So far as we've found, no discussion about the Honda Accord Crosstour can be completed without reference to the car's controversial styling. We've further discovered that more often than not, discussions about the Crosstour's styling aren't especially flattering.

In truth, the Crosstour's appearance was discussed more than any other aspect of the car. Nearly every log entry mentions it, and the entries are rarely flattering. Whether it's the Zamboni nose or the tucked-up tail, or the fact that those two don't work together at all, the staff had plenty to say about the Crosstour's sheetmetal. So there, we've made our case.

There's far more to a car than its outward appearance, and, once our editors stopped carping about the design, they found a few things to like about the big Honda. Much praise was given to the ample interior space, for passengers as well as cargo.

"I was pleasantly surprised by how much rear seat legroom there is," noted copy editor Zach Gale. "Too bad about the sloping roofline's effect on rear-seat headroom. Passenger room is where this Crosstour pulls ahead of our similarly priced long-term Acura TSX wagon. The TSX can hold more cargo, but if I were taking friends out to dinner, I know which vehicle I'd want to drive."

Though the Crosstour is down about 9 cubic feet of space on the TSX Wagon with the seats folded, many editors still appreciated the added space over an Accord sedan's. Several used the Crosstour for long road trips, dropping the seats and filling the hold. Senior editor Matt Stone even used it to haul tires. Truck Trend editor Allyson Harwood used it to haul press materials back from a trade show in Las Vegas, though she found that lighter items tended to slide around too much.

The road trippers also consistently commented on the interior noise levels. The Crosstour was unanimously praised for being quieter inside than an Accord sedan, though most staffers added that it could still be quieter. The ride quality also garnered much praise, with art director Mike Royer noting, "It's not heavy, but it has a safe heft to it. It's a solid vehicle with a solid feel -- a luxury you won't get in most of the hatchbacks out there today." The few editors who made use of its all-wheel drive capabilities in foul weather also attested to the Crosstour's sure-footedness.

While we found much to like beneath the Crosstour's polarizing skin, we had other concerns that were more than skin deep. That rakish roofline was cited by several editors as a hindrance to rearward visibility, because of its mile-wide D-pillars as well as its split rear window.

The navigation system was repeatedly dinged for its aged graphics and confusing user interface, though we appreciate Honda allowing the front-seat passenger to program a destination while the car is moving. And, as with many recent Hondas, the center stack drew criticism for its dreaded "sea of buttons" while the transmission took hits for its lack of manual shifting ability and the absence of a sixth gear.

If there was one thing we couldn't complain about, it was the Crosstour's reliability. The computer didn't ask for its first service until 8764 miles, which put us out $97.68 for an oil change, tire rotation, and inspection. A second service came due at twice the mileage and ran us $190.65 owing to a fluid change in the rear differential on top of the normal service. While we were there, we asked Honda to take a look at the brakes, as the car had been shimmying under hard braking. New front pads and turned rotors solved the problem for an extra $225.92. Honda also inspected the front passenger airbag per an outstanding recall at no cost.

The Crosstour may be Honda's answer to the Toyota Venza, but it's a vehicle much more sure of its place in the world. It isn't trying to be cool for the kids-it's aimed squarely at the age group that makes the majority of new car purchases. As Royer put it, "The Crosstour feels very adult." It's not pretty, it's not exciting, but it's comfortable and gets the job done. If its buyers aren't going to ask any more of it than that, why should we?


From The Logbook

"First compliment on styling came from my 65-year-old neighbor, but there was tons of negative reaction before that."
Brian Vance

"Big butts are usually a good thing-just ask J.Lo, Kim Kardashian, or Vida Guerra. But on a CUV? Hell, no. Every time I approached it, Sir Mix-A-Lot's 'Baby Got Back' jumped into my head."
Emiliana Sandoval

"Guest driver and not-yet-jaded-by-the-car-parade consulting art director Darren Scott was immediately impressed with the roominess and comfort of the cabin. Scott proclaimed it 'a solid family motor,' which translates roughly from British English to American English as 'nice station wagon.' I agree."
Mike Royer

Our Vehicle
Base Price $34,730
Options Navigation ($2200)
Price as tested $36,930
Avg fuel economy 20.9 mpg
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $288.83
Normal-wear cost $225.92
3-year residual value* $14,940
Recalls Front passenger airbag inspection/replacement
*Automotive Lease Guide