Home » The Honda Crosstour Hack: How To Get A Nicer, Bigger, Weirder AWD Honda Accord Without Spending More Money

The Honda Crosstour Hack: How To Get A Nicer, Bigger, Weirder AWD Honda Accord Without Spending More Money

Hondacrosstour Weirdo Ts
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Utility vehicles are hot right now. Too hot. So hot that the segment has been molting into new shapes, and turning into performance variants and hybrids to appeal to the masses. This is how sedans die, and why sports cars are growingly scarce. Sort of bucking the market trend in the strangest way came from the least likely source. Honda, with good intentions, was trying to grow its U.S. marketshare with a new body shape. This wouldn’t follow the boxiness of the CR-V, nor follow exactly the same formula that made the Accord so successful (though, it wouldn’t diverge that much). It would go down as a bit of a sales disaster for the company. I’m talking about the Honda Crosstour.

But does that make it a failure as a car?

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What Is It?

The Accord Crosstour was an oversized wagony-sedan-thing that somehow wasn’t quite big enough to haul that many people or things. But then, I guess it wasn’t supposed to be if there was already a minivan and a three-row SUV in the lineup. What the Crosstour tried to do was become one of the first in-betweeners for those looking for something not quite so bulky. But it had to be more practical than the standard Accord. That, in my view, was Honda’s first mistake. Putting a nameplate that has a legacy attached to it onto an entirely new model can have repercussions and reflect negatively on the car from the start.

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour - OEM

Honda tried to get prospective buyers excited by touting the premium cabin and practicality of the Accord platform-based “SUV”:

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The Accord Crosstour combines the sophisticated refinement of a premium sedan with versatile characteristics of an SUV to create an entirely distinct concept within the Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment. Leveraging the many benefits of a car-based platform, the Accord Crosstour starts with the top-level refinement of the Accord V-6 Sedan and further expands utility with a sleek-yet-functional profile for increased cargo space.

A similar message was conveyed in Honda’s advertising at the time:

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour - Advertisement - OEM

The thing is, the Crosstour sort of made sense given the context of the world at the time. It was the late 2000s, a different, weird time for the industry, going about every which way in dealing with the percussion of the Great Recession. 

The downturn saw global consequences, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t still risk-taking. Overseas, foreigners like BMW and Porsche were hard at work envisioning what the vehicle of the next decade could look like. This meant swaying from the traditional norms of three-box sedans and two-box SUVs and heading into the era of the unknown. Here, the two started to differ. BMW’s next move was a coupe-like SUV that we know as the controversial X6. Porsche went the more logical route of the sedan, but with a twist. This would be the ultimate fastback of fastback sedans that has since become a staple of the brand lineup called the Panamera. 

What the two have in common is that the Germans were trying them out for the first time. Neither company had figured how to make the X6 nor Panamera aesthetically pleasing to the eye and therefore, the styling is a miss from those early years, in my view. Meanwhile, Honda was also trying to grow its lineup. It too saw market potential for a new class of vehicle that was bigger than a sedan, but not quite blown up to full-size SUV. The compromise was somewhere in the middle. 

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With Honda joined in the mix, what did the three have in common? 

Humpbacks Copy

 

I bet in your head, you’re thinking words like ‘hatchbacks,’ ‘humps,’ ‘hunchbacks,’ maybe ‘humpback whales.’ Actually, humpback whales are beautiful up close but that’s not what we’re talking about here. It’s clear that styling took a backseat, while practicality took a stronghold. That is, as long as we’re ignoring rearward visibility. Also, unlike the unusual Germans however, the Honda equivalent did not receive a sequel. Here’s why.

 An Expensive Offering

2012 Honda Crosstour - Interior - OEM

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Honda was so intent on offering a more practical package without being as large as the Pilot. However, the starting price was announced to be just $300 less than a Pilot in 2010. To get your hands on an ordinary Accord sedan back then, it would have cost you about 10 grand less of your hard-earned money. How could that possibly be worth it?

To be fair, the Crosstour was never offered with a base trim, and 4-cylinder power wasn’t available until 2012. Still, $30,380 was a tough sell in 2009 when buyers were weary of an economy that was just beginning to recover. And the styling wasn’t a strong selling point.

