The Honda Crossroad: A poor effort
Honda's first attempt at a small SUV was just a bad re-badge
Back in the 1990s, Honda and Rover had a mutual agreement where they shared platforms, engines and even entire cars. It was the case of Honda giving Rover everything and receiving next to nothing. It was at this point where the majority of Rover products were just rebadged Honda Civics.
However in the early 1990s, Rover made an agreement with Honda to sell the first generation Discovery as a Honda product, and called it the Crossroad. At the time of launching the Crossroad in 1993, Honda had severely underestimated the appeal of the then booming SUV market, bought the rights to sell the Discovery and gave it some Honda badges. This joined the Passport, Jazz and Horizon models which were re-badged Isuzu’s.
The Crossroad didn’t last long, with it only lasting five years on sale before Honda indirectly replaced it with the first-generation CRV. This is partly due to Rover selling themselves to BMW, which upset Honda and that the Crossroad had all the same issues as the Discovery. The Crossroad also suffered marketing issues and an issue so big, the Crossroad and Discovery were recalled by Rover Japan to fix the locking mechanism on the drivers side door, which could open at anytime, potentially resulting in the door opening while the car was moving.
There was also only one engine option for the Crossroad being the then aging Rover 3.9-litre V8 which could trace its roots back to the Rover 3.5-litre V8 which was launched way back in 1967. In the Crossroad, it produced an anemic 182bhp, being pushed through a 4-speed automatic to either the rear or all four wheels. Now, we’re no expert on the Japanese car market, but an old-school V8 SUV in mid-90s Japan doesn’t quite make sense. Keep in mind that in 1998 when the Crossroad left the Japanese market, home brands were producing far more modern and efficient models like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV. The Crossroad didn’t have a chance.
We couldn’t find any sales figures for the Crossroad but we can’t imagine it was a hot seller. Going off recall figures, we estimate 10,000-20,000 were sold. The Crossroad name was reintroduced in 2007 as a compact, seven-seat SUV for the Japanese market.