Should You Take the Honda Crosstour Off-Road?

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In 2009, Honda debuted the Crosstour—a vehicle that looks much like the eighth-generation Honda Accord on which it was based. It was Honda’s answer to the first-generation Toyota Venza, another car that, despite being marketed as an SUV, looked suspiciously like a station wagon. 
While the Crosstour, which was killed off in 2015, was supposedly an SUV, it didn’t have the specs or the features to do much sporting or off-road activity. There is, however, a dedicated fanbase for the Crosstour, and some aftermarket retailers even sell lift kits to make the car a little more passable as an SUV. 
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Can the Honda Crosstour go off-road?

Asking if the Honda Crosstour can go off-road is like asking if a kitten can climb a tree. Sure, a kitten can climb a tree—but it will get stuck and someone will have to rescue it. 
Despite its mid-size SUV classification, the Honda Crosstour is not an off-road vehicle. Its ground clearance is too low—it’s just a half-inch higher than the
Toyota Camry
—and it doesn’t have the right kind of low-gear power required to grind through off-road conditions. 
This isn’t to say that, in a pinch, the Honda Crosstour couldn’t safely drive you to a mild off-road location. It’s just that it’s not a great model for recreational off-road driving. 
Brand new, its starting MSRP was $27,230. Today, you can find a used 2015 Crosstour for anywhere from $14,100 to $19,700. That’s still a considerable amount of money, so let’s take a closer look at the Crosstour’s specs before you decide to buy. 

Ground clearance

Before you even think about heading off-road, you need to know your vehicle’s ground clearance. This is the measurement of the distance between the ground and the lowest point on your car’s chassis. It tells you how much space there is for something (like a rock, stump, or small animal) to pass under your car without hitting the bottom of it. 
Honda Crosstour’s ground clearance
is just 6.2 inches. Sure, that’s more than most sedans, but it’s less than most SUVs—and it’s a lot lower than the recommended ground clearance for off-roading. 
An ideal off-roading ground clearance is between 8.8 and 10.8 inches. This range can allow your SUV to travel over bumpy and uneven terrain without disrupting its stability too much. One thing drivers and reviewers liked about the Crosstour is that it drove and handled more like a car than an SUV. That’s in part because it was low like a car. 


The Honda Crosstour doesn’t produce much torque, and it's not at the low end. It gets 162 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm—which isn’t suitable for any off-road challenges. 
torque and horsepower
can impact how fast your car goes, it’s not speed that matters in off-roading—it’s how much low-end torque your vehicle makes. That means the maximum torque output is measured in lower gears—usually between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm—which is what powers an SUV on its slow crawl through rugged terrain. 


You can put
all-terrain tires
on your Crosstour—it takes P225/65TR17 size tires—but if you don’t plan on doing a lot of off-roading, you might be better off buying
all-season tires
. While they’re not as well-equipped for uneven and shifting terrain, all-season tires can get you through all types of weather and they need to be replaced less often. 


If you’re new to off-roading, one thing you’ll quickly find out is that off-road enthusiasts are divided over which drivetrain is better—four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Both have their qualities, and both are well-suited for off-roading. 
However, if you drive the base-level Crosstour, you won’t have either of those helping you go off-road. It’s a front-wheel-drive vehicle. You can get the Crosstour in AWD if you opt for the higher EX-L trim package with the V6 engine. But even if you get the AWD, it might not be enough to make your Crosstour off-road ready. 
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Finally, you need to know your car’s approach angle and departure angle before veering off the beaten path. For those not familiar with what these angles mean:
  • Approach angle is a measure of the maximum incline steepness that your car can handle without scraping the underside.
  • Departure angle is the measure of the maximum decline that your car can drive down without interference to the underside.
Essentially, this tells us the severity of dips and inclines that your car can handle. The Crosstour does great on uneven asphalt and city streets. But it probably couldn’t climb out of a steep riverbed, because its approach angle is just 15 degrees, and its departure angle is 17 degrees
If you want to compare those numbers to a highly-rated off-road vehicle, look at the
Jeep Wrangler Sport
, which has an approach angle of 41.4 degrees and a departure angle of 35.9 degrees.

Off-road rating: Don’t try it

DIRT off-road rating system, outlined below, we were able to assess the Honda Crosstour for its off-road potential.
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
The Crosstour earned a D: Don’t Try It. The Crosstour has many fine qualities, but it’s just not designed to go off-roading. It’s great for the highway and is more car-like than truck-like, so it’s probably best suited for family transportation rather than off-road recreation.

The best off-road alternatives to the Honda Crosstour

If you’re having second thoughts about the Honda Crosstour, there are a few alternative models we’d recommend you consider:
Used price
Best affordable alternative
2015 Honda CR-V
$14,000 to $20,000
The Honda CR-V is a popular crossover SUV with an 8-inch ground clearance and a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that gets 185 horsepower.
Most capable alternative
2015 Subaru Outback
$13,000 to $20,000
The Subaru Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive across trim levels, plus a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
Most expensive alternative
2015 Volvo XC70
$14,000 to $28,000
The Volo XC70 is a front-wheel-drive wagon with a 2-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 8.3 inches of ground clearance.

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Whether you pick the street-worthy, smooth-driving Honda Crosstour, or opt for something a little more rugged and off-road equipped, you’ll want to find the right car insurance. And the fastest, easiest way to do that is by using
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