Base Passport is loaded and retails for $42,490.
It is a 5-seater version of the Pilot with extra attitude.
It offers one of the roomiest cabins in the segment.
Honda takes a winning recipe in the Pilot and adapts it for the 5-seater Passport.
Honda’s been an SUV leader for nearly 25 years. The first generation CR-V helped create the dominant compact SUV segment but not long after its arrival, Honda (and Acura) introduced a number of other SUVs, from the Element and Pilot to the RDX and MDX. All of these were innovative and unique but it will have taken more than 20 years for Honda to launch a competitor to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner, Hyundai Santa Fe and others.
The Honda Passport was the last, but not the least, link in Honda’s SUV lineup as a 5-seater midsize offering. Using the tried, tested and true foundation established 18 years ago by the 3-row Pilot, the Passport brings Honda’s best SUV efforts to feed the endless Canadian hunger for SUVs.
Launched for the 2019 model year, the Honda Passport is about as simple as any vehicle can get. If you’ve considered this SUV and built it online, you’ll have noticed that the $42,490 Sport has only three colours for you to select from as options. Period. In fact, with the exception of a few extra colours to choose from, the $46,090 EX-L and $49,490 Touring are exactly the same.
As such, all 2020 Honda Passport SUVs are equipped with the 280-horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque, 3.5-litre i-VTEC V6, a 9-speed automatic transmission and Honda’s torque-vectoring i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system. Across the board, the Passport is fitted with 20-inch wheels, a fully-independent suspension, and a full battery of Honda Sensing safety technologies. The Passport will tow 1,588 kg (3,500 lbs) out of the box or up to 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) when properly equipped.
Standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi tethering, tri-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, remote engine starter and loads more. The EX-L adds leather seats, heated rear seats, a power passenger front seat, and a power tailgate. The Touring throws in a high-power audio system, cooled front seats, navigation and wireless charging.
The segment continues to grow with all-new players or seriously revamped alternatives. The Passport competes against the Ford Edge, Chevrolet Blazer, GMC Acadia, Kia Sorento, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, Nissan Murano, and the aforementioned Jeep, Toyota and Hyundai SUVs.
What the 2020 Honda Passport Does Well
- The Passport’s 3.5-litre V6 remains one of the smoothest, most satisfying engines despite its relative age.
- The driving experience is much like the V6’s operation, The Passport feels solid, safe, comfortable and handles like a big Honda.
- With 1,430 litres of trunk space behind the second row, the Passport is one of the roomiest SUVs in the segment.
- Despite appearances, the Passport still offers just over 8 inches of ground clearance and some decent off-roading potential.
- Although pricing is a downside (see below), this means fewer will be sold, almost assuring a strong resale value (much like the Honda Fit.)
What 2020 Honda Passport Doesn’t Do So Well
- The $42k+ starting price dissuades potential buyers into thinking it’s far too expensive.
- One of the last test-driven units displayed uneven braking performance.
- Honda’s game to get you to pay more money for actual colour is immensely frustrating.
- The 9-speed ZF automatic transmission could be a source of occasional issues.
What We Tell Our Friends
The 2020 Honda Passport has no real flaws. It’s spacious, well equipped, safe and will likely serve as the primary family mode of transportation for many virtually trouble-free years. And once you’re done with it, it’ll surely still be worth good money.
The Chevy Blazer is interesting only if a higher trim is selected, increasing the price to $42k+. The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is equally enticing but the same can be said about trims and pricing. The only other SUV in this category that comes close in reliability is the Toyota 4Runner, a delightful relic from another time.
Bottom-line, the 2020 Honda Passport is an excellent SUV.