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1994 Honda Passport Sport Utility

4WD 3.2L LX 5-Spd Manual

Starting at | Starting at 0 MPG City - 0 MPG Highway

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  • $21,570 original MSRP

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Printable Version

1994 Honda Passport Sport Utility

Printable Version

1994 Honda Passport Sport Utility

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1994 Honda Passport

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

When sales of sport utility vehiclers reached 900,000 units for 1992 -- and sales projections for the year 2000 topped the 1.5 million mark -- every auto-maker knew it was time to get into the sport utility game. So, in December '92, Honda inked a complementary product agreement with Subaru-Isuzu Automotive to develop a product that would give them a toehold in the sport utility market. (The Passport, in fact, is remarkably similar to the Isuzu Rodeo.)

The result is the 1994 Honda Passport, which employs a body-on-frame design that is typically used in trucks and that feeds suspension and drive loads directly into the frame for better shock absorption on rough terrain.

The Passport is available in four different configurations: the base 2WD DX, the mid-line LX in both 2WD and 4WD, and the high-end 4WD EX. The DX model is powered by a 2.6-liter, 120hp, in-line four-cylinder engine, while the LX and EX models pack the increased power of a 3.2-liter, 175-hp, 24-valve, aluminum alloy V6.

We tested a Passport EX with a base MSRP of $25,600, a price that seemed steep until we saw the list of standard equipment on this top-of-the-line model: ventilated front disc brakes with lockup torque converter; rear anti-lock disc brakes; part-time 4WD system with front auto-locking hubs; variable assist power steering; air conditioning; leather-wrapped steering wheel; reclining front bucket seats; electric rear-window defroster; removable tilt-up moonroof, dual heated power mirrors; rear privacy glass; AM/FM stereo with a cassette player; power windows and door locks; remote tailgate window release; cruise control; and a cargo net.

In other words, instead of playing the a la carte option game, Honda has loaded the Passport EX with luxury-line features for a single price. The only optional charge on our test model was $79 for floor mats, which, along with the destination charge, brought the total price to $26,054.

Walkaround

At first blush, the Passport evokes memories from 10 or 15 years ago when we saw this kind of brawny vehicle bouncing through the African bush in the pages of National Geographic. The Passport definitely conveys rugged, sport utility, all-terrain stance and attitude. At the same time, however, its engineers clearly paid attention to styling: The rounded edges, sloping hood and flared fenders effect as much of an aerodynamic-flow feeling as you'd want in a vehicle niche where the major selling points are no-nonsense functionality and hard-nosed durability.

Other form-meets-function, body design elements on our test Passport included flared wheel trim-moldings, chrome front and rear bumpers, alloy wheels, a front bumper guard and recessed door handles. A fuel tank skidplate is standard on all models, and the LX and EX are also equipped with a front skidplate under the radiator area.

In the rear, the two-piece tailgate comprised an upper sashless window, which was suspended by gas-filled struts, and a lower gate that employed torsion-bar springs to aid in lowering and closing. An air-deflector at the upper rear edge of the roof helped keep the rear window free from rain, snow and road sludge. A high-mounted center stoplight projected a rearward beam whether the tailgate was up or down.

The spare tire was mounted on a sturdy hinged bracket that opened to the left for more convenient curbside cargo loading. A cam-and-lock mechanism kept the door open during loading and unloading. We liked the heft of the lower gate-when it's down, it's down. We weren't as thrilled, however, with the awkward placement of the rear windshield wiper arm: When closing the gate, there's a very real likelihood of accidentally grabbing-and even bending---the wiper.

Interior Features

Our Passport's padded instrument panel boasted an easily readable complement of gauges. The full-sweep tachometer and speedometer were surrounded by oil pressure, coolant and fuel gauges, all of which illuminated during start-up. The gear shift, parking brake lever and console were easily reachable to the right, as were the mirror-adjusting and mirror-heating switches. Lighting controls were to the left, and the cruise-control switch sprouted from the right side of the steering column.

Reclining front bucket seats were quite comfortable and went back far enough to allow our tall driver to extend his arms and drive comfortably. But the Passport didn't cheat our rear passengers in order to provide that front-seat spaciousness: Three adults could easily ride in the backseat without worrying about an elbow in the ribs. The 38-inch clearance afforded ample headroom in both the front and rear, and the rear bench seat could be folded flat or split 60/40 for varying storage requirements.

One caveat, however: The front-door armrests, which housed the power-window controls, protruded into our legroom area. Several times, our test driver banged his left knee against this housing.

Driving Impressions

Obviously, the bread-and-butter of a sport utility vehicle is how it is able to negotiate more harrowing terrain. And in that department, the Passport EX was a pleasure to drive. The large, unitized body was attached over the entire length of the frame, stiffening the overall structure and absorbing the shock of potholes, rocky roads and off-road bumps and dips. When we took it out on a muddy, partly snow-covered field, we were pleasantly jostled as we bounced over and through the dirt mounds, snow banks and icy patches.

The variable-assist steering, meanwhile, allowed for one-fingered steering, and one-handed parallel parking, with minimal pressure on the leather-wrapped wheel. The steering made its presence felt when deftly darting in and out of traffic, much to the chagrin of our fellow motorists.

A five-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard on all models. An electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and lockup torque converter is available as an option on the LX and EX models. The overdrive gear improved gas mileage and reduced engine noise at highway speeds. The transmission's winter mode, meanwhile, started out in third gear to prevent wheel-spinning on icy surfaces.

The Passport went from 0 to 40 mph in five seconds while in the 4WD mode not sports-car performance, to be sure, but on par with most passenger sedans. And when braking at 30 mph, the Passport came to a secure, controlled stop.

Summary

Conventional wisdom says to be apprehensive about a vehicle in its first year out of the design box. But the Passport EX is reassuring in its introductory year. It gives Honda a strong entry into the sport utility market by combining truck-like durability and off-road performance with a firm suspension, more than adequate levels of commuter comfort, and a smooth and quiet highway ride.

On the strength of those considerations alone, we'd say the Passport EX is one of the top three vehicles in its class.

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Printable Version

1994 Honda Passport Sport Utility

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Child Safety Locks Std
Printable Version

1994 Honda Passport Sport Utility

Honda Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Honda Certified Used Car Limited Warranty extends the non-powertrain coverage by 1 year/12,000 miles from the date of purchase or expiration of new car warranty date. In addition, Honda Certified Used Car Limited Warranty extends the powertrain coverage to 7 years/100,000 miles.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 year or 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance No
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1994 Honda Passport Sport Utility

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