Trucks & SUVs

The Least Reliable Honda Ever Is a Rebadged Land Rover Discovery

When an automaker wants to add another vehicle to its lineup without huge investment, badge-engineering, aka rebadging, is often the solution. That’s when two or more automakers partner to produce one shared platform that each company individually. Recent examples include the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, and Toyota Supra and BMW Z4. The first Mitsubishi Eclipse was also a bade-engineered product, as was Mitsubishi’s CJ3 Jeep. But there’s one badge-engineered SUV you may not have heard of. It’s the Honda Crossroad, and underneath the Honda badge, it was a Land Rover Discovery.

How the Land Rover Discovery became the Honda Crossroad

Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser | Fj40365 via YouTube

Today, Honda has an extensive selection of SUVs and crossovers. But, as Automobile Magazine reports, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, Honda was one of the last Japanese automakers to offer an SUV. Toyota had the Land Cruiser, Nissan the Patrol, and Suzuki the Jimny/Samurai, but Honda had nothing.

1994 Honda Crossroad
1994 Honda Crossroad | Riley via Wikicommons

That’s how the Acura SLX and 1993 Honda Passport came about. Honda partnered with Isuzu to produce Honda-branded versions of the Trooper and Rodeo, respectively. And for the Japanese market, there was the Honda Crossroad.

1992 Land Rover Discovery 200Tdi
1992 Land Rover Discovery 200Tdi | Bring a Trailer

In the early 90s, Gear Patrol explains, Honda had a 20% stake in Rover Group, the British automaker that owned Land Rover. Several Rover products were, in fact, rebadged Hondas. So, in 1993, Honda decided to do the opposite, and bring a Rover product into Japan. Specifically, the Land Rover Discovery, which is still widely-considered an off-roading icon.

Honda Crossroad ad
Honda Crossroad ad | Honda via Gear Patrol

The Honda Crossroad wasn’t just based on the Land Rover Discovery, Autotrader explains. It was literally the same SUV, just with Honda-specific badging. Same four-wheel-drive system, same chassis, even the same 3.9-liter V8. To date, it is still the only Honda vehicle that ever came with a V8.

Honda Crossroad brochure
Honda Crossroad brochure | Honda via Gear Patrol

Unfortunately, just putting a Honda badge on a Land Rover Discovery didn’t make the SUV any more reliable, Automobile reports. For instance, the Crossroad had to be recalled soon after introduction because the driver door would open at speed, even if it was locked. Also, despite having twice as many cylinders and over twice the displacement, the Crossroad’s V8 was less powerful than the Integra Type R’s engine.

The second Honda Crossroad

Because of the quality issues, as well as the complications that arose from BMW’s purchase of Rover Group, the Honda Crossroad was only sold from 1993-1998. However, Honda briefly bought the name back in 2007.

2009 Honda Element
2009 Honda Element | Honda

The 2007 Honda Crossroad was, again, a JDM-only SUV. In the US, we had the similarly-boxy Element, so Honda saw no need to bring the Crossroad over, AutoWeek reports. It too didn’t last long; production was only from 2007-2010. But it did offer some interesting features.

In addition to AWD, the 2007 Honda Crossroad was a 3-row 7-seat SUV. It was also the first Honda to come with hill-start assist, Autoweek reports.

Pricing and availability

The 2007-2010 Honda Crossroad is still too new to legally import. Plus, as stated above, the Honda Element is essentially the same SUV—and it was officially sold in the US.

Some of the earlier Crossroads, though, are old enough to import. And considering how expensive Land Rover Discoveries can be, Honda Crossroads are likely significant bargains. However, a relatively small production volume means finding one will take some digging.

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