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2012 Honda Crosstour with Four-Cylinder Engine, Lower Price Unveiled

Honda is out with a new four-cylinder engine option in the 2012 Honda Crosstour that it says is going to increase the bulky hatchback's affordability and fuel efficiency over the 2011 Honda Accord Crosstour.

Actually, the biggest change for the crossover utility vehicle is dropping Accord from its name. That may help improve the marketing and ultimately the sales of the 2012 Honda Crosstour, which had existed in a weird netherworld of being kind of an Accord and kind of a crossover. Initially, Honda execs branded it an Accord because who doesn't like an Accord?

Honda doesn't directly address the Crosstour's affordability in the news release that was sent to TorqueNews. However, it should be below the current 2012 sticker price of $30,340 for the base two-wheel drive model. Conservative estimates would set the price of the 2012 Honda Crosstour at $27,995. The model goes on sale in January.

The new four-cylinder Crosstour models come with a 2.4-liter, 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC engine that produces 192 horsepower at 7,000 RPM and 162 lb-ft. of torque at 4,400 RPM, mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control as standard equipment.

EPA-estimated fuel economy on the four-cylinder Crosstour is 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, a 16 percent increase in city mileage and a slightly less impressive 7 percent increase from the 271-horsepower 2WD V6 model's EPA estimated 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Combined numbers are now 24 mpg vs. 21 mpg for the six-cylinder model.

The newest Crosstour is available in two trim levels, including the Crosstour EX and leather-upholstered Crosstour EX-L. A Honda Satellite-linked Navigation System is available on the Crosstour EX-L. The four-cylinder engine will only be available on the front-wheel drive version.

The bigger news about the new Crosstours may be the content that now comes standard such as Bluetooth HandsFreeLink and USB audio interface, as well as a rearview mirror backup camera. Those are normally profit making centers for a company but the Japanese manufacturer is realizing that consumers demand those amenities now and don't want to see them as part of optional, expensive add-on packages. Honda also touts an automatic dimming rearview mirror, which brings the company into the late 90s with innovation and auto on/off headlights.

The four-cylinder model includes body-color door handles and unique 17-inch alloy wheels with P225/65 R17 all-season tires. Two new colors are available on all 2012 Crosstour models: Twilight Blue Metallic replaces Glacier Blue Metallic, and Basque Red Pearl II replaces Tango Red Pearl.

Additional standard features on the new four-cylinder Crosstour EX include projector-beam headlights, a moonroof, body-colored power side mirrors with defrost, auto-up/down driver and front passenger side windows, and rear privacy glass. Inside are air conditioning with second-row ventilation, a 360-watt AM/FM 6-disc audio system with seven speakers, steering wheel-mounted cruise, audio and phone controls, an easy fold-down 60-40 split rear seatback, a hidden removable utility box and more.

Where the Crosstour is really going to get you is its functionality. There's an under-floor storage area in the rear that swallows up cargo. It has reversible floor panels that are going to come in handy if you need to carry messy goods.

The 2012 Honda Crosstour is assembled in Ohio at the Honda of America Mfg., Inc., East Liberty Auto Plant using domestic and globally sourced parts.