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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for a new adventure vehicle and the Subaru Outback keeps popping up as an obvious choice. More recently, the Passport has popped up on my radar.

I live in a city, and do plenty of city driving. I do roadtrips including 2,000km+ at least once a year. I also drive up mountains in anything from slush to ice to snow. Where I've really hit the limit with my current car (Audi Q5) is exploring more offroad - namely forest service roads. It's anything from decently maintained gravel roads to rocky uneven ground to (what has been hardest) dips in the road due to removed culverts or washouts.

Compared to the outback, the passport has less ground clearance but better approach+departure angles. It's frustrating the Passport only has 20" wheels, and no offering for skid plates or all-terrain tires... despite marketing it as fairly adventure-ready.

On the other end, things like the Toyota 4runner stand out and are absolutely going to take me some of the places I want to go, but underperform ON THE ROAD, which makes up 90%+ of my driving.
 

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If you desire serious off-roading then the PP is not your best choice. Perhaps a Jeep or 4Runner?
For your remaining 90% use many of us here believe the PP is the best choice.
YMMV.
 

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Not my Passport, but someone does a little off road driving.
5014
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If you desire serious off-roading then the PP is not your best choice. Perhaps a Jeep or 4Runner?
For your remaining 90% use many of us here believe the PP is the best choice.
YMMV.
I guess that's sort of it though - I don't think I really require offroading. Somewhere between softroading and offroading? YEs, the 4runner could take me anywhere but it sucks to drive 90% of the time vs "car/crossovers".

The jeep (grand cherokee trailhawk) is on my list too, but I am not familiar with the brand but it seems they have reliability issues. The current grand cherokee has fairly small cargo space for its size, and is also supposed to be revamped next year...
 

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The passport will easily go on many mild to moderate off road trails with a set of 18" tires. Skid plates are available from aftermarket vendors if you want to push even harder with the passport. Its AWD is excellent and emulated locking diff performance pretty well, so I wouldn't worry there. I'd put it against any Subaru out there. The extra inch of clearance is not that different when you consider real measurements of components. For example a stock 4 runner is not actually the ground clearance they say on the entirety of the undercarriage.

I was able to drive my last SUV with only 7.3 inches clearance and worse angles, no skid plate on all the dirt tracks I wanted, some were even quite rough and steep. The only places I could not go were serious off road tracks that even stock 4 Runners could not do, so a TRD or Jeep would be needed anyway, and I am NOT about to drive one of those around for the few times I want to get serious per year. For those rare times, I just rent an ATV or Jeep. Ask yourself how often you will do hardcore off-roading. Otherwise the Passport can do lots of moderate stuff and is much better on the road. Some of the Cherokees are indeed plush and capable at once, but I have heard the reliability is still not there after all these years trying to improve, and friends with Jeeps seem to verify this assumption.

I'd rant for a bit about the imbecile stock 20" tires on the Passport but what is the point. The whole industry is caught up in these uncomfortable, ugly as can be bicycle wheels and people keep buying them to the point that now we don't even get a choice. Most brands only offer upper trims with these dumb wagon wheels and I always change them out particularly before attempting even moderate off-roading. Ride improves as well.
 

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I am looking for a new adventure vehicle and the Subaru Outback keeps popping up as an obvious choice. More recently, the Passport has popped up on my radar.

I live in a city, and do plenty of city driving. I do road trips including 2,000km+ at least once a year. I also drive up mountains in anything from slush to ice to snow. Where I've really hit the limit with my current car (Audi Q5) is exploring more off road - namely forest service roads. It's anything from decently maintained gravel roads to rocky uneven ground to (what has been hardest) dips in the road due to removed culverts or washouts.

Compared to the outback, the passport has less ground clearance but better approach+departure angles. It's frustrating the Passport only has 20" wheels, and no offering for skid plates or all-terrain tires... despite marketing it as fairly adventure-ready.

On the other end, things like the Toyota 4runner stand out and are absolutely going to take me some of the places I want to go, but under perform ON THE ROAD, which makes up 90%+ of my driving.
I think I was of a similar mind-set, I wanted an off road capable machine, but in truth I would be driving civilized paved roads over 95% of the time. I looked at Outbacks but they were under powered (although about 6 months ago, I bought our daughter 2019 Forester). I also was sort of considering a Tacoma, but not being a real "truck guy" I didn't want a rougher ride that 95% of the time. Anyway, I bought my Passport the about 5 weeks after it was first released and have been extremely happy with it, I did have it on some flat dirt roads in October and it was awesome! The PP is super smooth and quiet to drive (better than a Subaru)!

If I recall correctly, the Passport is at 8.1 inches of clearance, while Subaru's are at 8.7, not a deal breaker.

For what you want to do, and seeing you are in Canada, I'd recommend the following:
1) Get the Touring model (for the AWD)
2) Get the Lift Kit (approx. 2") aftermarket
3) Get the Skid Plate - aftermarket
4) Get some 18" Wheels with some Nittro Grappler2 tires - aftermarket

And you'll super happy...!

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I second Merkman's recommendation that you check out JonDZ on Youtube. He also has started a website: crossoverlanding.com.
Indeed I've come across his stuff... it seems he's the only one that pops up when I look up offroading stuff with passport. Though he is definitely taking things more extreme than I... but I guess that shows the potential capability...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The passport will easily go on many mild to moderate off road trails with a set of 18" tires. Skid plates are available from aftermarket vendors if you want to push even harder with the passport. Its AWD is excellent and emulated locking diff performance pretty well, so I wouldn't worry there. I'd put it against any Subaru out there. The extra inch of clearance is not that different when you consider real measurements of components. For example a stock 4 runner is not actually the ground clearance they say on the entirety of the undercarriage.