What was a strong selling point was healthy V6 power in addition to what else was included in the EX trim. Things like 17-inch wheels, dual-zone AC, 360-watt stereo, moonroof, fog lights, chrome door handles, compass, and an outside temperature reader. Stepping up to the EX-L added leather seats, steering wheel, and shift knob, memory seat and side-mirror controls, upped the wheel size to 18 inches, auto-on headlamps, more speakers, and USB audio connectivity. 

Mind you, this was before active safety features became commonplace so there’s nothing to give you a beeping shit fit should you marginally stray out of lane. The only driver incompetence remained in you behind the wheel. And you, as the presumptive owner, can focus more on its perks as a Crossover Utility Vehicle — Honda’s term — and it would start to shine a little bit.

Groundclearance Hondacrosstour 2

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For starters, it came with increased ground clearance. At the very least, you saw 6 inches of clearance at the front end, and up to 8.1 inches to most of the underbody. That’s something for a car that never sat much more than five feet tall. Also impressive is the cargo capacity, which stretches from 25.7 cu-ft. of space with the seats up to a cavernous 51.3 cu-ft. once they fold down. Indeed, a Crosstour will have more than double the cargo space of an Accord sedan, but naturally, holds half as much as the Pilot.

This is not too far off the mark of what a compact crossover can get you today, such the recently refreshed Subaru Crosstrek. Even if you don’t regret buying a Subaru, it seems there was no buyers’ remorse about purchasing a Crosstour. 

Sales started strong, but quickly died down. Honda sold 28,851 units in 2010, but lost almost 11,000 cars the following year. Hype came and went faster than hormones on prom night. Changes had to be made.

The Work Begins

2012 Honda Crosstour -- Rear - OEM

Honda’s not the type to throw in the towel on the first try. It lost the battle, but there’s still a war to clammer newfound market share. The updates began with the 2012 model year. For starters, the ‘Accord’ would be dropped to lessen the confusion between the esteemed sedan and the adventurous Crosstour. The next step was lowering the base price. For that to happen, it gained a new engine.

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This was a good move because it was the K24Y2 inline-4 that was part of a motor family already with a legacy. This was a refinement of the VTEC bangers that came about in the 1990s with a spin toward fuel economy. Flatfooters didn’t miss out on a higher redline that came with more power, and the controls for variable valve timing could utilize the two camshafts to squeeze out a few more MPGs.

As a result, the price dropped almost three grand to $27,755 before any destination charges were applied. You could still get a well-equipped EX as the base model, only now, your K series engine produced 192 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. What it lacked in acceleration, even by Jason’s metrics of what determines a fast car, you got up to an EPA-rated 29 MPG on the highway.

The One You Want

2013 Honda Crosstour - OEM

For 2013, the improvements continued to roll in. Changes included a revised front fascia, new wheels for the higher trims, upgraded interior materials, new tech safety features, a standard reverse camera to address rear visibility along with adjusted headrests so you can see out the back easier. The inline-4 could now see up to 31 MPG for a two-wheel-drive Crosstour, while the J series 3.5-liter V6 got an upgrade.

Transitioning from a J35Z2 to a J35Y1 mill saw power jump from 271 to 278 horsepower. Torque dipped by just two to 252 but it peaked at lower RPMs. The inline-4 saw continued use out of the five-speed automatic while V6 variants saw an extra cog. The six-speed auto means fuel mileage jumped to 29 highway MPG for a two-wheel-drive Crosstour. Equipping Honda’s RealTime 4WD system only saw 1 mile per gallon lost on the highway and two in the city. The worst the Crosstour saw in its lifetime from the EPA was 18.

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2013 Honda Crosstour - Interior - OEM

Should you need to get anywhere in a hurry in a Crosstour, the V6 is a healthy asset. In critical testing, acceleration times are all over the place. The slowest launch time I can find recorded is 7.6 seconds to sixty. One source points out a zer0-to-sixty time as little as 6.6 seconds.

Honda’s efforts to enliven the Crosstour’s appeal came to no avail. It saw just 16,847 units moved in 2013 before tumbling down to 11,000 and 9,000 units in the following two years. The Crosstour saw its demise in August 2015, when the last model rolled out of the assembly plant in East Liberty, OH. In all, production totaled 108,716.

What It Means Now

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour - OEM - SEMA
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As cars get more electrified and complicated as a whole, vehicles like the Crosstour find appeal. This generation of Hondas was the last before oft-dreaded CVTs started to make a prominent appearance in the lineup. The bulletproof K series engine production ended to make room for the 1.5T four banger that’s popped up with issues.

