The Luxury Problem

Relative to a Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima, the Accord sedan feels high-rent. But Honda priced the Crosstour closer to luxury-brand cars, and there isn't enough that sets it apart from its modestly priced sedan counterpart. Move up the Crosstour trims and similar money can fetch a Volvo V70, Audi A4 Avant or BMW 328i Sports Wagon — relatively unadorned versions, to be sure, but cars all cut from a nicer cloth.

In that league, the Crosstour is, well, just an Accord. Plastic window pillars, cheap finishes below eye level, frosted gray trim — these can fly in a $23,000 family sedan. Not one that starts around $30,000. The Venza's interior, in contrast, feels distinctly richer than those in the Camry and Crosstour. The Murano could pass for a model from Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand. The Crosstour needs gussying, plain and simple.

What gussying Honda did do, at least, works. The Crosstour-specific blue gauge lighting looks sharp, and the leather upholstery in EX-L models feels suppler and better cushioned than the cowhide in the Accord sedan. Honda says it's the same grade of leather but has a new pattern, with vertical seams instead of the sedan's gathered look. Either way, it comes off as higher quality.

The front seats have good thigh support and plenty of adjustment range. Like the sedan, the Crosstour has impressive headroom and legroom in the backseat, and the seats sit high enough off the ground to be comfortable. The Venza and redesigned Subaru Outback offer comparable backseat room, but most entry-level luxury wagons — particularly the 328i Sports Wagon and A4 Avant — have fairly cramped backseats.

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