2019 Honda Passport makes a bid for the great outdoors
As the newest flagship utility from Honda, the Passport is big and bold, a five-seater that fits between the smaller CR-V and the larger Pilot. With dimensions almost as large as the Pilot, though, the Passport is one of the largest Hondas being sold.
The 2019 Honda Passport is a sport utility aimed towards a more adventurous, outdoorsy crowd who might not be enamored with the small CR-V or the family-centric Pilot. The Passport's goal seems to be in building a reputation as a wilderness adventurer rather than as a family hauler. Honda is emphasizing the SUV-ness of this rig during its debut in Los Angeles.
This is a crossover-SUV, however, not a truck-based unit, having underpinnings similar in design to the Pilot and the Ridgeline. Its unibody design means more interior space, of course, and better road handling. So Honda's emphasis on "SUV" instead of the term "crossover" for the Passport is largely about marketing the Passport's off-road credibility.
The powerplant in the Passport is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower (209 kW). This engine mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission. AWD is available, but not standard, though the 20-inch alloy wheels are.
For off-pavement adventuring, the Passport can be equipped with Honda's i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system, which uses Intelligent Traction Management. This features the ability to send up to 70 percent of torque to the rear axle and the ability to send all available torque to the left or right wheel(s) when needed.
This allows the vehicle to "tackle the kind of tough terrain normally reserved for less refined body-on-frame or off-road focused SUVs," Honda says. The AWD system has driver-selectable drive modes for sand, snow, and mud.
The Passport's overall design seems commensurate with that goal, with a Pilot-like exterior that is slightly boxier. This appearance gives the Passport a truck-like feel, akin to most SUVs, especially in the ground clearance emphasis and the large wheel wells for extra wheel travel. The front-wheel drive models have a half an inch more body clearance than the Pilot, and AWD models have 1.1 inches more (1.3 and 2.8 cm).
The interior is large, with nearly 116 cubic feet (3,285 liters) of passenger volume. An underfloor cargo bin holds 2.5 cubic feet (71 liters) of stuff. Total cargo space with all seats up is 41.2 cubic feet (1,167 liters) in all. Towing, when equipped, is rated at 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg) in FWD models and 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) in AWD models.
The 2019 Passport will be sold in four trim points, starting with the Sport and going through the EX-L, Touring, and Elite. LED headlamps, Honda Sensing suite, LED fog lamps, LED tail lights, three-zone climate control, and more features are standard equipment in all Passport models.
Honda has promised more details, including EPA mileage estimates and price points closer to the market launch early next year.