In the early 1990s every manufacturer needed a tough SUV. It was even better if that SUV had off-road ability, seats for seven, looked tough, and had a big engine that can tow a trailer. Since there wasn’t one in its lineup, Honda went out and found one for its non-U.S. dealers to sell. To this day, the Crossroad is the only Honda V8, and it may be the most unreliable Honda ever.
Honda simply rebadged a Land Rover Discovery
Sure, it was rebadging Isuzus as Passports, but those were more grocery-getter SUV than true off-road luxury utility vehicles.
So Honda turned to a company that it had worked with before (though we won’t get into the Sterling cars here), and decided to slap a Honda badge on the Land Rover Discovery.
The most unreliable V8 Honda ever?
Land Rover Discoveries of that era were not reliable. They were classy, drive well, and had a tough four-wheel-drive system. But the 3.9-liter V8 was based on a 1960s aluminum Buick motor. The build quality at the time was spotty, so spotty that the Crossroad was recalled for doors that would fly open at speed, and the weird fuel injection system didn’t talk to the distributor well.
But in the 1990s, Honda and Land Rover each owned 20% of each other, so a partnership made sense. Honda made motors for Rover cars, so why not borrow an SUV from Rover and create a V8 Honda?
While Honda was, and is, known for reliability, Land Rover wasn’t. Honda still ranks in the Top-10 at Consumer Reports for making reliable vehicles.
To be fair, these Discoveries are now 30-year-old vehicles, and you’ll likely talk to a Disco owner who swears by its reliability today. That’s likely because all of the gremlins that plagued the 1990s Discos have been figured out and fixed by current owners.
The newer Crossroad was also never imported to the US
Though Honda probably wanted to forget about the Crossroad, it didn’t give up on the name. In 2007, it released on in Japan and kept one design element from that old SUV: the all-plastic clamshell spare-tire cover. CR-Vs carried on the weird spare tire covers for several years.
Honda did sell the Passport in the US. But even that Honda was an Isuzu. The Passport was a four-door Isuzu Rodeo. The first generation (sold from 1993 to 1997) and second generation Passports (sold from 1997 to 2002) were known as tough truck-based SUVs that came with a 3.2-liter V6, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive, and five seats. The Passport name did come back for 2019 and is no longer an Isuzu.
Can you still buy one? You can, it’s just a Land Rover Discovery.
Yes, you can buy a Discovery. Imported Crossroads do pop up on auction sites like Bringatrailer.com or CarsandBids.com occasionally. Some Japanese importers occasionally sell them (though you’re more likely to find a newer-generation, right-hand-drive, one). But why not just buy a cheap Disco and some Honda Badges?