With the economy continuing to stumble and car sales languishing, new models like the Toyota Venza, a wagon – or, if you prefer, crossover-type vehicle — built off the Camry platform, haven’t exactly set the world on fire. That’s all the more so after Toyota shut down production last winter as part of a broad campaign to reduce inventories.
Nevertheless, Toyota executives remain relentlessly upbeat about how will it has done in the current market. Since the first of the year, Toyota has delivered 20,463, including more than 4,500 in June.
Now Honda, which often tends to mirror the moves of its chief Japanese competitor — more than its own executives ever want to admit — has confirmed plans for its own wagon-like crossover, this one to be built off the Accord platform.
Dubbed the Accord Crosstour, the all new CUV will go on-sale in the fall of 2009 as a 2010 model, according to officials from American Honda Motor Co., Inc., who are only belatedly confirming what had been widely suspected for months. (The spy shot shown here, provided by our own Brenda Priddy, first appeared on TheDetroitBureau.com more than a month ago.)
While Honda may be validating the obvious, it still isn’t offering up much else about the Crosstour, though we can confirm it will slot into the line-up between the current CR-V and Pilot crossovers, and should have a wheelbase identical to the more conventional Accord sedan. Think of it as a more modern alternative to the wagon variant that never really caught on with the American market.
Power is expected to come from either four- or six-cylinder engines that will deliver Accord-like fuel economy numbers. Production prototypes spotted by our spies featured Honda’s 3.5-liter i-VTEC engine, but sources also indicate a turbo 2.3-liter I-4, borrowed from the Acura RDX could be offered as an option. Expect the Honda VTM-4 all-wheel-drive to be a high-demand option.
Honda hasn’t priced the vehicle but it looks as if will start in the mid- to high-$20,000 range. The emphasis will be on the vehicle’s basic utility. Production will take place at the automaker’s plant in East Liberty, Ohio.
The appearance of the Crosstour also underscores another trend in automotive design being driven by fuel-economy concerns – more and more utility vehicles will look like, dare we say it, good old-fashioned station wagons – even if industry marketers struggle to find some other, more modern, way to describe these vehicles.
Additional photos can be seen at www.LeftLaneNews.com
Photo: Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company
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