Road Test: 2019 Honda Passport Touring

Road Test: 2019 Honda Passport Touring

Story by David Symons, photos by Honda Canada

This mid-sized cross-over fits nicely between Honda’s CR-V and Pilot offerings while sharing both their Pilot and Ridgeline’s same wheelbase. The Passport is 6 inches shorter than its larger 3 row Pilot sibling, and is really designed for those folks that don’t need to be hauling the entire kids team with them when they head up-country to test the vehicles light Off-Road capability. The exterior has a sturdy almost rugged looking appeal that presents well as the Off-Road AWD offering that Honda has brought to compete in the segment. Higher off the ground clearance with 20 inch wheels enable better Off-Road like capability, with sturdy roof rails enabling whatever kind of extra camping gear you’d like to bring with. All that said, the vast majority of people driving this vehicle may never venture too far off the beaten path with it, but look like they could – and that’s the point.

The interior while not luxurious is Honda well-appointed and provides a quite quiet environment. The head and leg room in this 2 row, 5 passenger vehicle is ample, with fore and aft seating providing very good comfort. Rear row seats recline (in this top trim), and are heated with rear passengers having two USB ports and climate control at their finger-tips, making those longer treks as comfortable as possible. A new instrument cluster up front works smartly into familiar Honda interior stylings… and boasts an 8 inch head unit with a re-instated volume control turning knob, which as anyone who enjoys listening to music while driving will tell you – is so much preferred. The Passport also boasts over 41 cubic feet of cargo space comprised of all kinds of smartly considered storage bin placement and comes with 60/40 rear folding seats.

It can take a bit of a kick to the peddle to get the 3.5Litre 280 HP V-Tech V6 engine into full gallop, but once fully engaged, it provides excellent thrust while emitting the comforting and familiar engine sound that lets you know that you’re driving a Honda. The newly updated 9 Speed Automatic tranny shifts smoothly through the gears, while the steering feels improved from previous iterations, and is quite firm and accurate on the road. Stiffer independent suspension provides an almost sporty type feel to the handling of the Passport, in spite of its riding higher off the ground. The AWD mode has multiple drive modes (snow, mud and sand) allowing for some light off-road capability, but as previously stated, most Passports, are more likely to end up on asphalt than careening over rocks and mud. Honda has produced a ruggedly handsome contender that should carve out its fair share of adopters in the mid-sized SUV AWD segment. Whether or not they ever get taken Off-Road is beside the point.

Fuel Economy:  12.5L/ 100km (City) and 9.8L 100km (Hwy)

Top Competitors: Ford Edge / Jeep Grand Cherokee/ Nissan Murano