Many people may wonder why Honda has announced the launch of a ?new? Crossroad when there never seemed to be an old one. Actually, there was a model called the Crossroad which was sold only in Japan and it was a first-generation Land Rover Discovery which had a Honda badge. Back in the mid-1990s, Honda realised it had under-estimated the growth of the SUV market and needed something quickly, so it decided to buy the Discovery from Land Rover (Honda also did a deal with Isuzu for some of its models). At that time, Honda and Rover were still partners and the British were delighted to get some extra sales for their SUV, even if it did not have the Land Rover badge. After BMW bought over Rover ? and with it, Land Rover ? Honda pulled out and the Crossroad dropped out of sight.
Now it seems the company is reviving the model name and is using it for a new SUV-MPV. Described as an ?active life navigator? (Honda explains this as ‘a car that helps people enjoy their active new lifestyles, unbound by conventional thinking’), ?the new Crossroad is a chunky-looking sort of SUV which is meant to also offer MPV capabilities. Thus its innovative packaging features versatile 3-row seating within an overall length of 4285 mm.
The Crossroad comes with a choice of 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre i-VTEC engines. Valve timing control is complemented by a Drive-By-Wire system that provides optimum throttle valve control for a major improvement in fuel economy while cruising. This ensures ample low-speed torque combined with outstanding fuel economy. The engines are mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.
2WD and 4WD variants are offered with the latter having an updated version of the Real-Time 4WD system found in the CR-V. It operates as front-wheel drive under normal driving conditions, instantly distributing optimum power to the rear wheels during startup and acceleration or on slippery roads and other times when driving conditions require it.? The 4WD variant is also equipped with Hill-Start Assist function, which temporarily maintains brake pressure after the brake pedal is released when starting on a hill to ensure smoother starts and enhanced ease of use.
The standard tyres for the Crossroad have a new, three-part tread design that incorporates different rubber compounds for the centre and shoulder portions of the tyres to achieve high levels of both fuel economy and braking performance.
The front suspension uses a MacPherson strut design while at the rear is a compact, reactive-link, double-wishbone suspension that provides increased space for passengers in the third row of seats.
A host of safety features are provided in the Crossroad. One of them is the Intelligent Highway Cruise Control, a vehicle speed and distance control system which is said to help reduce the burden on the driver during freeway driving. There is also a Collision Mitigation Brake System which provides audio and visual warnings and braking to alert the driver and to help avoid a rear-end collision or mitigate damage and injuries in the event that one should occur.
Honda?s Advanced Compatibility Engineering Body enhances passenger protection while mitigating impact on the other vehicle. The vehicle is also designed to mitigate pedestrian injury in the event of a collision. The rear frame features a large cross-section along with two internal impact-absorbing frames. These frames have a polygonal cross-section to enable them to effectively absorb the shock of a rear-end collision.
An interesting feature can be found on the door mirror on the passenger side. There?s a built-in prism under-mirror, which takes advantage of the prism?s light-refracting capabilities to achieve a field of vision twice that of a convex mirror of the same size.
The Crossroad looks like a global type of model and some believe it may be made the second generation of the Element which was conceived for the US market. The Element, at present, has a big engine which limits its appeal in markets like Malaysia but the new Crossroad, with a smaller engine, may have greater marketing possibilities.
However, as Honda has just launched a new CR-V as well, it seems likely that the Crossroad will be a domestic model for a while since the CR-V is well established in most markets.