Growing up I was never a huge fan of American station wagons.
And yes I spent countless hours in third row jump seat, without a seat belt, facing backwards while my so-called friends made rude gestures to the shocked housewives in their burgundy Impalas stuck in traffic behind us.
And yes back in the seventies these were “old school” housewives and not the more modern and/or hip soccer moms.
Which all, in a strange and roundabout way, brings us to the new 2010 Honda Crosstour.
You see today’s modern soccer mom (and dad) wears Crocs and Reefs instead of Birkenstocks and flip-flops, and of course drives Crossovers instead of station wagons. Minivans are completely uncool and SUV’s are so yesterday.
So what’s the next big thing?
It’s certainly not a station wagon as Volvo can’t seem to sell the XC 70. The only “station wagon” that sells in any real numbers in the Subaru Outback, and Subaru has gone out of its way to re-brand it as a Crossover.
Enter the 2010 Honda Crosstour, and of course the Toyota Venza.
Both cars partially fill the space once the exclusive domain of the American station wagon.
Think of the Crosstour as the next MUV (modern utility vehicle).
With a 271 HP 3.5L V6 engine, real time all wheel drive, and tons of space, the Crosstour is one of those cars that can easily accommodate a small family, serve as the main cross country tourer for two empty nesters, and even take the kids to a soccer game or two.
The first thing that you immediately notice about the Crosstour when you see it in person is just how un-ugly it really is.
The complicated design of the Crosstour makes it almost impossible to take a handsome photo of the car.
When you actually walk up to one and take it all in, you’ll immediately understand that all of the initial media poo-pooing of the car’s design was based on photos and not on real world encounters.
Once you sit down in the Crosstour you’ll next be struck at the roominess of the interior. This is a AMC pacer on steroids, and unlike the Toyota Venza, the Cosstour is light, open and airy.
After you’ve started the engine and driven around the block, you’ll also be impressed by both the Crosstour’s power, ride and throttle response.
Honda engineers are some of the best when it comes to designing how a car should respond to throttle inputs, and the Crosstour is certainly no exception.
Unlike many other car’s on the road today the Crosstour’s accelerator feels immediately hard-wired to your brain. Combine that with the perky and willing V6, and the well-sorted suspension, and the Crosstour is a pleasure to drive both around town and on the highway.
All of the main controls, with the exception of the overly complicated center stack, work as advertised If you’ve ever owned or driven a Honda, the Crosstour will feel like a comfortable pair of old shoes.
Of course the problem with old shoes is that they sometime stink, so while the Crosstour does not stick, it does tend too much to the conventional.
For a car with such a radical elevated four door coupe design the inside is pedestrian and somewhat uninspired.
Where’s that wacky French car design that would give the Crosstour some much needed personality? You know I wish Honda engineers has placed the windshield wipers upside down so they sweep from the top instead of the bottom, or put the headlight controls in the center of the steering wheel.
That way I could bitch about it in this review, but eventually and inevitably conclude that the wacky design made for a quirky but lovable trait that sets the Crosstour apart from the Venza.
Instead I’m going to bitch about the 30000 buttons in the car’s center stack that control most of the secondary controls including the radio, navigation and HVAC. Unfortunately, all of those buttons are neither wacky or lovable.
That’s really the biggest issue I have with the Crosstour. When Honda decided to build a people’s BMW X6, I wish they had gone all in.
The design is certainly complicated and all in.
I love the fact that Honda took the bold step of breaking the traditional wagon/SUV/CUV/coupe mold and built a car the re-imagines what practical transportation can be in the 21st century.
But I just wished they had completely smashed thetraditional Honda mold and made a completely different kind of Honda that kept the DNA without all the Honda parts bin pieces and traditional Honda “baggage.”
At an as tested MSRP of $36,930 for our loaded tester gets 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with a combined EPA rating of 20 mpg.
After a week of driving the car, on the TFLcar recommendation scale of
– Buy it
– Lease it
– Rent it or
– Forget it
I give the Cross tour a
Click HERE for an iPhone First Look video of the 2010 Honda Crosstour.
Roman Mica is a columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early
years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he’s not reviewing cars
for the active set, you can find him training for triathlons and
writing about endurance sports for, EverymanTri.com.