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Thanks, Honda…

July 8, 2009

For the most part, I like Honda. My wife’s owned three, including our current Nolan Transport Device, a 2008 CR-V. I totally dig the Fit, to the point of considering it one of the two or three cars I’d opt for if I had to give up the Mini. And while I wish they’d give us the Euro-spec Civic hatchback, I really don’t dislike a single vehicle in their U.S. lineup (which is more than can be said for most of the car brands).

So when I found out Honda was going to introduce a crossover-ish vehicle to compete with the Toyota Venza, I was kind of intrigued. The Venza and the new Subaru Forester (one of the few vehicles in the country still selling like hotcakes) have opened up a new niche of sorts in the automotive landscape, a kind of cross between a wagon and an SUV. While I’d prefer to see more rakish wagons and hatches here in the States, I’ll take anything that’s not another SUV.

Now, the Venza, I must admit, is a pretty stylish machine. And the Forester has that Subaru beauty about it…with a quirkiness that grows on you over time. So I was hoping for some pretty slick things out of Honda.

Indeed…some of the early prototypes were pretty great looking. Such as this one captured shortly after Honda announced the new Crosstour:

Sleek. Edgy. Beefy and aggressive with strong character lines. It’s no Alfa Romeo, but it straddles the line between wagon and crossover/SUV-thing quite well. If this were comign over with the rumored diesel, yeah I’d be interested.

Instead, Honda appears to have gone off in a different direction altogether, yielding this:

Okay. Honestly, there’s potential here. I like the fastback design in principle. But it doesn’t work here. There’s just too much junk in the trunk. And that rear overhang is ridiculous.

In end, I’m left wandering who would buy this. Maybe it’ll look better once the masking is removed, but for now it just looks like an Accord with a bubble butt. One that’ll no doubt impose a several thousand dollar premium over the Accord sedan.

Sorry, Honda. I can’t see this as a viable Venza or Forester competitor. Those vehicles offer a compromise between traditional wagon and SUV forms. The utility and fuel economy and handling of the former with the raised, aggressive appearance of the latter. The Crosstour offers neither. If anything, it looks like a failed attempt to copy the BMW 5-Series GT.

Sigh.

EDIT: Autoblog is reporting that the Crosstour will be arriving this fall as a 2010 model, and will actually be called the Honda Accord Crosstour (allowing it to fold into overall Accord sales to put pressure on the Camry). That makes it something less of an abomination. After all, the previous generation Mazda6 came in sedan, wagon, and 5-door configurations. And any option beside a trunk is highly welcome.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2009 12:43 pm

    Nice post Doogs. But it’s hard to enjoy the look of a car when someone puts the goofy grille-guard thing on it. Why would anyone do that? (I may be alone in this, I don’t have a protector on my iPhone for the same reason)

  2. Matt permalink*
    July 8, 2009 12:54 pm

    I agree – though in this case it’s cladding meant to disguise the final design from spy photographers. Pretty common in the auto world, though this one’s a lot less camo’d up than most.

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