Honda surprised everyone when they announced a new Passport was heading towards the 2018 LA Auto Show, and then yesterday they surprised again by quietly unveiling their latest SUV without much fanfare.
And so, here we are. A new Honda SUV was born last night, and it’s nothing like the comfy, fluffy Honda CR-V and Honda Pilot. It will slot in between those two models, actually, and take on the likes of the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge, and upcoming Chevrolet Blazer.
The Passport is a bit different from your traditional Honda SUV which is more urban-focused as oppose to a serious off-roader.
Thanks to a reinforced unibody frame and increased ground clearance, Honda claims the new Passport is more competent off the beaten path than many other SUVs, but the Japanese automaker is careful of managing expectations.
Don’t think of the Passport as a Wrangler or 4Runner competitor, in other words. You can, on the other hand, take that dirt road leading to the cottage with full confidence.
The Passport is five seats only and will be available in Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite trims in the U.S. Canadian buyers can choose between Sport, EX-L and Touring models. Every version gets 20-inch wheels, Honda Sensing active safety technologies, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
Other connectivity features include 4G LTE Wi-Fi, wireless phone charger and HondaLink.
The same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in the Pilot will power the 2019 Passport. It delivers 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque sent to all four wheels through Honda’s i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system.
Different driving modes including Snow, Sand, and Mud will be available to optimize power delivery based on road conditions. A 9-speed automatic gearbox is standard.
What to make of the 2019 Honda Passport? In a way it’s nice to see Honda bring back a name many know and the brand definitely needed a fourth SUV. On the other hand, the Passport looks like a Pilot that went through the drying machine. It doesn’t look, feel, or seem any different than other Honda SUVs despite the promised added off-road abilities.
This is your run-of-the-mill mid-size SUV and buyers will eat it up.
Check out our full LA Auto Show 2018 Coverage