The Passport shares most of the mechanicals, including the powertrain, with the Pilot. Every Passport uses Honda's 280-horsepower 3.5-liter
V6 to turn the front or all the wheels. It delivers 262 lb-ft of torque. The Passport also shares the 9-speed automatic transmission that's standard in upper Pilot trims. AWD is standard on the Passport's top Elite grade and a $1,900 option on the lower trims, and it's the same i-VTM4 AWD system that's on the Pilot and the
Ridgeline. When equipped with the optional towing package, AWD Passports can tow up to 5,000 pounds. We were surprised to learn that, even without that third-row seat and that 6.5 inches in overall length, the Passport weighs in only about 100 pounds lighter than the Pilot. In fact, comparing Passport and Pilot models with the same transmission, the Pilot actually delivers a little better fuel economy. Weird, right? Blame the Passport's higher ride height and wider tires, Honda engineers say.
Front-wheel drive Passports deliver a government-estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving as compared to the Pilot's 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined. The AWD Passport can get up to 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined as compared to the AWD Pilot's 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
Honda offers the Passport in four grades. Following Honda trim protocol, there are no factory options other than AWD on the three lower trims. (AWD comes standard on the Elite trim.) All prices include the $1,045 factory delivery fee. Honda Sensing includes an emergency forward-braking system with
forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning with road-departure mitigation and
adaptive cruise control. The entry-level
Sport ($31,990) comes standard with 20-in alloy wheels, Honda Sensing, a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines, six airbags, auto on/off LED headlights, auto high beams, LED brake and fog lights, full power accessories, keyless remote entry, keyless push-button start, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, under-floor cargo storage compartments,
tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a 7-speaker audio system with 5-in color screen, USB port and two 12-volt power outlets. The hot-selling
EX-L ($36,410) adds or enhances Sport's content with heated outboard mirrors with LED turn indicators, acoustic windshield glass, a power moonroof, a power lift gate, a Homelink wireless control system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 10-way power driver's seat, two-position memory for seats and outboard mirrors, a 4-way power front passenger seat, leather-trimmed seats, front heated seats, an 8-in touchscreen,
Honda Link smartphone connectivity,
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio capability, mobile hotspot capability and blind spot monitoring. Building on the EX-L, the
Touring ($39,280) comes with all-acoustic glass, a hands-free power lift gate, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding outboard mirrors, rear heated seats and an upgraded 10-speaker audio system with navigation and a 115-volt power outlet. Topping the grades is the
Elite ($43,780), which adds AWD, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming outboard mirrors, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated perforated leather front seats, and wireless phone charger.
Every Passport comes with the usual active-safety technologies such as vehicle stability control, brake assist and traction control. Honda Sensing is standard across the board, as are LED running lights, a rearview camera, six airbags, auto high beams and a LATCH child-seat system. Only Sport doesn't come with blind spot monitoring. The Passport has done well in crash testing, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration giving it a 5-star overall rating and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety giving it the top Good score in every crashworthiness category except for passenger-side small-overlap front crash test, for which it received an Acceptable rating. The Passport received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.
Behind the Wheel
We have only one big grumble from the driver's seat: Shifting requires pushing or pulling buttons on the center console. Even a rotary shifter is less confusing and requires less time searching and doing. Otherwise, there isn't much to complain about. Although the ride is a bit rougher than the Pilot's -- blame the 20-in wheels for some of that -- the Passport's driving experience is very much like the Pilot's. The cabin is quiet, the seats are comfortable and there's enough room to stretch out a bit. Off-road, the Passport is surprisingly capable. In fact, for a car-based crossover, it's downright impressive. It's not engineered for severe, boulder-strewn trails -- it has neither skid plates nor 4-low gearing -- but it performs brilliantly in mud, sand and snow. We even took on a few rocky outcroppings.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Nissan Murano -- Refreshed in 2019, the Murano is an upscale people-mover targeted toward couples and empty-nesters. It's roomy and offers lots of technology.
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe -- Completely redesigned in 2019, the Santa Fe replaces the Santa Fe Sport. Value-priced, it offers a long list of safety- and driver-assist technologies.
2020 Ford Edge -- Another Passport competitor updated in 2019, the Edge offers a new high-performance ST grade this year.
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- If what you want is a more serious off-roader, it's the
Jeep. It's not as roomy as the Passport, but the
Grand Cherokee will go places most others simply can't.
Used Land Rover Discovery -- Revamped in 2017, the
Land Rover Discovery is a midsize luxury SUV with outstanding off-road capability and a luxurious, roomy interior. A used Discovery can be found with pricing similar to a new Passport. However, a Honda will always be more reliable than a
We could get along fine with the Passport Sport. Depending on where we lived and our lifestyle, we would be more inclined to pony up the extra cash for the AWD on the base Sport trim rather than step up to the EX-L. However, for those demanding extras like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the EX-L is the way to go.
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