Honda introduces Passport for 2019 as the bridge in the size gap between the compact CR-V and the 3-row Pilot. The name isn’t new for those who remember from 16 years back, as Honda once used the Passport name for their rebadged Isuzu Rodeo.
The crossover mechanics of the Passport isn’t really new either. Basically, the Honda engineers took about 6 inches from the rear of the Pilot, and then removed the 3rd row as well.
The 4 Trim Levels
This is available in 4 trim levels, namely the Sport, EX-L, Touring, and the top-of-the-line Elite. You may as well get the Elite if you have the budget and you want the best.
With the base Sport trim, the price starts at $33,035. This comes with a diminutive infotainment screen, remote start, and LED lighting for all the four corners.
Go up to the EX-L trim, and the price goes to $37,455. But now the touchscreen measures 8 inches and it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get a power liftgate and leather upholstery.
With the Touring Trim, the cost goes up to $40,325. But then you have parking sensors at the front and rear, roof rails, and even heated outboard rear seats.
Now pick the Elite and it’ll cost you at least $44,725. Still, the front seats are ventilated, the steering wheel is heated, and you have inductive phone charging. Put in some towing equipment if you’ll need it, and the cost will get to about $45,700. That gives you a transmission cooler, wiring harness, and a trailer hitch.
All these trims do have the Honda Sensing system as standard. You also get a long list of electronic systems to boost the safety factor. These include lane-keeping assist, forward-collision alert, and adaptive cruise control.
How Does It Look?
If you’re familiar with the Pilot, then you’d recognize its family resemblance to the Passport. Yes, there are other differences other than the length. Some facets of the exterior styling have been somewhat modified. The suspension has been raised and you have the new standard 20-inch wheels and black exterior trim.
You do see some aesthetic traits from the Honda Ridgeline pickup merging with the Pilot look. The rear is more distinctive, and the front fascia seems a tad more aggressive.
Under the Hood
The engine is a SOHC 24-valve V-6 with aluminum block and heads and direct fuel injection. The automatic transmission gives you 9 speeds with manual shifting mode. You get 280 horses at 6,000 rpm along with 262 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm.
The EPA fuel economy ratings set its gas consumption at 24 mpg for highway, and 19 for city driving. That’s 21 mpg as the combined fuel consumption for the Elite AWD, but then the base trim isn’t much better at 22 mpg. You better drive more sensibly, because if you push the vehicle hard on winding roads then the fuel economy can really drop to 17 mpg.
You can get from standstill to 60mph in just 5.8 seconds with the Elite, with 16.1 seconds needed to get to 100mph. The standing quarter-mile takes 14.6 seconds reaching 96mph.
On the road, it’s pretty much like driving a Pilot. The steering is very exacting and extremely light, though at times it can be a bit sluggish. You can feel that high center of gravity during quick turns. You can still really push it hard on corners, but there sometimes the stability control system can be somewhat interfering.
The AWD trim can tow up to 5,000 pounds after installing the optional equipment. The front wheel trims can only pull 3,500 pounds.
Off the road with the Elite, you’ll enjoy the usefulness of the taller springs that gives you 8.1 inches of clearance. The front wheel trims only offer 7.5 inches. Do note that there are no skid plates here that protect the underbody.
The improved angles for clearing objects and obstacles give you a lot of capacity to climb over off-road rocks. The Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) is really helpful with its Normal, Sand, Snow, and Mud drive-mode settings. These settings correctly send the torque to the wheels that require it.
The 20-inch wheels that you’ll find in all the Passport trims can be outfitted with the 265/45R-20 Continental CrossContact LX Sport tires. These can deal admirably well with broken rocks, ice, muddy terrain, and sandy paths.
The glaring omission here is the absence of hill-descent control, which would have been nice for off-road driving. But you can rely on the firm brake pedal, and the braking performance isn’t bad at 181 feet when stopping from 70mph.
So Honda uses the Passport to satisfy customers who want a middle option between the large Pilot and the small CR-V. By all accounts, the Passport will be satisfactory for buyers and the Honda reputation will again be buffed by another excellent vehicle.
Follow Us on Facebook
Straight To Your Inbox
Get the latest Automotive news and performance tests straight to your inbox!