By Steve & Tamami Laser
The Passport nameplate returns to the Honda lineup for 2019 following a 17-year absence. While the original was Honda’s version of the Isuzu Rodeo, the new Passport is a thoroughly modern crossover based on the current generation Pilot.
Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Passport gives Honda a two-row crossover that’s larger than the CR-V, yet smaller than the three-row Pilot. The U.S.-built Passport is likely to compete with the Ford Edge, new Chevrolet Blazer, Nissan Murano, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Hyundai Santa Fe. Passport makes a bold first impression with design details including a standard matte-black grille, LED headlights, fog lights, floating-style roof, oversize fender flares, and 20-inch alloy wheels. Trim levels include Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite.
The rear view highlights Passport’s sporty character with its short overhang, angled tailgate, and dual chrome exhaust outlets. Passport rides on the same 111.0-inch wheelbase as the Pilot and has an identical 78.6-inch width. However, overall length is 6.0 inches shorter, while overall height is an inch taller.
Like the Pilot and Ridgeline pickup, Passport rides on Honda’s Global Light Truck platform. Motivation is supplied by a standard 3.5-liter i-VTEC® V6 engine rated at 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s teamed with a 9-speed automatic transmission and transfers power to the front wheels or all four via available i-VTM™ torque-vectoring AWD.
Passport offers plenty of room for gear with 41.2 cu. ft. of cargo space with the rear seats up and 77.9 cu. ft. with them folded down. Under the reversible cargo floor (carpeted on one side, hard plastic on the other) is a storage compartment that offers 2.5 cu. ft. of space for smaller items.
Passport’s five-passenger cabin presents a luxurious look and feel with soft-touch surfaces on the dash and door panels. Seats are trimmed with cloth on Sport while EX-L, Touring and Elite have perforated leather. Standard features include 3-zone climate control, Smart Entry and Smart Start, and a power driver’s seat. Touring is fitted with ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and wireless phone charger.
Passport’s Intelligent Traction Management lets drivers customize powertrain performance by selecting Normal, Snow, Mud, or Sand modes on models with AWD, or Normal and Snow for those with FWD. Settings are displayed on the standard 7-inch TFT instrument panel display.
An 8-inch Display Audio system, fitted to the top three trims, features Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ along with tablet-style touchscreen integration allowing users to swipe, tap and pinch various displays. A 10-speaker premium audio system is standard on Touring and Elite, along with 4G LTE Wi-Fi TCU that’s said to support up to seven devices (and comes with a “free 90-day/3GB trial period AT&T data plan”).
The Honda Sensing® suite of safety features is standard on all models. It includes Collision Mitigation Braking System™ with Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System, and Adaptive Cruise Control. A multi-angle rearview camera with “bird’s eye” view is also standard. The top three trims add a blind spot information system, while Touring and Elite include Rear Cross-Traffic Detection and front and rear parking sensors.
Scheduled to go on sale at U.S. Honda dealers in early 2019, Passport was designed and developed by Honda North America R&D in Torrance, California, and Raymond, Ohio. Passport will be built by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, along with its Pilot, Ridgeline, and Odyssey siblings.
Features, specifications and launch dates for U.S. market models are subject to change without notice.
News source and photos courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Story (commentary) © 2018 CarNichiWa.com