• The 2013 Honda Crosstour moves further from its Accord roots
  • New V6 engine promises more power and lower consumption
  • Production model ready this fall

The Honda Crosstour takes another step in its evolution at the 2012 New York auto show. Having started life as the Accord Crosstour (this wagon-like crossover is based on Honda's perennially popular midsize sedan), then losing the "Accord" part of its badge for the 2012 model year, this concept signals the Crosstour's direction when a revised version comes out this fall.

As an indication of how close it is to a production vehicle, the proper name is: 2013 Honda Crosstour Concept. Not many design studies are given a model year.

Regarding the difference in styling between this and the 2012 version, Honda's description is: "a more capable looking exterior." A more appropriate term might be "purposeful." The Crosstour Concept stresses the SUV side of the crossover equation with a skid plate under the front lip, sculpted rocker panels running beneath the doors and a revised rear end that provides "a more solidly planted appearance." The front fascia around the fog lamps also takes on stronger look.

There's still an air of secrecy over a re-engineered 3.5-liter V6 that is claimed to have more power and superior fuel consumption than the engine it succeeds, although Honda isn't giving out any numbers yet. We do know it employs "Variable Cylinder Management" which is presumably some kind of selective deactivation feature (perhaps borrowed from the Honda Odyssey?).

Linked to this new engine is a similarly new six-speed automatic transmission along with the option of "Real Time 4WD" - which means part-time four-wheel drive. When conditions dictate, power can be sent to all wheels, although the default setting is front-drive. The alternative drivetrain is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 192 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, connected to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Honda promises enhanced visibility, but the sloping-roof body shape with a less-than-stellar rear three-quarter view remains unchanged, with reshaped rear headrests being the sole physical tweak. So technology comes to the rescue in the form of blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and forward collision alerts. This should all help the 2013 Crosstour earn an anticipated maximum score from the federal New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).

Not on display in New York, but promised for the production version is an upgraded interior with "heavily revised trim materials" and an eight-inch information screen. Naturally, things like Bluetooth, satellite radio, text-to-speech function and Pandora internet radio will be available.

No word on pricing yet, but a 2012 Crosstour starts at $31,150 (including 4810 destination charge).

What this means to you: There's always a high level of quality to Honda products and another model to choose from can only be a good thing.

Check out more news from the New York Auto Show.

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Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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