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Hey everyone, I am about to pull the trigger on a 2019 Passport EX-L but I have some basic questions about stock offroading ability. Background: our 5-person family currently drives a 2011 Odyssey and a 2008 Civic, both of which we take regularly on National Forest two-tracks (or similar) here in Michigan. I love Hondas and I'm loyal for good reason, they've always been reliable for me, practical and fun. But both cars are getting up there in miles and the plan is to replace the Civic with a Passport (8.1 inches clearance), to FINALLY have some basic offroading (softroading?) ability. Yesterday I also test drove a 4Runner (9.6 inches clearance) but the Passport makes more sense in every single way except for pure offroading ability. I have no desire to use this thing in Moab, but I need it to make it anywhere in Michigan (i.e. Keweenaw Rocket Range anyone, because this looks like fun!)?

Typically even our basic Hondas can hack it on rougher roads, and we do all sorts of nutty stuff in them. This summer though we had to borrow a friend's Expedition (9.8 inches clearance) to make it to a campsite way back in the woods, along a deeply rutted trail that neither of our vehicles would have made it on. 15 degree tilt at one point and deep ruts that would catch a vehicle in the middle (no idea what the technical term is). I'm attaching a picture for reference of the worst spot.

I've watched enough Passport offroading videos on YouTube now to know that a modded Passport could definitely handle these trails, but what I need to know is what it will be able to do stock. While new wheels, a skid plate and a lift all sound nice in theory, I simply am not going to put that money in up front. There are a lot of adventures that we can't go on until we upgrade a vehicle, but I also don't want to find that the Passport can't actually do what I purchased it for.

It's funny, I have been a backpacker/explorer my entire adult life but I've always done it from the trunk of a Civic. I have absolutely no idea what it takes for a vehicle to be truly offroad ready, so I'm not sure if a Passport will suit my needs or if I do need to embrace something like a 4Runner. Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me?
 

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I'm pretty sure stock could handle that but if you do more mud and sand than that the stock tires don't have the tread that upgrades do.
 

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2020 Passport Elite, Obsidian Blue Pearl
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We took our stock PP on gravel & dirt roads this summer when we went out to Glacier NP (and NF/SF roads in OR/ID). The stock 20"s with skinny highway tires did OK, but admittedly we had dry conditions and no muddy stuff (there were some big ruts similar to your picture but if you take the right line you can straddle them). You just need to take your time watch out for the ground clearance as you mentioned because a hole in your oil pan will ruin your trip.

So my answer would be, I believe the stock PP is more than capable and the limiting factor is more YOUR driving skill & experience. That said, you can buy yourself some added capability / safety buffer by adding underbody protection (No-Lo Designs looks pretty good) for ~$300 and then over time consider upgrading your wheels/tires?
 

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2019 Touring: since March-2019
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A/T tires, 18" wheels and a skid plate you can get down the road, when funds become available, but since you did not mention AWD, that would be my #1 recommendation!
 

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8.1 inches spread out over 111 inches of wheelbase is exactly what stock, AWD owners have. To me, as far as off road capabilities go, this seems pretty unimpressive. That geometry is going to cause real problems when the terrain gets very uneven at all.

Here is a very slight drop in the road. I got out and looked, and my forward muffler was about an inch from dragging on the ground.
Was this a great day in the Passport? You bet.
The rig was not only fun to drive, but very comfortable.
If this is the type of "obstacle" you have in mind, I think you will love it.

20201202_140716.jpg


Honestly, off roading was the last thing on my mind when I purchased this car. Will I take it on dirt roads? Sure. To Moab, you bet.. On a two track mountain trail with mud, rocks, ruts and tall grass and hidden obstacles? No way.
Some folks are fine with the occasional scrape and gouge on the bottom of their rigs, and that's fine.
I'm just not willing to bang or scratch mine up.
It sounds like you are the same way, getting out occasionally and choosing a good line.

Good luck with your decision, these really are great vehicles if your off road expectations aren't too high.
 

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It amazes me to see all this over ground clearance and tires but if you had to go in place every day the stuff on here is Childs play. In 1990 I had to go in a job that the road was traveled also by the equipment, I had a 1990 Subaru Loyal 4 wheel drive with 13" wheels and all season tires..... granted I had to beat the floor down after winter in places but never got stuck. I saw 1/2 ton pickups stuck and toyota 4 runners and duel wheel trucks stuck but pick your line and stay out of the ruts and go get the cable and the loader to pull the others out....
 

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I hear you Johara,
There's a guy in a Monte Carlo that has wheeled all over Moab on "difficult" rated trails. Its a riot to watch his videos.

