is more like the current Accord, thanks to revisions for 2013. Honda has said it's more rugged looking, presumably because there's more black plastic in the fascia at the front, rear and rocker panels. We don't get rugged out of that. But we do see a cleaner shape at the nose, thanks to its mimicking the latest Accord.
Two engines are available. Acceleration with the four-cylinder is satisfactory, while with the V6 it's heavenly.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 192 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, linked to a 5-speed automatic transmission. That 2.4-liter 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder gets a thrifty 22/31 EPA-estimated City/Highway miles per gallon
The 3.5-liter SOHC V6 makes 278 horsepower and comes with a 6-speed automatic. The 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 20/30 mpg with 2WD and 19/28 mpg with AWD.
The 2014 Honda Crosstour comes in four models. Crosstour EX ($27,380) has the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment includes fabric upholstery, rearview camera, Bluetooth, USB port, iPod connection, power moonroof, heated side mirrors, steering wheel controls, 60/40-split folding rear seatback, 360-watt AM/FM 6-disc audio system with seven speakers, hidden removable utility box, fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and projector-beam headlights. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which may change at any time without notice, and do not include the $830 destination charge.)
Crosstour EX-L ($31,065) adds leather-trimmed seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, memory driver's seat and mirrors, upgraded speakers, an 8-inch display screen with Pandora internet and XM radio, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and LaneWatch blind-spot monitor. Crosstour EX-L Navigation ($33,165) adds a voice-recognition navigation system with steering wheel controls, and a multi-view rear camera with guidelines integrated into the display.
The V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission are available for Crosstour EX ($31,040), EX-L ($33,690), and EX-L Navigation ($35,790). LaneWatch is included with the EX V6.
All-wheel drive, which Honda calls Real Time 4WD, only comes with the EX-L V6 ($35,140) or EX-L Navigation V6 ($37,240). Every V6 model has18-inch alloy wheels with P225/60R18 all-season tires.
Safety equipment on all models includes six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS with EBD, tire pressure monitor, active front headrests, and side impact beams. Available safety features include Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and LaneWatch blind-spot display. The 2013 Crosstour earned top IIHS roof-crush safety scores, as well as a 5-Star NCAP crash-test rating.