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Honda Passport: All-New for 2019

By Arv Voss, February 23rd, 2019

The Honda Passport is an all-new for 2019, two-row, five-passenger SUV that fits nicely between Honda's compact CR-V and the three-row Pilot SUV. The new Passport delivers a combination of refined on-road driving and off-road adventure capability, along with ideal occupant safety and comfort, and best-in-class interior space for passengers and cargo hauling capacity.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Honda Passport V6-powered SUV provides a unique combination of on-road driving refinement and off-road adventure capability along with best-in-class interior space
Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Honda Passport V6-powered SUV provides a unique combination of on-road driving refinement and off-road adventure capability along with best-in-class interior space

-- OVERVIEW

For 2019, four trims are available with progressive equipment upgrades for each level. The Sport is a well-equipped base model, followed by the EX-L, and the two higher grades -- the Touring and Elite. All trims will feature 20-inch alloy wheels and tires; the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technology.

All models except the line-topping Elite may be configured with front-wheel drive or Honda's available i-VTM4 torque-vectoring, all-wheel-drive system and four-mode Intelligent Traction Management system, which enables the Passport to tackle rough terrain normally reserved for less-refined body-on-frame or off-road focused SUVs. The ITM modes are: Normal, Sand, Snow, and Mud.

-- ROBUST POWER

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Honda Passport V6-powered SUV provides a unique combination of on-road driving refinement and off-road adventure capability along with best-in-class interior space

Propulsion for the 2019 Honda Passport comes from a transversely front-mounted 3.5-liter V-6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, along with 262 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm with auto stop-start. Motive force is geared to the driving wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission with shift-by-wire and paddle shifters.

-- PERFORMANCE

For the national press introduction, we were issued Silver-finished Passports in Elite trim. Some of the automotive press thought the Passport was too similar to the larger Pilot, but despite similarities, the new Passport is more compact, while still managing to deliver a spacious and versatile interior and admirable performance. The base price was $32,000, while the as-tested sticker came to $43,680.

The 3.5-liter V-6 is strong and responsive, and the ride quality is excellent, particularly on-road. Although it's a light truck, it handles with the characteristics of a sedan. The Passport comes with an impressive inventory of safety technology, and its price is both reasonable and affordable considering the content level, making for a good value.

We enjoyed a pleasing balance of both on-road driving along the Colorado River, and off-road driving scenarios, which included snow, mud, and sand in the Arches National Park. We even experienced some modest rock crawling. The Passport delivered satisfying and even surprising results in all venues. It is actually surprising in terms of its off-road capability.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Honda Passport V6-powered SUV provides a unique combination of on-road driving refinement and off-road adventure capability along with best-in-class interior space

-- PURPOSEFUL STYLING

The styling exhibits a ready-for-adventure persona, and is Honda's most rugged light truck ever. The expressive design is highlighted by its higher ride height, standard 20-inch wheels all-weather tires, and sporty cues that include a matte black grille and bumper, blackout headlights, and black wheels. Passport's stance is athletic and sporty, supporting both responsive on-road handling and increased grip off-road. The boldly styled front end stands out on the road with its scratch-resistant matte-finish grille suited to off-road adventures.

-- COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

Passport's interior design is modern and sophisticated, offering ample space for five people and their gear, providing a class-leading passenger volume of 115.9 cu.-ft. and best-in-class total interior volume of 157.1 cu.-ft. The interior also provides class-leading utility. Behind the second row of seats is a generously sized cargo area with 41.2 cu.-ft. of space, expandable to 77.9 cu.-ft. with the second row folded flat.

Passport features class-leading underfloor storage, with 2.5 cu.-ft. of easily accessible compartmented storage, which can be accessorized with removable washable bins, including a custom bin for storing the available accessory trailer hitch receiver.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2019 Honda Passport V6-powered SUV provides a unique combination of on-road driving refinement and off-road adventure capability along with best-in-class interior space

A wide range of Honda accessories are available for active lifestylers, including an Adventure and Urban accessory package, as well as individual standalone options.

Passport has a 3,500-pound towing capacity for front-wheel-drive models and a 5,000-pound capacity for all-wheel-drive models when equipped with the optional towing package. The standard multi-view rearview camera makes connecting to a trailer easy with an "overhead" option that gives the driver a bird's-eye view of the hitch and trailer.

-- FINAL TAKE

In a bottom-line analysis, the 2019 Honda Passport in Elite trim represents an ideal SUV, especially for those who don't want or require third-row seating.

Specifications

Base price $32,000 (as tested: $43,680)
Curb weight 4,237 lbs.
Displacement 3.5-liter
Engine type 24-valve SOHC V-6 w/DI
Epa mileage rating 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 280 at 6000 rpm
Overall length 190.5 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 262 at 4700 rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD SUV
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