The badge returns after 16 years

Honda just revived the Passport name after 16 years for a brand new SUV that slots between the CR-V and Pilot. Unlike its spiritual predecessor, it isn’t a rebadged Isuzu, but a vehicle designed and engineered by Honda itself. How does it compare with the old model? Well, it’s better in just about every department, which isn’t surprising given that the previous Passport is two decades older. Let’s find out what makes the new Passport a better, modern SUV.

It’s Designed by Honda

5 Reasons Why the 2019 Honda Passport is Better Than the Old One Exterior
- image 806741

Before you say "D’oh, of course, it is!" I need to reiterate that the original Passport wasn’t.

Honda didn't have the know-how to build a big SUV back in the 1990s, so it turned to Isuzu for a badge-engineered Rodeo.

It wasn’t an entirely bad idea, but developing and building your own vehicles is very important nowadays. Not only is Honda now regarded as one of the most reliable carmakers, but it also helps brand cachet.

Runs on Proven Pilot Underpinnings

5 Reasons Why the 2019 Honda Passport is Better Than the Old One Exterior
- image 806740

The Passport isn’t a brand-new vehicle under the shell.

It shares almost every element of the drivetrain with the slightly larger Pilot, including much of the suspension, the 3.5-liter V-6 engine, and the nine-speed automatic transmission.

It even features the all-wheel-drive system with i-VTM4 torque vectoring, which already made a name for itself in the Pilot SUV and the Ridgeline truck. Because of this it also gets respectable towing rating, at up to 5,000 pounds with AWD.

Sportier Design

5 Reasons Why the 2019 Honda Passport is Better Than the Old One Exterior
- image 806739

SUVs looked rather rugged and utilitarian back in the early 1990s, but it wasn’t a rule. However, the Isuzu Rodeo was rather boxy and looked pretty boring, and Honda was stuck with the design.

As expected, the Passport is a big departure from that, boasting a cool mix of sharp lines and round cues, which combine into a somewhat sporty design.

Better Convenience Features

5 Reasons Why the 2019 Honda Passport is Better Than the Old One Interior
- image 806749

Like most modern vehicles, the Passport is packed with the latest convenience features. The standard eight-inch infotainment display comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity in the more expensive trims, while the Touring and Elite models feature a 590-watt, 10-speaker audio system.

The seven-inch digital instrument cluster displays a wide range of car-related information, including navigation data.

All these features can be accessed via controls mounted on the steering wheel. There’s also a 4G LTE system with Wi-Fi for up to seven devices, although this is optional for the base model and standard only on the Touring and Elite trims.

While you could argue that it’s natural for a more modern vehicle to have these features, the new Passport is actually a more premium proposition today. The original Passport lagged behind the competition in this department, even in its most expensive trim.

Cool Accessories

5 Reasons Why the 2019 Honda Passport is Better Than the Old One Exterior
- image 806757
While it was off-road capable and had impressive towing capability, the old Passport lacked the cool factor.

This is no longer the case with the new-generation SUV, which benefits from a range of accessories, including a graphics package, roof boxes, roof racks, lighted door sills, and undercarriage door seats.

Honda also offers a couple of accessory packages. The Adventure Package adds running boards, a trailer hitch, and fender flares, while the Urban Package adds front and rear underbody spoilers, unique 20-inch wheels, cargo storage bins, and roof rails and crossbars.

2019 Honda Passport drivetrain 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

5 Reasons Why the 2019 Honda Passport is Better Than the Old One Exterior
- image 806739

Honda Touts The New Passport SUV As its Resident Off-Roader

Honda Is Reviving the Passport Name Plate for 2019 at the L.A. Auto Show
- image 804885

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Honda Passport.

1994 - 2002 Honda Passport
- image 804991

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

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: