Apart from the alloys, the V6 and I4 Crosstours are all but identical

Apart from the alloys, the V6 and I4 Crosstours are all but identical

American Honda's East Liberty, Ohio-built and recently renamed Honda Crosstour has gained a four-cylinder engine to supplement the V6.

This rival for the Toyota Venza is sold mostly in the US. Neither the Venza nor its rival could be called a sensation, American buyers having been reluctant to embrace either of these high-priced and high-riding hatchbacks. In the first eleven months, only 16,679 units of the Accord Crosstour have been registered with just over 1,100 finding owners in November.

This model was first seen in late 2009 at the Los Angeles auto show. Fitted with a standard 3.5-litre V6 engine, it was new for North America's 2010 model year. American Honda changed the name to Crosstour for the 2012 model year but until now, made no mention of its plans to add a four-cylinder engine.

The car sits above the CR-V and below the Pilot in both sizing and pricing.

The new 2.4-litre Crosstour goes on sale in North America from January. It is to be available with front-wheel drive only whereas the V6 can be ordered with FWD or AWD.

What is now the Honda Crosstour has also been built in China by the Guangqi Honda joint venture since September 2010, with its local launch taking place two months later. Honda's Russian importer also sells the US-made model but due to its size, the car is sold in few other major global markets.

Author: Glenn Brooks