Not that the Crosstour was ever perfect. It saw premature wear on the brakes and there were troubles with the V6. Still, once you’re aware of what it takes to maintain a Crosstour, gems do come up in the classifieds. Here’s a 2012 example with a V6 in Illinois with just 91,000 miles. One owner, four-wheel-dive in the top shelf EX-L trim level; the dealer is asking $12,995. Similarly priced is a 2013 Crosstour with the K24. As someone who owned a Honda Accord with this engine for six years, I can attest to its durability. Stay on top of services and this engine, and the V6, can last you over 200,000 miles.

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Speaking of Accords, the Crosstour’s relatively waning popularity means that it has dipped to around the same value (or even lower) of the Accord sedan produced in the same timeframe despite a $10,000 difference in initial base price. Sure, compare the equivalent trim levels, the difference only shrinks to about $5,000, but still, a 2015 Accord EX-L with 95,000 miles can be found online for $16,585 with a similar CarFax report to the 2012 $12,995 Crosstour mentioned above. Even a 2014 Accord LX base model with similar miles in Florida is commanding more money than either Crosstour.

In the area where I live now, some two hours north of Phoenix, it seems all of the Crosstours that were produced in the 2010s made their way up here. In town, I can’t turn a corner or cross the aisle in the grocery store lot without encountering a Crosstour. And I’ve seen what people do them. Some wear roof racks with the occasional kayak strapped down, others wear stickers on the back plastered with progressive political slogans. The warranty may be long expired, but it’s clear they see prolonged use just like any other Honda.

If I can’t get my Clown Shoe Miata, it wouldn’t be a massive project to modernize a Crosstour. Later Accords shared a similar dashboard if I could incorporate an OEM display that supported Apple CarPlay. Then I’d be one of the locals who installs his own choice of useful accessories.

2013 Honda Crosstour - Accessories

Hondacrosstour Applecarplay 3

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Since the Crosstour bowed out, Honda has brought back the Passport from the dead, and I believe if the Crosstour was brought from the dead, it would do well…enough.

A $31,000 Subaru Crosstrek is nothing to sneeze at in 2024. Hell, even a Crosstrek Wilderness, which can cost a pretty penny, can get you some bang for your buck as we found out last year. Adventure cars like the Subie and the Honda and Toyota TRD Pros whatnots and renovated VW Vanagons are high on the emotional quotient.

Just as the Honda Crosstour was on its way out, the Subaru was coming in. It was only a lifted Impreza hatchback at first conception, now it’s considered a class lead and has a dedicated fanbase. The Honda Crosstour may not have worked the first time, but the industry has since evolved, and that goes for recreational vehicles as well. Keep the V6 that’s in the Passport, commit to a price tag of under $40,000, maybe add some cladding, and it could have a place as the Accord’s evil cousin, I think.

Even if I’m wrong, these things seem like a good deal on the used market. They’re basically nicer, bigger Accords for roughly the same money.

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Spencer Comeau
Spencer Comeau
28 days ago

Crosstour owner here…

When we bought our Crosstour, it was because the right answer is always as much accord as you can afford, but my wife wanted all wheel drive, and didn’t like that we were sacrificing her smaller wagon (cooler car, similarly dumb name – Sportcross!) to buy something larger. It felt like a reasonable compromise.

Unfortunately, from a utilities standpoint, it just doesn’t deliver. Yes, the hatch does technically give us more room that I would expect the trunk of its sedan would have. But the first week we owned it, with two car seats in the back, we bought a pop-up tent for the backyard. it came in a box about 1’ x 1’ x 6’. We couldn’t fit it in the car, except to put it under our kids feet on the floor of the backseat. It was too tall and long to go over the backseat without getting wedged into the headliner and seat back Because of the sloping roof. My Nissan leaf, can absolutely hold a larger box. Understandably, because it’s square in the back.

We still like the Crosstour generally, but it isn’t as taught an as accord would have been, weighs more, and is surely less efficient. We both kind of like the odd styling, but that’s not worth the price trade off. The CT, regardless of year, was based off of the eighth gen Accord. But we could have bought a ninth gen accord for the same money, and having owned one 7 years ago, I can say unquestionably it was a quieter and significantly nicer car.

