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Review of the 2022 Honda Passport: Strong Design With Enhanced Off-Roading Capability

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

The 2022 Honda Passport, a mid-sized two-row alternative to the three-row Pilot, boasts a more rugged appearance that suggests its superior off-road performance due to an elevated suspension and improved approach/departure angles. Competing with various two-row mid-size crossovers such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Subaru Outback, and Toyota 4Runner, the 2022 Passport introduces a fresh TrailSport trim. While this trim level enhances the Passport’s rugged look, it does not provide any off-road enhancements, as all modifications are purely cosmetic for now.

For the 2022 model year, the Passport receives a minor update that alters its front design to a more truck-like appearance. Re-styled from the A-pillar forward, it features a new hood and a squared-off grille that resembles the Ridgeline more than the Pilot. Additionally, a redesigned rear bumper accommodates larger exhaust tips (with no change in sound). The wheel designs are revamped, culminating in 20-inch options. Furthermore, an optional Honda Performance Development (HPD) styling package offers new grille, black fender flares, wheels, and HPD graphics.

The new TrailSport trim exudes an even more rugged look. With a fiercer grille and shortened rear end, the 2022 Passport notably differs from the elongated, tapered three-row Pilot. While handsomely rugged, it lacks groundbreaking features. Measuring around 190 inches in length, the Passport appears large for its category. Honda uses styling elements to create the illusion of it being shorter and distinct from the Pilot. Sporting an unpainted chin at the front resembling a short beard growth, the Passport retains undeniable resemblance to the Pilot from the side while carving its unique silhouette with a bold slash connecting the roof and fenders at the rear.

Exclusive to the TrailSport are distinct front and rear bumpers, grille, 18-inch pewter wheels, and prominent badging both inside and outside the cabin. Notably, there are no significant upgrades in terms of tires, suspension, or powertrain. The only performance enhancement lies in a slightly wider track of 0.3 inches at the front and rear. While somewhat disappointing, Honda reassures that such enhancements will be available in future TrailSport models.

Though the Passport possesses off-road capability, its standout traits shine on paved surfaces. Positioned as Honda’s most off-road-oriented vehicle, surpassing the Pilot due to increased ground clearance and diminished overhangs, the Passport is suitable for trail endeavors, albeit challenging terrains are best left to models like the Wrangler and Bronco. While AWD is optional on the EX-L, it comes standard on the TrailSport and Elite trims.

Sharing its 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission with several Honda models, the Passport generates 280 hp, providing ample power for daily driving. However, the 9-speed automatic transmission may occasionally lag with delayed downshifts. Despite its off-road aesthetics, the Passport excels on highways where its serene cabin and smooth ride facilitate effortless long-distance journeys. While it can navigate Moab’s rugged terrain with minimal hassle, the Passport is more at ease traveling to trailheads than maneuvering through trails themselves.

Equipped with various off-road driving modes like Sand, Snow, and Mud, altering powertrain behavior and traction control settings, the Passport offers 8.1 inches of ground clearance (in AWD models). Nevertheless, due to the absence of a transfer case or lockable axles, intricate off-road maneuvers are limited. Towing capacity reaches a maximum of 3,500 lbs with FWD and 5,000 lbs with AWD.

The Passport’s fuel efficiency leaves room for improvement. FWD models achieve optimal EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. AWD variants marginally lower these figures to 19/24/21 mpg. An introduction of a hybrid Passport could alleviate these concerns, similar to the approach taken by Toyota with the Venza.

The Passport garners favorable crash scores, accompanied by a robust set of standard safety features. Acquiring solid safety ratings from accredited organizations and equipped with essential safety elements, the Passport boasts above-average safety credentials. It secured a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, although it received four stars for frontal crash impact performance. The IIHS awarded it a “Good” rating for most crash tests, except for the small overlap front test where it obtained an “Acceptable” rating. Every Passport comes with automatic forward emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. The only notable absence is a surround-view camera system.

Visually reminiscent of the Pilot, the Passport’s interior remains largely unchanged. Offering a well-organized workspace with a spacious, open feel and a broad, deep center console, the interior incorporates substantial dark and black trims, potentially requiring a touch of diversity. Notably, an adequately sized 8.0-inch touchscreen now comes standard for 2022.

Omitting the third-row seat in favor of a generous rear cargo area, the Passport accommodates five adults comfortably with commendable rear-seat space. Despite being approximately six inches shorter than the Pilot, the SUV excels in providing ample room for passengers and cargo alike. The front seats boast reasonable comfort levels with a hint of sportiness. Leather upholstery is now standard across all trim levels.

Transitioning to the rear bench, passenger comfort improves significantly, as the bench offers ample support with 39.6 inches of rear legroom – spacious enough for three adults to sit comfortably without feeling cramped. Behind the rear seat, the Passport delivers 41.2 cubic feet of cargo space, expandable to 77.7 cubic feet when the back seats are folded. Furthermore, a convenient large storage bin beneath the floor serves as a handy storage solution for wet or dirty gear, preventing soiling of the carpeted areas.

Among the changes for 2022, is the discontinuation of the Sport and Touring trims, with the EX-L now serving as the new base model. Consequently, the price has seen an increase, now requiring $39,095 to access the most affordable Passport (compared to under $34,000 for a Sport last year). Opting for the EX-L trim incorporates numerous features but comes at an added cost. With the removal of the Sport trim, the base price has spiked significantly, yet the extensive standard equipment serves as a compensatory factor. The Passport earns praise for its abundant standard features list, complemented by a sizable standard touchscreen (8.0 inches). It further includes leather upholstery, a power liftgate, heated front seats, roof rails, and a wireless charger.

Notably, standard AWD is absent in the EX-L, available as a $2,100 add-on. Consequently, the rationale for opting for the new TrailSport model is relatively diminished, unless the cosmetic enhancements and badging particularly appeal to the buyer. At a price nearing $47,000 for the Elite model, additional features include cooled front seats, heated rear seats, automatic wipers, hands-free power tailgate, and an upgraded sound system. All Honda vehicles are backed by a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, excluding any maintenance services.

The 2022 Honda Passport presents an impressive two-row crossover with the option for rugged outdoor aesthetics. Known for its exceptional driving dynamics within its class, the Passport accommodates four individuals, their belongings, and transports them to diverse remote destinations or outdoor escapades. Additionally, the Passport boasts unique attributes such as Honda’s renowned safety standards, good value proposition, and a promising future of reliability.

 

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

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