Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Honda spits on wagon fans with the Accord Crosstour

In the interest of honest disclosure, I'll start by admitting that I'm not a huge fan of Honda automobiles. They have for the most part produced very good vehicles that strike me as bland, though there are notable exceptions like the rare and exotic (for its day) Honda NSX (sold in the US as an Acura) and the excellent S2000 sports car.

That said, they rarely seem to make real mistakes. Opinionated schmucks like me bitch and moan about them being soulless and torqueless, but we can rarely claim they are actually bad cars. Their sales would prove us wrong anyway, and their repeat sales definitely show a strong brand loyalty.

One of my beefs with Honda of late is that they make cars I'd actually want, but only sell them elsewhere. They have for several years sold a wagon in Europe called the Accord Tourer that is by all reports an excellent car and is certainly nice to look at. It's well-proportioned and seems an excellent choice for someone needing some cargo capacity in a nice car. Now, the European Accord is not the US Accord, it's more like the previous Acura TSX. It's a bit smaller than the now full-sized US Accord. This means they can't just "bring it here" and sell it as an Accord Wagon (or, god forbid, leave the name alone and call it an Accord Tourer.) They could fairly easily produce an Acura TSX Sportwagon (or Tourer, or call it a WSX or TSX Type-W if you want to pick an Acura-ish name.)

The motoring press started teasing with sightings of mules based on the nice Euro Accord Tourer around a year ago, and things were looking good for a Honda or Acura I might actually put on The Short List. The silver car at right in a Brenda Priddy spy shot looked like an Accord Tourer with a Honda Pilot-style grille. It looked slightly tall, but it's common for US-market cars to have more ground clearance than Euro cars to deal with our more variable road surfaces, so that wasn't a reason for concern.

Then the spy shots showed something just WRONG. Maybe they were trying to throw us off... but no, American Honda is bringing a fat, swollen, repulsive pig of a crossover hatchback lump that's more like the off-scale, overweight, clumsy-looking BMW X6 than the sleek Accord Tourer. The fat white beast to the left is the all-but-undisguised production car, as confirmed by official pictures released by Honda. So far I've only seen postings from a few people who don't hate it, and for all I know they're sockpuppets anyway. For some reason Honda created a Facebook page for the thing, where it's been almost universally panned by people signing up as "fans" just to pour derision on it. In my (completely unscientific) ad hoc analysis of the comments, it looks like about 20-1 in favor of haters. Go haters!

Maybe now they'll bring the Accord Tourer.


The Dad said...

Well, at least there's hope with the CR-Z concept. I dunno, this is the first I'm seeing the tourer thingie...gonna have to see it out in the real world before I make a decision. Lately thre's been a lot of cars out there that, at first glance, are giant pieces of idiocy, but after a while they grow on me. Chrysler's current minivan is an example of that.

DKB said...

Well, it's true that I haven't seen this pig in person, but I can't imagine how it will be appealing. I think the new Accord is too big to begin with, and this is a giant Accord on stilts with a tumorous lump whether either a trunk or a wagon cargo area belong...

The current Chrysler minivan is a bit of a breadbox... but it's perhaps the only non jeep/truck vehicle they make right now in the mainstream that's worth it. I'm hoping Fiat either pulls them out of the fire with decent new designs and Fiat technology, or at least turns their factories and dealerships to the production and sale of Alfas and Fiats...

Bubba said...

What irks me is that Honda or Toyota have given up on wagons. I am on my second Accord, I like them, they do everything pretty well for a long time without going wrong, but I would love more cargo space, but don't want an SUV or a CUV. I want an Accord Tourer, I have seen them in the UK and they are really sleek with lots of space and pretty popular.
Listen up Honda there are some of us who like wagons!

DKB said...

Bubba: I have the same basic problem; that Honda et al have abandoned the wagon segment. Even Subaru has discontinued my Legacy Wagon, offering the wagon only as the taller, tippier Outback version.

However, as much as I prefer wagons, I don't despise the entire CUV segment. There are some well-proportioned CUVs, such as the Mazda CX7. Hell, even Toyota's Venza thing is easier on the eyes than the repulsive Crosstour.