All in all we don’t regret the purchase but we probably wouldn’t do it again.

While I’m monologuing, let’s make fun of the marketing guys who were trying to make this things seem more rugged to appeal to the outdoorsy folk who think they need something like it to drive up a gravel road on occasion. Honda confounding says that this is not AWD but rather 4WD on the back badge! Gotta make it seem tough and capable after all. Lol.

Myk El
Myk El
29 days ago

I see them occasionally now, but at one time they were fairly common. Still, I’d see one and I’m like “oh. my. god, Becky…”

DrDanteIII
DrDanteIII
29 days ago

I was always amazed that the conceptually and dimensionally similar Acura ZDX was essentially mechanically unrelated to the Crosstour despite contemporaneous production. Either one of those cars seemed ugly and absurd at the time, and the thought that Honda developed both at the same time on separate platforms boggles the mind.

Last edited 29 days ago by DrDanteIII
Ian McClure
Ian McClure
29 days ago

I saw a Crosstour on lowered springs once. I actually really liked it that way, and it’s not like anyone was using these for off-roading anyway.

Bob the Hobo
Bob the Hobo
29 days ago

Like others, I find this would have been better as a full wagon, but what if they had done this to a Civic instead? Base price would be much lower, and it would have superseded the HR-V. A Crosstrek before the Crosstrek existed.

Rick Wurtz
Rick Wurtz
29 days ago

Ooooo, I have a Crosstour story!

In 2022, we were looking for a car, as Carmax had offered us more than we paid for my wife’s 2017 Sorento 2.4 GDI (they didn’t ask how much oil it used and I didn’t tell them) and we took the offer. Fortuitously, a distant cousin had just posted a Marketplace ad for a well-maintained, low mileage 2010 Crosstour EX-L. I had always liked the way they looked, and a little research showed that they were at least as dependable and nice to drive as your average Accord, so we flew to Florida and drove it home to PA. We have put something like 35K miles on it and we love it. The V6 is indeed healthy, the cargo space is fantastic. It definitely feels like a step up from the string of Kias she had driven previously. I don’t really get the styling hate; to me it looks like a 9/8 scale Civic hatchback with some Accord design cues.

I do have a couple issues that I will pass along for anyone looking at these:

At around 100K miles, the VTEC solenoid gasket on the front valve cover went bad and puked enough oil down into the alternator to take it out. From what I have seen online, this is not uncommon; it happens on Accords and anything with this V6. The gasket is not available by itself from Honda dealers in the US; they want to sell you the whole solenoid. You can, however, get an OEM gasket in original Honda packaging on Fleabay with a little digging.

By 2024 standards the infotainment display in the EX-L with nav is ATROCIOUS, and it’s not easily upgradable. I have to believe that even by 2010 standards it’s pretty bad. I mean, even disregarding the nav altogether because Google Maps, just the satellite and broadcast radio screens look like 8-bit Donkey Kong high score listings. The audio system sounds fine and includes a subwoofer, but you will need to make friends with a Bluetooth-to-AUX adapter because the Bluetooth functionality built into the car is strictly for phone calls and will not stream music. The kicker is that you can’t just go to Crutchfield and replace the whole mess with a $200 CarPlay unit that’s light years ahead of it because it’s so integrated into the car. (Ok, rant over… from what I understand, the audio systems were updated and much improved for the 2012 model year, and it isn’t even really an issue for us because my wife, who is the primary driver, often just leaves the radio off when she drives. Blasphemy, I know.)

Personally I DESPISE the design of the 18-inch wheels, but 2013-2015 models got a wheel upgrade. Anybody selling some nice-looking Accord 18s?

Last edited 29 days ago by Rick Wurtz
Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
29 days ago

It’s so weird that this article popped up. We were recently discussing the fact that we no longer really need the minivan (Odyssey) in our fleet and we’re thinking of down sizing to something slightly more efficient. My thought was an Accord. Then I thought, well, having a hatch and room in the back is probably a nice midway, between sedan and minivan. Naturally, i thought of something that we use to refer to as a wagon. Accord wagons have been put of production for what, 30 years? Then the old Crosstour cross toured my mind and I was like, hmm, maybe I should give those a look. I remember at the time of their release being rather dismissive because of their awkward styling and non committal vehicle class. I can say now, that for someone who doesn’t want a CUV or SUV, but needs a bit more functionality than a sedan these are an interesting proposition. And after a cursory look online, it seems like they are an absolute used car bargain.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
29 days ago

I love those.

