• Now called Honda Crosstour; Accord name dropped for 2012
  • 192-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder added alongside V6
  • Fuel efficiency rating of 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway

Honda's uniquely styled Crosstour has been a slow seller. The Accord-based crossover vehicle, a competitor to wagon-SUV mashups like the Toyota Venza, drops the Accord name for the 2012 model year, which may differentiate the Crosstour from its sedan sibling in the showroom. But the real upgrade for 2012 will come at the gas pump for drivers that take advantage of the newly available 4-cylinder engine option.

Since its 2010 model year debut, the Crosstour has been powered by a 3.5-liter V6 delivering power through either all-wheel or front-wheel drive. New 2012 four-cylinder models will be exclusively front-wheel drive, yielding 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, an increase of 3 mpg and 2 mpg respectively, over the front-drive V6. While a 3 mpg advantage may sound paltry, it represents a significant 17% increase in city economy.

Of course, to take advantage of the more efficient powerplant, one must sacrifice horsepower. The 192-horsepower 4-cylinder unit gives up nearly 80 ponies to the V6. In the Accord sedan, the smaller engine is still sufficiently powerful, but the Crosstour outweighs the sedan by about 300 pounds.

Two trim levels, EX and EX-L, are available in four-cylinder, front-wheel drive configurations. The EX-L gets leather upholstery and optional navigation, but all trim levels have niceties like a moonroof, back-up camera, second row ventilation and 6-disk audio system with seven speakers. An auto-dimming mirror, auto headlights and Bluetooth are also now standard.

Two new colors, Twilight Blue Metallic and Basque Red Pearl II, are available for the 2012 Crosstour.

If the power penalty results in a Crosstour that's more efficient and just a bit slower, Honda may have an effective cure to the vehicle's slow sales in the new motor choice. However, if the less powerful Crosstour is positively sluggish, sales may remain lethargic as well.

What it means to you:

SUV and wagon meet in Honda's unique Crosstour. New standard features accompany a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine choice for the 2012 model year.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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