Published on February 18, 2008
With a Bt 2.49 million price tag the Crossroad is for those who really want a Honda, but still want to look different.
Published on January 30, 2008
In the animal world, cross-breeding between species, although rare, produces a queer collection of beasts. The liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger, and it looks like a lion with diffused stripes. Pair up a donkey and a horse and you get a mule, and the yattle is a cross between a cow and a yak.
In some cases, cross-breeding sets out to capture the most desirable characteristics of both parents and to avoid the undesirable ones, so it isn't uncommon to see a cross-breed in the automotive world.
Take the Honda Crossroad, imported by the SEC Group and featured in this report. You stand back for a while, wondering who its parents are. It seems too "square-ish" for a Honda. Most likely, you may conclude that it's a cross between a Honda and a Hummer. If, indeed, there were a model below the H3 in the Hummer range, the Crossroad would definitely qualify.
Which most-desirable characteristics of these two breeds have come together in the Crossroad? First off, it's a Honda, so that means it will probably save you some fuel costs and will be quite reliable. But you can see the Hummer in the design aspects of the Crossroad: the square, wide front grille, the boxy rear end and the semi-pronounced wheel arches.
The wide front grille, square-shaped windows and high rear lights give the Crossroad a very macho appeal. The dual exhaust pipes - although hard to notice - try to give the impression that you could smoke the guy in the Subaru from the lights. But this is best left untested.
My first thought was that the Crossroad's designers had not set out to attract enough attention. I imagined that people might mistake it for a pumped-up CR-V and wouldn't give it a second glance. I was wrong. People on the street, in parking lots, even on the chilled-out beaches of Bang Saen, stopped to stare. Beyond my expectation, the Crossroad was quite a head-turner.
On the inside, everything is unmistakably Honda. The interior quality is high, with use of good-looking and pleasant-feeling plastic. There's good upholstery on the seats. The gear lever looks stumpy and stylish. There is plenty of storage space for knick-knacks. There are two cup holders in the middle, and there's even a sunroof.
What's especially good about the Crossroad is that SEC has fitted it with a touch-screen audio and video system. It plays DVDs and even tunes into Thai television stations. This is a major improvement over other vehicles imported by SEC that come with a full Japanese menu. Even the sound quality in the Crossroad's audio system was reasonably impressive.
The driving position, like most Hondas, is impeccable, although the head rests stick out and become very frustrating on a long drive. The steering column is able to telescope up or down, as well, and there's additional space in the centre because the parking brake is foot-operated. For drivers keen to mimic the savoir faire of an accomplished Hummer driver, the Crossroad even has an armrest in the centre - for the driver.
It's worth mentioning that the Crossroad is a seven-seater, although leg-room is seriously lacking and the rear space is good for children only. The lack of a bigger window in the back also tends to make things feel a little cramped. However, the third row does offer cup holders and cubby holes. The second- and third-row seats can fold down flat for extra luggage space.
This raises the question of whether the Crossroad is a people-mover or a sport-utility vehicle. The fact is the Crossroad is very clearly a "crossover-utility vehicle". Its driving characteristics reinforce this label. There is less body roll in corners and the cracks and bumps on the road are dealt with softly. Second-row passengers don't ever complain about a harsh ride. It achieves an impressive balance between a firmness and comfort.
With a 2-litre engine that produces 150 brake horsepower, the Crossroad is punchy, and coupled with its continuously variable transmission system, power delivery is smooth. The only thing that might annoy is the continuous drone of the engine, because the tachometer is always above 5,000rpm while accelerating.
It's easy to manoeuvre in the city although a parking sensor would have been appreciated. Oh, and if you get a flat, the Crossroad comes with a tyre-repair kit, instead of a spare tyre.
While testing most SEC vehicles, one expects to cringe when hearing the price tag, because they come fully built-up from Japan and import taxes jack their prices out of the reach of the common man. The Crossroad is no exception. It costs Bt2.49 million.
It is perhaps inappropriate to question whether it is good value for that much money. With a vehicle like the Crossroad, you're supposed to take into account the added value of people turning for a peek. For some owners, that is all that matters.
Engine: 2-litre i-Vtec
Maximum power: 150hp at 6,2000rpm
Maximum torque: 190Nm at 4,200rpm
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Suspension (front/rear): Independent MacPherson strut/double wishbone
Brakes (front/rear): Ventilated discs/discs
Wheels (front/rear): 16-in alloy
Price: Bt2.49 million
Importer: SEC Auto Sales
Tel: (02) 643 0003
The Luxury LS 460 is a wonderfully comfaortable car fitted with all mod cons, althoough not necessarily the most fun vehicle to drive.