I was able to drive my last SUV with only 7.3 inches clearance and worse angles, no skid plate on all the dirt tracks I wanted, some were even quite rough and steep. The only places I could not go were serious off road tracks that even stock 4 Runners could not do, so a TRD or Jeep would be needed anyway, and I am NOT about to drive one of those around for the few times I want to get serious per year. For those rare times, I just rent an ATV or Jeep. Ask yourself how often you will do hardcore off-roading. Otherwise the Passport can do lots of moderate stuff and is much better on the road. Some of the Cherokees are indeed plush and capable at once, but I have heard the reliability is still not there after all these years trying to improve, and friends with Jeeps seem to verify this assumption.

I'd rant for a bit about the imbecile stock 20" tires on the Passport but what is the point. The whole industry is caught up in these uncomfortable, ugly as can be bicycle wheels and people keep buying them to the point that now we don't even get a choice. Most brands only offer upper trims with these dumb wagon wheels and I always change them out particularly before attempting even moderate off-roading. Ride improves as well.
Here's some examples of roads I went on where I chose to NOT take my Audi Q5 (7.9" clearance, I think better approach AND departure angle than the passport)... MAYBE my Q5 would make it, but the Nissan XTerra had the back hitch hit (ripped off the wiring block) and the sped-up video is from inside a Tacoma TRD.


The main issue, so far, that has limited me has been those ditches/water bars - limited width to approach at an angle and a potentially steep up and down. I recently went with my friend's tacoma on one 20km forest road and we must have gone over.... 30+ water bars? His tacoma was good though
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think I was of a similar mind-set, I wanted an off road capable machine, but in truth I would be driving civilized paved roads over 95% of the time. I looked at Outbacks but they were under powered (although about 6 months ago, I bought our daughter 2019 Forester). I also was sort of considering a Tacoma, but not being a real "truck guy" I didn't want a rougher ride that 95% of the time. Anyway, I bought my Passport the about 5 weeks after it was first released and have been extremely happy with it, I did have it on some flat dirt roads in October and it was awesome! The PP is super smooth and quiet to drive (better than a Subaru)!

If I recall correctly, the Passport is at 8.1 inches of clearance, while Subaru's are at 8.7, not a deal breaker.

For what you want to do, and seeing you are in Canada, I'd recommend the following:
1) Get the Touring model (for the AWD)
2) Get the Lift Kit (approx. 2") aftermarket
3) Get the Skid Plate - aftermarket
4) Get some 18" Wheels with some Nittro Grappler2 tires - aftermarket

And you'll super happy...!

Cheers
The new 2020 subaru has the 2.4L turbocharged engine, which offers very similar HP and better torque (at lower RPM) than the passport - so it's not really underpowered though?

But yeah I find myself leaning more towards the Honda. Possibly because I owned a Honda before so there is some comfort there. The subaru doesn't come with all-terrain tires either, though skid plates are factory/dealer-offered.

It looks like a lift kit isn't even that expensive (though I'd have to pay someone to do it, absolutely NOT myself) - but on a brand new car, wouldn't this cause a significant risk to warranty issues?

Yep, I think I'd get skid plate on any car option I choose.

I'll look into the tire options, but I am imagining the tires+wheels are probably a $2k-ish investment? Would I even be able to sell "brand new" 20" wheels+tires for much money, or are they too specialty?
 

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I took my Passy on Mild off road trails, and didnt run into any problems. Its in completely stock form, and although the 20" wheels are over kill, i didnt have issues with them or the stock tires/size. I did better than most every other "stock" SUV/CUV in the group because the transmission and rest of the drivetrain are really really good. CVTs for offroad use are not ever a good idea. Also, I opted for the transcooler, which i think is always a good option. And, like others mentioned, skid plates can be had aftermarket, and a good set of 18" Honda Ridgeline wheels can be had for cheap and bolt right up.
Also, Any factory wheel, usually isnt worth much as the market is flooded with them. You may get $500-$800 for you stock wheels and tires.
 

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I am not an off roader. But, I definitely like the look of it. I am in the process to get the 2" lift, tires, and wheels...
 

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Since Honda is advertising the Passport as more of the off-road type not sure why they did the low profile tires and no full-size spare. I wouldn't take it serious off-roading but living in Colorado there are some mountain passes that are considered off-road/4x4 roads that I would go if I had better tires and a full-size spare. I used to take my old Jeep Grand Cherokee that didn't have any added 4-wheeling accessories and it would go all these places no problem.
 

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Because it looks cool, different and slightly adds boss factor
Bingo, we have a winner...

Besides, if you watch this guy videos on his conversion of the Passport into the light off roader.. he, says the drive and comfort is the same.

I am just going for the look...👍👍😉
 

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Since Honda is advertising the Passport as more of the off-road type not sure why they did the low profile tires and no full-size spare. I wouldn't take it serious off-roading but living in Colorado there are some mountain passes that are considered off-road/4x4 roads that I would go if I had better tires and a full-size spare. I used to take my old Jeep Grand Cherokee that didn't have any added 4-wheeling accessories and it would go all these places no problem.
More than likely for better On Road characteristics. I personally took my Passy offload and did better than most other vehicles. So long as the obstacle wasnt too crazy.
 

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Also, I opted for the transcooler, which i think is always a good option.
This brings up a question I was going to ask. Would a trans cooler extend the life of a trans when not doing any towing? Do you think the additional cost is worthwhile insurance?
 
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