Inside, the Crosstour's Accord origins are entirely familar, and a good thing, too. Our example was an EX-L with Navi (Crosstour's trims consist of either EX, EX-L, or EX-L with Navi-no base LX), and it makes for a very premium environment. Unique to Crosstours are blue instrument lighting effects, a nice faux wood trim, and interiors that are either all black, or, like ours, a split, upper black/lower tan motif. Compared with the sedan, there's a smidgeon more head- and shoulder room, but the news, naturally, is the cargo bay's nominal 25.7 cubic feet (expanding to 51.3 when the split rear seats are folded) vis-a-vis the sedan's puny 14.0.

Lifting the hatch raises the aft portion of a two-part security screen (an EX-L feature), revealing a handsomely finished flat-floored luggage compartment (including scrap plate) that's conveniently extensible via twin rear-accessible seatback releases. It's an awfully handy volume, though the multilink rear suspension's spring towers do noticeably intrude. Stashed under the reversible floor panel (carpeted on one side, plastic on the other for grimy items) is a removable and washable, 1.9-cubic-foot plastic bin; under the stern is a space-saver spare that lowers by cranking.

From the driver's seat, the split-window rear view is tolerable (and thank heavens for the Insight-like second window and available backup camera). However, in every other direction, the view's great, and why not what with you sitting some two inches higher (look to the taller section tires and/or available 18-inch wheels that contribute some 1.4 inches of it).

Dynamically, the added height's hardly noticeable. This is partly creditable, we're told, to curious, new springs (yep, second small coils) added above the front shocks. It's said to aid in keeping the inside tire better planted during cornering (hmm); interestingly, it was also employed on the original Acura Legend back in 1987. An old Honda trick, it would appear. Whatever, the result is unlike any Accord I've ever driven. It's smooth, supple (though rarely floaty), and simultaneously nearly absent the tire noise we've come to grudgingly endure in Accords. Frankly, it rides more like a big Toyota or Lexus. The steering too, is more languid, with intentionally slower response than the Accord sedan. Again, Lexuslike.

While the front-drive Crosstour's underpinnings are essentially Accord (the AWD version being 60 percent so), there are plenty of interesting new tricks that are sure to appear among its brethren. The latitude given the V-6's cylinder deactivation (it can drop to four or three powered cylinders) has been increased, while the consequent vibration and noise have been nixed by active engine mounts (which actually vibrate in sync) and noise-canceling tactics within the cabin. Two other developments are rev-matched downshifts and the inclusion of cornering data into the transmission's shift strategy (any detection of lateral g suppresses unwanted upshifts). What's amusing is that none of this is noticeable. Ab-so-lute-ly none.

Now, some of what I've said might have you wondering. A softer ride? Slower steering? Lexuslike this and that? What's up?