Experienced by Adrian McQueen
Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles
Honda has a great reputation of building reliable vehicles and the all new Honda Passport is ready to carry the torch. The new model Passport is larger than the CR-V, but smaller than three-row Honda Pilot. The all new Honda Passport is classified as a mid-size SUV and good for being used a daily driver, caravan for the family or good for an off-road adventure. I knew that I was in store for a fun week with one of the best mid-size SUV’s in the market.
The Honda Passport is a sport utility vehicle that was originally a badged engineered version of the Isuzu Rodeo, a mid-size SUV sold between 1993 and 2002. It was introduced in 1993 for the 1994 model year as Honda’s first entry into the growing SUV market of the 1990s in the United States. The first and second generation Passport was manufactured by Subaru Isuzu Automotive in Lafayette, Indiana. The Passport was a part of a partnership between Isuzu and Honda. This partnership ended in 2002 with the discontinuation of the Passport for the Honda Pilot. The 2019 Honda Passport model tested is the third-generation Passport that was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 27, 2018. It is built at their factory in Lincoln, Alabama.
The exterior of the redesigned Passport easily captures your attention with the reworked front end, bolder fender trim, 20-inch alloy wheels, Full-LED exterior lighting, tailgate spoiler and the dual exhaust. The sharp and stylish full LED headlight shape will be recognized as a Honda with this signature look. The more premium design has new focus on the model-specific front fascia with additional blacked-out trim pieces and a partial matte finish. The Passport’s rear end incorporates a more aggressive window line, a reworked tailgate design, and a new rear fascia. It does lack the rough and rugged look that other off-road vehicles maintain.
The interior of Passport is just as sharp as the exterior. It has a luxurious cabin with two rows of spacious seats enough for five people and a nice size cargo hold. With the rear seat in use, there is 41 cubic feet of storage. With the seats folded down, there is 78 cubic feet of room. Some competitors have more total space, but most of those are the three-row SUVs. The Passport has above-average cargo room in the two-row rivals. The Passport seats are very comfortable as the front-seat riders sit on well-cushioned bucket seats with individual folding center armrests. The model tested included a 10-way, power-operated driver’s seat with memory and a four-way power passenger’s seat, as well as front-seat heaters and leather seating surfaces. Our Elite model has ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
The infotainment system on the Passport Elite is just that, elite. It comes complete with a navigation system, an 8-inch touch screen, a wireless charging pad, two extra USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, a premium 10-speaker sound system and a moonroof. The Passport also comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a subscription service that turns the Passport into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Elite also comes fully kitted with rain-sensing windshield wipers and a wireless phone charger.
Honda is not solely focused on wowing the consumer with cool designs and the latest gadgets, but they treat safety as high priority which consumers like myself appreciate. Every Passport comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features that includes forward-collision warning, automatic front braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane centering, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation and rearview camera and automatic high beams. The Passport earns an overall rating of five stars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the crossover Good ratings in all categories except for passenger-side front overlap and headlights.
I really enjoyed how the Passport handled. The 280-hp 3.5-liter Vtec V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission delivers quick acceleration. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters afford additional driver control. Sport mode sharpens the transmission’s responses and launches you up to speed when you feel like opening it up. The ride is comfortable and confident through corners. The Passport is marketed as an adventure-ready vehicle, but without low-range four-wheel drive, skid plates, hill descent control, and locking differentials there is but only so much off roading you can do without needing a tow. The Passport has 8.1 inches of ground clearance plus available all-wheel drive with an Intelligent Variable Torque Management system that offers several drive modes for various terrain, which makes it capable of light trail exploration. When properly equipped, the Honda Passport can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
As a parent of a toddler, install car seats is important to me. For installing child safety seats, there are two complete sets of LATCH connections on the rear outboard seats, as well as a third tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for its ease of use. Installation and removal was a fairly easy process.
The 2019 Honda Passport sits in a competitive class amongst the Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Murano and the Toyota 4Runner. Our Passport rang up at $44,725. This pricing point falls in line with the competition. Honda covers the 2019 Passport with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. As for fuel economy, the Passport is rated at 19 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 21 combined. Those estimates are on par with most midsize SUVs but keep in mind that those SUV’s have standard four-cylinder engines while the Passport has a V6. The Passport is a family vehicle. Enjoy the photo gallery.