As with all other carmakers, more SUVs are always welcomed in a line-up. The Honda Passport will fill a void between the CR-V and Pilot that until recently did not exist.
The 2019 Honda Passport lands directly in one of the most hotly contested SUV segments but it’s well and ready for action. Honda has a strategy that involves offering everything under the sun as standard which could work in their favour, or not.
The list of competitors with which the 2019 Honda Passport faces off varies wildly, and comes from nearly all mainstream car manufacturers. The new Ford Edge is a close match in many respects but there’s also the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Santa Fe, Chevrolet Blazer, Kia Sorento, Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Murano, Toyota 4Runner to name but a few.
Honda has the advantage of 15+ years of large midsize SUV-building experience thanks to the Pilot. The fact that the Passport and the Pilot are extremely closely related is a very good thing.
Hitting the competition with everything Honda’s got
There are no half-measures in this battle, at least there should be no such thing. This is why the 2019 Passport, whether in the Sport, EX-L or Touring trim, includes Honda’s venerable 3.5-litre V6. With 280-horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, it’ll never be down on power. A 9-speed automatic transmission and AWD are also standard fare.
For $41,990, the Passport Sport delivers all the goods. Features at this price point contain a heated steering wheel, heated seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, active noise cancellation, 7-inch display screen, a power sunroof, remote start and obviously much much more.
The draws to the Passport are manifold. Honda’s reputation for building quality products precedes all of its vehicles and applies to the Passport. The next element is without a doubt the truck’s spaciousness and capabilities. With 1,430 litres of cargo volume behind the sliding and reclining 60/40 split-folding 2nd row, the Passport’s boot is somewhere between 10% and 40% greater than the majority of its 2-row segment mates. Capability-wise, it can also tow between 1,588 and 2,268 kg (3,500-5,000 lbs.) and easily tackle some mild off-road situations.
A similarly-equipped 2019 Ford Edge SEL AWD with options in $1,900 less expensive but does not offer the same overall versatility. On the other hand, a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Upland Edition with sunroof retails for more than $9,000 more. While the 2019 Passport’s base price might be higher than a number of its competitors, when properly compared, there’s value in the Honda.
Trims, value, technology but no colours
Perhaps the only real downside to the 2019 Honda Passport is that if you like colour other than white, black or grey of course, Honda forces you to upgrade to the next trim.
If a lovely shade of blue is what you’d like, the $45,590 EX-L is the least expensive Passport you can buy. The $3,600 jump in price brings with it leather seats, heated rear outboard seats, 4-way power passenger seat, a power tailgate and an acoustic windshield.
The step in the Honda Passport’s ladder is the Touring brings with it a $48,990 sticker price. Here, you’ll finally have access to a red hue and some higher-end features. Ventilated front seats, navigation, a wi-fi hotspot, wireless charging and big audio are most of the items that justify the $3,400 pricing increase.
Throughout the entire lineup, the Passport is loaded with an impressively long list of safety items. Intelligent cruise control, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and lane departure warning and assist are all built-in.
In our opinion, the base Passport Sport is the perfect trim as not only does it look the part with its roof rails, fog lights, 20-inch wheels and 205mm of ground clearance but it will fit all Canadian family lifestyles. The only element we’d miss is the power tailgate.
We will drive the new 2019 Honda Passport later this week so look for our first drive review very soon.