The Passport seats five, while the Pilot seats up to eight.
The original Honda Passport was a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo introduced by Honda back in 1993. Sales lasted until 2001 when Honda introduced the vehicle’s replacement, the less truck like, more family-oriented Pilot, which offered seating for up to eight people. At the time, most automakers were only offering one or two SUVs, so Honda put all of its eggs in the larger Pilot’s basket, neglecting to offer a midsize, 5-passenger SUV in its lineup for the time being. Fast forward to 2019, and SUVs are all the rage, so Honda has opted to reintroduce the Passport name, this time on a shortened, 5-passenger version of the Pilot.
While Honda has chosen to market these two vehicles very differently, the 2019 Honda Passport and Pilot are actually quite similar, so much so that you’ll probably have a hard time telling the two apart at first glance. Here we’ll dive into some of the major differences between the two to help you decide which one is right for you.
The Pilot comes in five trim levels — LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and Elite — while the Passport comes in four: Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite. The trims are similar for the most part, with the Passport Sport being comparable to the Pilot EX. The Passport forgoes an entry-level model as bare-bones as the Pilot LX.
Factoring in delivery and destination fees, the 2019 Pilot starts at $32,495 and reaches $49,065 in fully-loaded Elite trim. The Passport — which again, comes with more standard features than the Pilot — starts off at $33,035 and comes in at just under $45,000 in its fully-optioned Elite trim.
These two vehicles differ only slightly when it comes to styling and appearance. To make the Passport, Honda chopped six inches of rear overhang from the Pilot, removed the third-row seat, and changed the grille, front bumper, rear bumper and lift gate. While the Passport wears more black trim and looks slightly more aggressive than the Pilot, we won’t hold it against you if you have a hard time telling the two apart.
The Pilot and the Passport come with the same 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. In LX, EX and EX-L trims, the Pilot comes with a 6-speed automatic, while Touring and Elite models get a 9-speed auto as standard. While the 6-speed uses a traditional gear-lever, the 9-speed uses buttons for changing between park, neutral, drive and reverse. The 9-speed also comes with paddle shifters and a few different traction modes. Every Passport comes with the 9-speed automatic.
Both vehicles can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. With AWD and the 9-speed, the Pilot returns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. With the 6-speed, expect to return one fewer mpg in all categories. The EPA rates the AWD Passport at 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined, although our testing has returned slightly better figures. Opt for FWD in either model and you earn one mpg back in all categories.
Honda likes to advertise that the Passport has a quicker steering ratio and offers up to one additional inch of ride height over the Pilot. While added ground clearance does not necessarily equate to increased off-road capability, it does give the vehicle a more aggressive stance, while the quicker steering gives it more engaging handling when compared to the more family-oriented Pilot. Unfortunately, the Passport also comes standard with relatively large 20-in wheels, which, given that they allow for a smaller, less-durable tire sidewall, can be a liability in the exact kinds of off-road situations shown in Honda’s commercials for the Passport.
The Pilot and the Passport have very similar dimensions. Since they’re built on the same platform, the two vehicles share a 111-in wheelbase. The Pilot comes in at 196.5 inches long, 78.6 inches wide and 70.6 inches tall. The Passport is 6 inches shorter than the Pilot, measuring 190.5 inches long, but at 78.6 inches, the Passport is the same width. In both FWD and AWD configurations, the Passport is a little taller than the Pilot. FWD Passports come in at 71.6 inches tall while AWD models are 72.2 inches tall. See the 2019 Honda Passport models for sale near you
Inside, the Passport and the Pilot both offer an identical 40.1 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom up front. In the second row, the Pilot has 40.2 inches of headroom and 38.4 inches of legroom, while the Passport offers 40.2 inches and 39.6 inches, respectively. Suffice to say, these two vehicles have virtually identical interiors from the second row forward. Worth mentioning is the Pilot’s third row, which seats three across and has 38.9 inches of headroom and 31.9 inches of legroom. See the 2019 Honda Pilot models for sale near you
In terms of cargo space, the shorter Passport offers 41.2 cu ft. of usable space behind its second row and 77.9 cu ft. with the second row folded. The Pilot offers around 5 cu ft. of additional room in both configurations, with 46.8 behind the second row (with the third row folded) and 83.9 with both the second and third rows folded. With its third row extended, the Pilot offers 16.5 cu ft. of usable space.
Both vehicles also come with some additional storage located underneath the rear cargo floor.
The Pilot can be had with features like a power sliding second row, 3-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, retractable sun-shades integrated into the second-row door panels, a power rear lift gate, a single-pane sunroof with an optional additional sunroof at the rear, and a unique “Cabin Talk” public address system that allows front seats passengers (parents) to address rear-seat passengers (kids) through the vehicle’s speakers. The Passport is available with all of this, except for the power-sliding second row, panoramic sunroof and PA system.
As it’s marketed as more of a family vehicle, the Pilot is available with a second-row entertainment system (complete with a home-style 115-volt power outlet and an HDMI port for connecting a video game system) and second-row captain’s chairs. The Passport keeps things simple with a second-row bench and no available rear-seat entertainment.
The Pilot and the Passport share infotainment systems. The base trims of both the Pilot and the Passport come with a simple 5.0-in infotainment screen, while all other trims come with an 8.0-in screen. Honda’s 8-in infotainment system uses a sharp, high-res screen, but the layout is just OK and can sometimes be cumbersome to use. Luckily, on all but the base Pilot (or in other words, on every model equipped with an 8-in screen) Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included, allowing you to ignore Honda’s own software for the most part if you’d like. While Honda’s been criticized in years past for omitting a volume knob with its infotainment layouts, the knob returns for 2019, and both the Pilot and the Passport come with one.
Both vehicles come with a litany of connectivity ports for charging mobile devices and more, along with a wireless phone charger located at the front of the center console.
Expect the Pilot and the Passport to offer the same major safety credentials. Both come standard with Honda’s “Honda Sensing” suite of active safety features, which consists of automatic emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane-keeping assist and road departure mitigation. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic high beams are also available.
The Pilot and the Passport both earn positive scores across the board in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. While the Pilot earns a coveted Top Safety Pick designation, the Passport, oddly, does not, as it receives poor scores for low-beam headlights that supposedly create excessive glare. This is especially strange since the two vehicles share headlights, and the Pilot earns scores of Good and Acceptable for its headlights.
Altogether, these two vehicles are both extremely safe.
Honda dependability generally ranks among the best in the industry and the Pilot and the Passport should offer identical quality and reliability. Both come with Honda’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
In the simplest of terms, there are really only two main functional differences between the 2019 Honda Passport and Pilot: the number of people they can carry and how they’re marketed. The Pilot is a minivan substitute through and through and offers a third row, which you can’t get in the Passport. From the second row forward, though, the two vehicles are virtually identical, offering ample space in terms of both dimensions and storage compartments. In an attempt to capitalize on the current overlanding trend, Honda wants you to think of the Passport as your ticket to adventure, and uses red-rock heavy imagery from places like Moab, Utah in its advertising for the vehicle. In reality though, save for its shorter rear overhang that allows for a better departure angle, the Passport barely offers any additional off-road capability over the Pilot. As their similarities far outweigh their differences, deciding between these two vehicles is pretty simple. If you want the third row and the extra space, and don’t mind the family-hauler stigma, opt for the Pilot. If you don’t need the third row, consider the Passport. Find a Honda Passport for sale or Find a Honda Pilot for sale