The Honda Crosstour and Toyota Venza are both relatively new vehicles. The Venza began production and was introduced in 2008. The Crosstour, a crossover SUV version of the best-selling

Accord, is roughly the same age. Being so new, they are both intriguing possibilities for potential new car buyers. In order to help you make the decision should you choose to test one of the younglings out, we’ve checked all the research at Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, and Motor Trend, to see which 2010-2011 newbie provides you with the best overall value.

Powertrain: Both models come with available All-Wheel Drive but the Venza is the only one that gives engine options, offering a 2.7L four-cylinder or 3.5L V6. The Crosstour is only available with a 3.5L V6 which is only slightly more powerful than the Toyota six-cylinder. Obviously fuel economy goes to the Toyota with the four-cylinder but, surprisingly, the V6s match up evenly at the gas pump. The Toyota also bested Honda in acceleration testing, cruising to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds to Honda’s 7.5 ticks.

Winner: Toyota Venza

Braking/Safety/Handling: Despite Honda’s braking issues on many of their vehicles, the Crosstour managed to come to a stop from 60 mph in just 131 feet. Still, that wasn’t quite good enough to best the Toyota which managed the same stop in 122 feet. Both vehicles aced every crash test with five stars and come standard with antilock brakes, stability control, and active front head restraints. The Venza’s electric power steering does provide a better feel in handling than the Honda, as the Crosstour handles like an Accord with an added 300 pounds strapped to its back and a higher center of gravity.

Winner: Toyota Venza

Cargo/Hauling: The Venza keeps its streak of category wins alive here as it can hold a healthy 34.4 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up and 70 cubes with them folded down. Honda’s cargo space is a rather unimpressive 25.7 cubic feet with rear seats in place, expanding to just 51.3 cubes with them down. Toyota also bests this category in towing capacity, capable of hauling up to 2,500 lbs. properly equipped. The Crosstour’s max load is 1,500 lbs.

Winner: Toyota Venza

Comfort/Interior: Anyone who is familiar with the Accord will know exactly what to expect from the Crosstour. The materials quality is high, but not outstanding. The center-stack is overly button-heavy and this only increases with the addition of the navigation system. Lumbar support in the seats in unusually aggressive but there is plenty of room, front and rear. The Venza actually displays one of the best looking cabins Toyota has made in a long time. There is loads of passenger space and the reclining rear seats are a nice feature for passengers. The center-stack features new controls but remains user-friendly.

Winner: Toyota Venza

Amenities/Options: Toyota is definitely going for the sweep here as it offers several features which are absent from the Crosstour. Xenon headlamps, heated front mirrors, a 13-speaker surround sound stereo, and rear-seat entertainment system are all available choices you’ll see on the Venza, but not the Crosstour. The Honda does come with a backup camera, navigation system, dual-zone climate control, and auto-dimming rearview mirror, but these are all things you’ll find in the Toyota as well.

Winner: Toyota Venza

Value for the $: The Crosstour starts off at $29,670. Its five style choices can take it all the way to $36,220 fully equipped. The Venza’s top end doesn’t even reach the Honda’s bottom end. The MSRP for the Toyota starts at $26,275 and climbs to a max of $29,550 fully equipped.

Winner: Does it even need to be said? Honda has some serious rethinking to do on both price and performance if it’s going to beat the Venza any time soon.

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