Dateline Palos Verdes, California: Guess what, automotive blogosphere, Honda's Accord Crosstour is not the design catastrophe you so deliriously predicted.
Prior to the new Crosstour's traditional introduction, Honda, rather innocently, released early images of the Crosstour on Facebook. However, these social networks can often be less than sociable gatherings. Snap a finger, and a bunch of collegial car-loving "friends" can transform into a pack of frenzied piranhas. And on their menu last September was the complicated-looking Crosstour, which was spilling blood in the water even before it was properly introduced to the mainstream press. Okay, so just about every car company these days is upping the ante with their online stripteasing, leaking a photo here, releasing a gallery to a social network there, but this time, the viral publicity machine chose to bite back-and bite back hard. Oh, for the days when a new car was revealed to the world with one mighty whiskaway of a black sheet at a major car show.
In my humble opinion, the miscalculation with the Crosstour's Facebook moment was that its shape is so complex, so unusual, it's almost impossible to accurately convey to a 2D audience (even here in this story). The car almost refuses to be photographed; it needs to be physically pondered on two moving feet, watching the surfaces blend and emerge as you change perspective. And while-even after lots of pondering-we might all agree that the Crosstour is not exactly museum material, parked next to Toyota's Venza or Nissan's Murano (as Honda smartly arranged) the Crosstour is aesthetically competitive. Sure, its stern appears to be in an early stage of the Porsche Panamera's elephantitis, but it's a pleasant visual adventure nonetheless. In the sedan, where the rising side creases empty into nowhere, here the grooves neatly transition from a concavity to a convexity and then nicely resolve into the rear bustle. Alas, the biggest problem is the Crosstour's rejiggered Accord snout; pulling out of the driveway I asked my wife if she saw anything wrong with the car's appearance. She pointed to the nose and then slightly fluttered her flattened hand. Signal to the folks who penned that wondrous-looking FCX Clarity (also a big four-door hatchback): It's time to stage that revolt against the sausage-makers in Honda's mainstream design department.