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2019 Honda Passport: First Look

  • On sale early 2019
  • Designed, developed and built in the United States
  • Not just for the school run

The 2019 Honda Passport is an all-new midsize SUV/crossover, first shown at the 2018 LA Auto Show. It slots between the compact CR-V and the 3-row Pilot. It was designed and developed in the United States specifically for North American buyers. The 2019 Passport is also being built at Honda’s facility in Lincoln, Alabama.

Think of the new Passport as a rival to SUV/crossovers like the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. Or, indeed, a shorter Pilot. It seats up to five and comes standard with front-wheel drive (in the lower trims) while offering the option of all-wheel drive. And if the Passport name rings a distant bell in your memory, there was an SUV made in conjunction with Isuzu back at the turn of the millennium. But this one is all-new and all-Honda.

How much does it cost and when is it available?

Honda hasn’t given any pricing yet, but an educated guess would be around $30,000 or a little higher. The 2019 Honda Passport is set to reach dealerships in the early part of next year.

What equipment does it have?

All trim levels come with 20-inch alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, keyless entry/ignition and tri-zone automatic climate control.

An interesting aspect to the 2019 Passport is that Honda is emphasizing its off-roading ability. The company has recently been quite bullish about the larger Pilot’s talents away from the tarmac. This new SUV/crossover is described by its makers as hitting "the sweet spot between daily driving comfort and weekend off-road, all-weather adventure capability." The optional all-wheel drive setup (standard in the top trim) has what Honda calls an "Intelligent Traction Management" system with separate modes for snow, sand and mud.

From a safety angle, the Honda Sensing array of driver aids (including forward collision mitigation, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control) is standard throughout the range.

Trim levels are Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite. Extra equipment, either standard in the higher trims or otherwise optional, includes a powered tailgate with hands-free operation, powered moonroof, perforated leather upholstery, parking sensors, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charging, and blind spot monitoring.

What’s under the hood?

A 3.5-liter V6 propels the 2019 Honda Passport with 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic. There are no official fuel consumption figures yet, but the 2019 Pilot with the same drivetrain is estimated to average 23 mpg with front-wheel drive. Subtract one mile per gallon for all-wheel drive. Maximum towing ability is 5,000 pounds.

Anything else?

With the rear seats folded down, total cargo capacity is 77.9 cubic feet, easily enough for a couple of mountain bikes or a load of camping paraphernalia. The floor covering is a reversible carpet/plastic mat. There’s also a 2.5-cubic feet underfloor stowage area.

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  1. I just drove the Honda Ridgeline, Passport and Pilot – all V-6 with 280 hp. The Ridgeline’s and Passport’s responsiveness off the dime and when you punch them up on the highway is terrible. However, the Pilot acquits itself quite well in that area even though it seems to be the largest and heaviest of the three. Hard to believe, especially if you consider the fact that beginning of the line Audi, Mercedes, or BMW 4-cylinder SUVs with about 200 horses accelerate much faster. If you’re looking for a fun-to-drive SUV that won’t break the bank, the Ford Escape and Kia Sportage may be your best bets. 

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