What’s Honda’s new sub-Pilot crossover like on and off the road?

Honda unveiled the 2019 Passport as a model specifically designed for those who want a crossover that slots in size between the CR-V and Pilot. There is a bit more to it than that, though, since it is supposed to be better off-road than both of them and, as such, it also reflects this extra ruggedness in the way it looks.

2019 Honda Passport Video Review

The Passport was revealed at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show where it got a mixed reception, but now that the automotive media has been let loose on it at its official press launch event, there is additional information to be shared about it. It revived a nameplate that was slapped onto the back of a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo between 1993 and 2002.

As a reminder, it is shorter, wider, and taller (with extra ground clearance) compared to the Pilot and, even though it looks quite similar, it turns out very few parts are shared (none of which are the exterior panels which are unique to this model). Inside it’s familiar if you’ve been in any modern Honda crossover, but as is the case with the exterior, there is a hint of extra ruggedness in the design theme.

What is it like to drive? Well, reviewers say it’s surprisingly comfortable on the road - it feels like a smaller, shorter Pilot because that is essentially what it is underneath. And, that’s actually a good thing as the Pilot drives quite well. The Passport’s steering ratio is a bit tighter, according to those that have driven it, and you can also feel its fairly high center of gravity - something that is especially apparent in sharp direction changes.

But, overall, it’s more than adequate on the road, especially since the Pilot is sold as a vehicle you are encouraged to take off-road too.

With 8.1-inches or 20.5 centimeters of ground clearance in the all-wheel-drive model (that goes down to 7.5 inch or 19 centimeters in the base front-driven model), it is definitely apt to take you over moderately rough terrain as you’ll get to see in the slew of video reviews shown here.

Power from the 3.5-liter V-6 under its hood is sufficient to provide lively acceleration that’s about on par with what the Pilot can muster.

Remember, even though the Passport has a smaller footprint, it’s almost as heavy as the Pilot, so the 280-horsepower output feels about the same.

The only transmission option is the ZF nine-speed automatic, but you can get it with all-wheel drive, and that makes it considerably more capable off-road where it uses its Intelligent Variable Torque Management system to great effect.

But it seems that it will be the same blend of qualities that make people that buy the Pilot also consider the Passport. It offers pretty much the same package with a bit more rugged styling and off-road credibility, so it addresses similar buyers, albeit ones who can do without the third-row seating option. It does undercut the Pilot a bit, but only by some $1,500, which may not be enough difference to justify buying the smaller Passport for some people.

2019 Honda Passport specifications

Engine Type V-6
Displacement 3471cc
Horsepower (SAE Net) 280 @6 000 rpm
Torque (SAE Net) 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Fuel Injection Direct
Transmission 9-speed automatic (9AT)
Towing Capacity, 2WD (AWD) 3,500 lbs (5,000 lbs) with tow package
Wheelbase 111.0 in.
Length 190.5 in.
Height 71.6 in.
Width 78.6 in.
Track Front/Rear, 2WD (AWD) 67.0/67.0 in. (66.7/66.7 in.)
Ground Clearance, 2WD (AWD) 7.8 in. (8.4 in.)
Approach/Departure Angles, Degrees, 2WD (AWD) 20.6/26.8 (21.4/27.6)
Cargo Volume (Behind 2nd Row) SAE J1100 41.2 cu.-ft.
Cargo Volume (Behind 1st Row) SAE J1100 77.9 cu.-ft.
Cargo Volume (Behind 1st Row) SAE J1100 plus floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position. 100.7 cu.-ft.
Passenger Volume 115.9 (114.9 w/sunroof)

Further reading

2019 Honda Passport Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Honda Passport.

1994 - 2002 Honda Passport
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Read our full review on the 1994 - 2002 Honda Passport.

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