2019 Honda Passport Elite new car reviews

This is not your father’s Passport. For starters, this Passport—revived for the 2019 model year—is, like most other SUVs, unibody. And while we don’t feel this detracts from the new Passport in any way, the big takeaway here is that the new Passport isn’t a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo.

It’s a curious name to bring back given its origins, but we’re betting that Honda wants to cash in on whatever remains of the original’s ‘rugged’ capabilities, à la Chevrolet reviving the Blazer moniker.

From Honda: “The all-new 2019 Honda Passport is designed for adventure-seekers who want the superior off-road capability of Honda's available i-VTM4™ torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, the power and towing capability of its 3.5-liter i-VTEC® V6, and the more personal and rugged character of a five-passenger SUV. Within the Honda SUV lineup, in size and price, it slots between the refined and compact-size CR-V and the larger, three-row family-focused Pilot.”

The Passport will come in many flavors: The base Sport, which starts at $31,990, the EX-L, Touring, and top-of-the-line Elite. AWD is available on the first three, but standard on the Elite, which has a base price of $43,680. Our Passport Elite clocked in at $44,725.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

First impressions: Hey, this thing has some exhaust note. I can see some people complaining with others wishing that the Raptor sounded this good.

The Passport is kind of the right size and shape for most people. It looks good, too, and has plenty of pep for around town.

I’m usually a fan of the S transmission mode. Here, at least around town, it made things feel a bit jerky. Just put it in D and enjoy it.

Comfy seats. Thanks, Honda, for bringing back the volume knob.

Need a modern hauler for yourself or smaller family? This could be the one. It’s your textbook Honda.

My one big thing about this one? The shifter. Please, Honda, can we get a traditional lever? I get it, buttons are cool. I have them on my shirt. (See what I did there?)

But, unless we’re talking about vintage Mopars, they’re not really perfect for selecting a gear. Let’s see, the button for parking and driving press downward, yet the one for backing up has this reverse-angle thing to it.

The Ridgeline gets a traditional shifter. Can we extend that to others in the fleet? Please?

I’m sure it’s one of those things that you’ll totally get used to. Still, it bugs me.

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

Honda’s new Passport is a five-passenger SUV that is squeezed in between the Pilot and the CR-V. With a potential towing capacity (depending on equipment) of 5000 pounds, this vehicle will tow any small to midsize car on an open trailer and serves our market well.

Like the other vehicles in Honda’s fantastic SUV lineup, the Passport rides and drives really nicely. Fuel efficiency isn’t bad either with 23.5 mpg doable while cruising at 80 mph.

Again, this vehicle looks and feels just like a Ridgeline without the pickup bed and in bed trunk. Inside, the only meaningful differences we could detect are the return to an easy to use radio volume knob and the switch to a horribly awkward push-button shifting system.

While I love this vehicle and the backseat area is a bit bigger than my Ridgeline, if I were going to give up my pickup bed, I would at least opt for the slightly larger Pilot which gives me seven-passenger seating for the about the same fuel mileage.

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Comments
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Kreb
Kreb UberDork
6/20/19 11:55 a.m.

Sadly that's a lot of  money, but I'm a big fan. I've even heard of these doing well in Rallycross. 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/20/19 12:44 p.m.

Based on the name, I thought this was going to be a review of a moped or scooter.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
6/20/19 3:40 p.m.

In reply to T.J. :

Maybe it's because I work with someone with a strong hankering for Isuzus, but that thought never crossed my mind. Now that you mention it, though...

Woody
Woody MegaDork
6/20/19 4:48 p.m.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise HalfDork
6/20/19 4:51 p.m.

As a long time Honda owner, I test drove this, before narrowing down to 4runner vs FJ vs GX. 

my b17 GSR or my 91 4WD Honda Wagovan had soul. To me the Passport didnt have that “pizzaz that I was searching for. 

 

Went with a 10,000 mile, FJ. Very happpy with it

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
6/20/19 5:07 p.m.
Kreb said:

Sadly that's a lot of  money, but I'm a big fan. I've even heard of these doing well in Rallycross. 

I'd imagine they'd be terrible in rallycross just due to size. They are definitely not small. 

However, in stage rally, the Honda R&D Team Passport that ran at Ohio Forest Rally, almost totally stock (except revalved dampers and a 1" spring lift) finished in the top-10 (with a very good driver). It even still had the A/C and infotainment installed :)

Image result for honda rally passport ohio forest rally

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
6/21/19 11:41 a.m.

I, too, came for new scooter/moped content. I leave, disappointed.

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