- 2019 Honda Passport is a new addition to the Honda lineup.
- Honda CR-V was fully redesigned for 2017.
- Both vehicles offer seating for five people.
Up until a few years ago, Honda offered two SUVs: the compact, five-passenger CR-V, and the large, yet still technically midsize Pilot, which offers room for up to eight. With the recent rise in popularity of SUVs, though, Honda has opted to double their SUV offering in recent years, introducing the subcompact HR-V in 2016, and now the revived Passport here in 2019. While the diminutive HR-V is positioned below the CR-V, the Pilot-based Passport is positioned above it. As a result, buyers interested in a spacious-but-not-too-big Honda SUV are likely to consider both the Passport and CR-V. To help with that decision, we’ve outlined the major differences between the two below.
The CR-V came out way back in 1995 and has since become one of the best-selling vehicles in America. Competing in the compact SUV segment, it last received a full redesign for the 2017 model year, and should be receiving a mid-cycle update in the next year or so.
The CR-V is sold in four trim levels — LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Two different engines are offered: Base models come with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder putting out 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, while all other trims get a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder making 190 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available on any trim level. While the two engines are evenly matched from a power standpoint, the turbo is a more modern engine and is thus good for an additional two miles per gallon overall, hence the reason Honda offers it on upper trim levels. With the turbo and AWD, the CR-V returns 29 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
Accounting for delivery and destination fees, the 2019 Honda CR-V starts at $25,395 in base LX trim, while a fully-loaded Touring model tops out at around $35,000.See the 2019 Honda CR-V models for sale near you
Honda last used the Passport nameplate on a re-badged Isuzu Rodeo that it sold from 1993 through 2001. The original Passport offered some off-road capability, and Honda has attempted to channel the ethos of the original in the new model, marketing it as an adventure vehicle despite the fact that it’s now based on the unibody, family-oriented Pilot. The Passport competes in the 5-passenger midsize SUV segment, and counts vehicles like the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Murano as its main competitors. Outside of it offering about 0.8 inches of additional ride height (for AWD models) and a greater departure angle, Honda hasn’t made any significant changes to the vehicle’s Pilot underpinnings to make it particularly off-road capable. Still, the Passport is a practical, efficient midsize SUV that will work for anyone looking for a vehicle to complement their active lifestyle. See the 2019 Honda Passport models for sale near you
The 2019 Honda Passport is offered with one engine which it shares with the Pilot. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 making 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Every Passport comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission and is available with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or AWD. Trim levels consist of Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite. With AWD, the Passport returns 21 mpg combined.
Factoring in fees, the Passport starts at $33,035 and reaches just under $45,000 in fully-loaded Elite trim.
The main area where the CR-V and Passport differentiate from one another is in their respective dimensions. On the outside, the 2019 Honda CR-V comes in at 180.6 inches long, 73 inches wide and 66.5 inches tall, while the Passport comes in at 190.5 inches long, 78.6 inches wide and 71.6 inches tall with FWD or 72.2 inches tall with AWD.
While Honda is eager to tell you that the Passport has more ground clearance than the Pilot, the CR-V offers more ground clearance than either vehicle, with 8.2 inches to the Passport’s 8.1, when comparing AWD models.
On the inside, the CR-V offers 40.1 inches of headroom and 41.3 inches of legroom up front to the Passport’s 40.1 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom. In their back seats, both vehicles offer ample space. The CR-V has 39.2 inches of headroom and 40.4 inches of legroom while the Passport offers 40.2 and 39.6 inches, respectively.
Given that it’s based on the Pilot, which boasts large interior dimensions, the Passport offers considerably more cargo space than the CR-V. Behind the rear seats, the CR-V comes with 39.2 cu ft. of room while the Passport offers 50.5 cu ft. Fold their second rows flat, and the CR-V offers 75.8 cu ft. while the Passport grows to a whopping 100.7 cu ft. The Passport also comes with an additional storage bin located under the rear cargo floor.
While the CR-V and Passport both score extremely well in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only the CR-V receives a coveted "Top Safety Pick" designation, as the Passport loses points, oddly, for headlights that the IIHS felt put off too much glare.
In terms of active safety features, both the CR-V and Passport offer a full array — on the Passport many of these are standard, while on the CR-V they’re offered on every trim but the base LX model. Starting with the CR-V EX, buyers get automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic assist, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. On the Passport, automated emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams and road-departure mitigation are standard, while blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic assist and rain sensing windshield wipers are offered on the EX-L model and up.
While the base LX model gets a smaller 5-in screen, CR-V EX, EX-L and Touring models come with a 7-in infotainment screen. The Passport is a similar case — the base Sport model gets a 5-in screen, while all other trims come with an 8-in screen. When fitted with the larger screen, both models offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which is good as Honda’s own infotainment software can be cumbersome to use. The CR-V EX-L comes with an 8-speaker, 180-watt sound system, while the Touring model gets a 9-speaker, 330-watt system. Passport Touring and Elite models come with a 540-watt premium audio system featuring 10 speakers, along with a 115-volt power outlet, navigation and mobile hotspot capability. Only the top-of-the-line CR-V Touring can be had with navigation.
The Passport Elite comes with a wireless charging pad located at the front of the center console. The CR-V doesn’t offer one.
Technology & Features
The CR-V can be had with a foot-activated, hands-free power lift gate, a panoramic sunroof, rain sensing windshield wipers, a programmable garage door opener, power driver and passenger seats, a heated steering wheel and LED headlights. The Passport offers all of the same, except for the panoramic sunroof. Additionally, in the Passport, you can get a wireless charging pad, second row sunshades that slide out of the door panels, and, among other things, that convenient storage compartment underneath the rear cargo floor.
Honda products are generally among the most reliable vehicles in the industry. Honda offers all of its vehicles with a 3-year/36,000 mile basic and 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.
Both the CR-V and Passport are competent, competitive vehicles that are at or near the top of their respective segments. The CR-V is smaller, offers less equipment and costs much less. It also gets much better fuel economy than the Passport and offers an available panoramic sunroof. The Pilot-based Passport offers considerably more cargo space than the CR-V and a more powerful V6 engine. The drawbacks are maneuverability and fuel economy, but don’t be surprised if you see mileage in excess of what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quotes. Honda markets the Passport as an adventure vehicle, but, in reality, these two vehicles both offer about the same level of off-road capability — either one will get you down a forest road and over some uneven, rutted out terrain in a pinch. As they have very similar passenger area dimensions and both offer room for up to five people, deciding between these two comes down to how much cargo room you need and how much you want to spend. Find a Honda Passport for sale or Find a Honda CR-V for sale