2019 Honda Passport First Drive Review: Honda’s Best Off-Roader?

After a 16-year gap, Honda’s Passport name is back.

The 2019 Honda Passport has an important role to play in the brand’s lineup. It slots between the smaller CR-V and larger Pilot, filling a gap in the lineup for a larger, five-passenger crossover. It competes against the likes of the Ford Edge, Chevy Blazer, Nissan Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Alongside its Pilot sibling, however, the 2019 Honda Passport takes on a unique role. It’s meant to be smaller and more manageable than a Pilot, while retaining its comfort and user-friendliness. Honda also positioned the Passport to be a more capable off-roader with more ground clearance. So, have they succeeded?

2019 Honda Passport

In this TFLcar video, Honda brought us out to Moab, Utah at their expense to put the 2019 Honda Passport through its paces. Moab is an area you’d normally associate with Jeeps and more serious off-roaders. By launching the Passport here, Honda contends this is a more rugged offering than the rest of its crossover lineup. On the exterior, the rear and side profiles largely echo that of the Pilot, only smaller. Up front, however, the unique black grille sets the 2019 Honda Passport apart from its larger sibling.

Honda based their latest crossover on the same Global Light Truck platform as the Pilot and the Ridgeline. The new Passport has the same 111.0 inch wheelbase as the Pilot, but is 6.2 inches shorter in overall length. It also has more ground clearance than the Pilot. While the chopping that length off the back and giving it a lift improves the Passport’s departure angle, it doesn’t detract from passenger space in the cabin. Cargo capacity is still there as well, with up to 100.8 cubic feet of room with the seats folded.

2019 Honda Passport

Performance and Technology

Under the hood, the 2019 Honda Passport uses the same 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 as the pilot. That means 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent to the front wheels on base models. All-wheel drive is also an option on all trims but the Elite, which is all-wheel drive only.

2019 Honda Passport

The Honda Sensing suite comes standard across the range, with features like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and Honda LaneWatch, which uses a camera under the passenger-side mirror to monitor the car’s blind spot when changing lanes. On top of that, the 2019 Honda Passport has an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability (Sport models get a 7.0-inch unit).

2019 Honda Passport


Honda is bringing the Passport back with a base price of $31,990 (excluding the $1,045 destination charge). That is more expensive than the Pilot, which starts at $31,450. However, unlike the Pilot, the 2019 Honda Passport bypasses the low-end LX trim. Here, you start with the Sport model, which already comes loaded with a fair amount of equipment. From there, you climb through the EX-L, Touring and Elite trims.

The EX-L starts off at $36,410 and adds an acoustic windshield, power moonroof and heated side mirrors. You also get LED turn signals, 20-inch wheels and a power liftgate, as well as power-adjustable seats.

Luxury-minded buyers may opt for the Touring, which starts at $39,280. Stepping up to that trim level adds navigation, a 115-volt power outlet, and a 10-speaker premium audio system, among other niceties.

Finally, the Elite is at the top of the range, starting at $43,680. This trim options adds rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming side mirrors, wireless phone charging and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.

All 2019 Honda Passport models go on sale next week (February 4th). Front-wheel drive models all get 20 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined mpg. All-wheel drive versions, on the other hand, manage 19 City / 24 Highway / 21 Combined mpg, according to EPA ratings.