After nearly 15 years, Honda has finally renewed the Passport, and it’s far more than the rebadged Isuzu of the past. The new two-row midsized SUV will slot between the 8 passenger Pilot and subcompact CR-V. Honda claims it’s going to be one of the most off-road capable SUV’s that the automaker has ever built.
If you were thinking that the new Passport looks similar, you aren’t wrong. Honda has said that their new midsize shares around 80% of the components from its larger sibling. There have been some notable changes to both body length (cut by 6 inches) and ground clearance (up by 1.1 inches), which should help to improve it’s breakover/departure angles. Now even though Honda is marketing this new crossover to have off-road prowess, we remain skeptical of whether or not the new ride height or tweaks to body lines will deliver on this premise. Still, Honda has equipped plenty of plastic cladding and more aggressive tires to help round out this new rugged crossover.
From inside the cabin, you could swear that you were sitting in a Pilot as the entire dashboard layout and center console are exactly the same. Honda has however chosen to place a physical volume knob on both the optional 8.0-inch touchscreen and base radio. Luckily the removal of the third row of seats hasn’t resulted in a big difference in cargo capacity. It’s 78 cubic feet of space with the second-row seats folded, outshines both the Grand Cherokee (68) and Ford Edge (73).
In an age of smaller turbocharged engines, it’s also great to see that Honda has decided to use their tried and true 3.5l V6, which produces a healthy 280hp and 262lb-ft of torque. The main change for the powertrain will be a standard 9-speed transmission, which was an optional extra on the Pilot. Towing capability is solid as well with FWD models capable of 3,500lbs, while the AWD versions have been rated up to 5,000lbs.
Every Passport will be getting Honda’s Sensing suite of active safety features. This includes things like adaptive cruise, emergency braking, forward collision warning, and lane keep assist. The optional 8.0-inch touchscreen is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Honda has yet to release official pricing information, but we can make some estimations based upon where the current Pilot and CR-V sit. This should mean a starting MSRP somewhere around $30,000. With it set to go on sale early next year, we should be getting some numbers from Honda in the coming weeks. It will rival models like the Ford Edge, Jeep Cherokee, Chevy Blazer, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Nissan Murano.