Did you know that in certain markets you could buy a Land Rover Discovery from Honda? It’s true. Behold: The Honda Crossroad.
I had never heard of this until just recently, and it seemed totally weird. But after thinking about it and some research, it made some sense. Honda was looking to capitalize on the growing SUV craze. Honda and Rover had partnered on several other ventures (anyone remember Sterling?) during the 1980s. So to get into the SUV game quickly, Honda rebadged Land Rovers. Hey, why build it when you can buy it?
From 1993 to 1998, you could get what was essentially a Land Rover Discovery Series 1—complete with 3.9-liter V8—though Honda dealers in Japan and allegedly New Zealand. It appears that, at least in certain photos, the name is spelled with two dollar signs in place of the letters “S” (Cro$$road). However, in some script, it simply looks like Honda was trying to make them look like signs, or trees, or snakes on a shish kebab. I don’t know.
The Crossroad appeared to also to be on a bumpy road, figuratively speaking. According to Wikipedia (so we know it must be accurate) problems had emerged regarding the marketing of the Crossroad in Japan (was it the double dollar signs?). Honda threatened to end ties with Rover after it heard the company was sold to BMW in 1994. Also, in 1997, a recall was issued by Honda on the advice of Ministry of Transportation due to a malfunction locking mechanism on the SUV’s driver-side front door that could make the vehicle open while driving. (I thought that was a standard feature.)
Surely, the SUV craze would continue (and continues to continue) even if the Crossroad did not. But by the late ’90s, Honda had developed its own SUV. Ever heard of something called a CR-V? Yes, the CR-V was the replacement for the Crossroad, proving that even back in ’98, Honda was thinking about moving from true SUVs to crossovers.
We love the oddball SUV or interesting variants of popular models, and the Honda Crossroad definitely fit the bill.