Those willing to "beat the dents out of their floors every springtime" will always make it further up the trail than those who are stock, who do not want to scratch and smash their $40,000 rigs up.
 

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The difference is you do it for fun and we had to do it every day to make a living. We didn't worry about over sized tires and lift kits ... it is the way of life, and as far as snow I sure remember having to stop and clean out the snow because it was over heating and that was with a 2 wheel drive now you need 4wheel drive to get around in 2 inches.. LOL. and you can only go as good as the guy ahead of you.....
 

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If you pay attention, as you should anyway, and drive the vehicle in the proper manner for the terrain you should have no problems. I own a large chunk of land spread out over the county. Asphalt, gravel, dirt and tracks in the vegetation to and through my property. Never had a problem going anywhere with my Passport on dry surfaces, wet surface, mud or snow.

Forgot to add, the only mods I have made is a Futomo oil drain valve, jSport skid plate and oil cooler.

Skid plate for safety just in case I miss something in the grass, Futomo to make it easier to change oil with the skid plate and the ATF cooler because a cool transmission is a happy transmission.

ATF cooler on every vehicle I own all the time every time. I have never had a transmission problem on a vehicle in my driving life. (50+ years) I can't say the ATF cooler is the reason that I have never had an issue, but I can say that it has never hurt to have it.
 

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If you pay attention, as you should anyway, and drive the vehicle in the proper manner for the terrain you should have no problems. I own a large chunk of land spread out over the county. Asphalt, gravel, dirt and tracks in the vegetation to and through my property. Never had a problem going anywhere with my Passport on dry surfaces, wet surface, mud or snow.

Forgot to add, the only mods I have made is a Futomo oil drain valve, jSport skid plate and oil cooler.

Skid plate for safety just in case I miss something in the grass, Futomo to make it easier to change oil with the skid plate and the ATF cooler because a cool transmission is a happy transmission.

ATF cooler on every vehicle I own all the time every time. I have never had a transmission problem on a vehicle in my driving life. (50+ years) I can't say the ATF cooler is the reason that I have never had an issue, but I can say that it has never hurt to have it.
did you need an adapter/extension with the Futomo drain valve or was the stock F-106 adequate?
 

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did you need an adapter/extension with the Futomo drain valve or was the stock F-106 adequate?
Good question. I don't think I would have needed the extension, but I used the 1/2" extension to make sure the valve would rotate. Sorry forgot to mention that. I installed the new generation F106SX.
 

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I think you will find, as I did, that the torque vectoring transmission will easily power your way through many situations. For me, in the Rockies it really came through on 30 degree slopes of rock and packed, slick dirt. My companions, both in more serious off road vehicles (modified Tundra and 4Runner) were impressed at what the Passport could handle. That was done with 1" taller (add 1/2" clearance) all-terrain tires and a front skid plate (which reduces your clearance a little...). The biggest challenge was the rocks that were bigger than 8" and my Passport's underside now has some pretty good battle scars. But it looks like that is not your challenge. I'd say give it a go as stock, avoiding deep mud, and you should be fine. But slide under your Passport to see where the low/sensitive parts are so you can choose the path of least damage over any high obstacles. BTW No-Lo Designs now offers rear diff and gas tank skid plates in addition to the front skid plates. They are very easy to self install and are in my garage awaiting warmer temps. Pull that trigger.
 

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Interesting discussion, but I think Honda missed the mark with marketing the PP as a capable off-road vehicle. Sure, you see these neat videos in the dealership, but you can't even build a PP with better tires, wheels, and skid plates. I just tried to do that. Honda offers zip for PP off road upgrades. Why? If you want this, you need to go aftermarket, not honda. In my minimal 4WD opinion, the PP is a wannabe 4WD. I never intended to take it off road on anything other than a BLM maintained dirt road. Rocks? No. Windy switchbacks? Hell no. Stream fording? You nuts? But as a comfortable long distance vehicle? Yep, it's all there. I'll put 18" wheels and tires on eventually. I hate those 20" monsters. It's not me curbing the wheels. The wheels have an abnormal attraction for curbs and just suck right up to them for a little lousy goosey physical attention. Mommas should have taught them better.
 

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My stock E-XL got me up and down some nasty Colorado 4x4 mountain roads, to include portions of the Alpine Loop. BUT on my last trip out, I blew a front tire because the stock 20" tires don't have enough sidewall, besides being street tires. I'm moving to 18" Ridgeline wheels and Continental Terrain Contact tires. There are still places I need to go in the mountains! If you're going to use the Passport as an off road vehicle, be sure to equip it like one. It's NOT a Forerunner, but it can do some amazing stuff off road.
 
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