Nicholas Bianski
Nicholas Bianski
29 days ago

I miss the days of fewer driver assists. Lane keep assist is always the first thing I shut off. I-10 seems to almost permanently be under construction, the lane lines are rarely repainted, and I had an HR-V try to pull me into a concrete barrier more than once. Automatic anti-collision braking has brake-checked people behind me more than once in tight two-lane corners, but I haven’t brought myself to turn that one off yet.

I could never buy a Crosstour. They’re cheap enough I would be tempted to do things with that K-series. Not some crazy 800 HP monster, mind you, but a few small things to make it more fun to drive. The styling didn’t bother me and it’s in the sweet spot to me as far as tech goes. If they total my current car, maybe the correct answer is a Crosstour to daily and the 190e I’ve had my eyes on for a while as a weekend car…

Aaron Williams
Aaron Williams
1 month ago

I live on the Midwest, I own a crosstour. I also own two honda odyssey as well. I’ve own quite a few Hondas in my lifetime, I do agree, that car was a flop, the Acura ZDXwas even worse.By myself being a mechanic, working on different models of cars foreign and domestic, that crosstour is by far the best put together car that honda has ever built.I looked at that and the 1st Gen Ridgeline, and I liked the crosstour much better.I don’t care about the cargo capacity, I just love driving it. That suspension is tight. I have a clean infiniti QX 56 we travel in and that suv was well put together also.There are vehicles that are way worse. From a mechanics prospective, I know from experience.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
1 month ago

You should mention the rear strut cargo bay intrusion. Basically makes sleeping two impossible and considerably hinders hauling ability for furniture or other large items.

https://wildsau.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/trunk.jpg

I did actually consider one of these. Ended up getting an XC70 instead since the trunk on those isn’t so…piecemeal.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago

The Panamera looks fine on the outside, but the inside looks like they fed a bunch of turn of the century Nokia cell phones to some large ungulate, a camel perhaps, that then vomited them up all over the interior. I have found Porsche interiors to always be fairly tasteful and restrained, but gawd that thing was just awful.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
1 month ago

It’s so fugly

ReverendDC
ReverendDC
1 month ago

Should have named it the Honda Aztek.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
1 month ago

Not that I’m any huge fan of the looks of the first-gen Panamera, but why is it being lumped in with the X6 and Crosstour? The Panamera never had any illusions about off-roading or ground clearance or a high H-point; it was always a four-door executive high performance road car.

Josh Frantz
Josh Frantz
1 month ago

Ahh the CrossTard. An Accord with no gain in utility while sacrificing handling and efficiency. They dont whiff often, but this was one

Last edited 1 month ago by Josh Frantz
Col Lingus
Col Lingus
29 days ago
Reply to  Josh Frantz

We just called it the CrossTurd…YMMV

Strangek
Strangek
1 month ago

These things are freaking hideous, I always wanted one.

Taxi maniac
Taxi maniac
1 month ago

This car always made me so mad.

Some with the x6. I do like the Porsche version…

But any of these three could of been so much better as a true wagon.

Keep that roof parallel to the ground for as long as you can!

This thing coulda been special…. but it’s crap

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
29 days ago
Reply to  Taxi maniac

And as a real wagon they might have sold a shit load of them too. At least more than than the CrossTurd managed. And maybe would have revived wagon sales as well?

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
1 month ago

The thought of spending $13k for 12 year old car with 90k miles that isn’t: luxury, performance(handling/speed or off-road) or cool is just mind boggling. I overpaid last fall and after incentives got 2019 EV for $17k, with half as many miles. $4k to have a car that is 7 model years newer, way more efficient, and has nearly as much power and similar cargo capacity.

86-GL
86-GL
1 month ago

I agree with you- But imagine Subaru had built an Outback with Honda build quality, a nice interior, and peak J and K series performance. Sounds pretty okay right? If Honda hadn’t whiffed the styling, this thing would be a cult classic.

30mpg is nothing to sneeze at for a large comfy car from 15 years ago. End of the day, it’s still a reliable Honda. For someone who doesn’t have a ton of money, but needs a solid long distance cruiser, one could could do a lot worse.

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