Review: Acura ZDX And Honda Accord Crosstour

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour EX-L

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour EX-L

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2010 Acura ZDX

2010 Acura ZDX

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I was prepared to dislike both the Honda Accord Crosstour, the chubby wagonish crossover based on the Accord, and its more upscale cousin, the Acura ZDX, the highly sculpted crossover based on the minivanish MDX.

Instead, I’ve come to some degree of understanding for these two highly niche products—with reservations. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised with some of what’s going on with these respective wagons—though you still can’t help but wonder what might’ve been in each case. What follows is a look at both, rather than a comparison, since cross-comparing these Honda/Acura products will happen very rarely in the real-world marketplace.

Meat + Potatoes

The Honda Crosstour is anything but cheap. My 4WD EX-L NAV tester ran $36,930; $30,380 is the sticker for the base model with FWD. And while this may be billed as a more useful car than the Accord sedan, the Honda Fit, a car that’s three feet shorter than the Accord Crosstour, and over 1,000 lbs. lighter, has more cubic feet of storage — 51.3 for the Crosstour vs. 57.3 for the Fit, rear seats folded flat in both.

And you could buy two Fits for the price of one Crosstour.

But numbers don’t always tell the whole story. The Crosstour buyer would be rewarded with far greater passenger room, especially for rear seat occupants, where shoulder, hip, and knee room are far more generous in the Crosstour than the Fit. Likewise, the longer Crosstour is a very comfortable highway cruiser; the Fit is jumpier, especially for passengers.

Also, because the Crosstour is so much longer than the Fit, long loads are more easily stowed inside; a trip to the lumber yard was no sweat, and I brought back several eight-foot two-by-fours (that stretched from tailgate to dash, front seat reclined all the way). Another trip to the garden center (see photo) and the Crosstour swallowed eight bags of pine bark mulch and several more of potting soil plus a few pots and assorted supplies. One nifty feature: beneath the cargo floor there’s a tilted, washable plastic bin. It’s big enough to swallow several grocery bags and is deep enough to keep them from shifting during driving.

Ah, yes, driving.

The Crosstour, happily, isn’t built on a truck chassis. While its six inches of ground clearance is decidedly un-SUV-like, especially vs. competition like the high-riding Subaru Outback (8.7 inches), and that might make it less of a snow plow come winter (Subaru buyers in Vermont will never switch), the all-wheel drive system is really more of a back-up plan anyway. If the front tires slip, power is sent to the rears, but otherwise this is a front driver and that makes it reasonably fuel efficient (17 city/25 highway); we got about 21 mpg on a mix of urban and rural motoring, which included some semi harrowing darting through stop-and-go gridlock in the Bronx.

Speaking of which, the Crosstour does even that sort of dance with reasonable alacrity; you can muscle around double-parked cars and mash the gas to dart into an opening in traffic and response from the 271hp V-6 is decently muscular.  Incidentally, that motor has a cylinder deactivation system to save fuel, and during cruising can run on four or three cylinders. An “ECO” light in the console lets you know the system is working, but otherwise there’s zero sense of increased vibration or shuddering when you get back on the throttle.

Aggressive driving isn’t this big Honda’s forte. Steering feel is a tad sedated, and the tall, 225/60/R18 Michelin Latitude tires mush around corners, scrubbing and howling if you decide to play. The Crosstour is just agile enough, but no sports sedan.

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