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Review of the 2022 Honda Passport: Strong Design with Enhanced Off-Road Capability

Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

The 2022 Honda Passport is a mid-size crossover, related to the three-row Pilot, featuring a more rugged appearance that suggests greater off-road performance due to its raised suspension and improved approach/departure angles. It competes with various mid-size two-row crossovers, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Subaru Outback, and Toyota 4Runner. The new 2022 Passport introduces a TrailSport trim with a tougher look but no actual off-road enhancements. While the TrailSport trim enhances the rugged appearance of the Passport, it does not provide any off-road capabilities as of now; all modifications are purely cosmetic.

For the 2022 model year, the Passport receives a minor update that adjusts the front styling to give it a more truck-like appearance. The front-end redesign includes a new hood and square grille, resembling the Ridgeline more than the Pilot. Additionally, there’s an updated rear bumper to accommodate larger exhaust tips. The wheels have also been redesigned, with options up to 20 inches. An optional Honda Performance Development (HPD) package is now available, featuring a new grille, black fender flares, wheels, and HPD graphics.

The new TrailSport trim exudes a rugged vibe with its distinct front and rear bumpers, grille, 18-inch pewter wheels, and prominent badging inside and outside the cabin. Although there are no notable upgrades to the tires, suspension, or powertrain, the TrailSport includes a slightly wider track front and rear. Future TrailSport models may introduce performance enhancements, as per Honda.

While the Passport possesses some off-road capabilities, its strengths lie in on-road performance. With increased ground clearance and shortened overhangs compared to the Pilot, the Passport excels in trail-oriented driving. However, more intense off-road challenges are better suited for vehicles like the Wrangler and Bronco. The EX-L offers optional AWD, whereas the TrailSport and Elite trims come standard with AWD.

Equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission shared with several other Honda models, the Passport delivers 280 horsepower, providing ample power for everyday driving. Nevertheless, the 9-speed automatic transmission can occasionally feel delayed in downshifting. Despite its off-road aesthetics, the Passport is most at home on highways, boasting a quiet cabin and a smooth ride, making long-distance travel effortless. While capable on moderately challenging terrain like Moab’s red rocks, the Passport truly shines on regular paved roads.

Featuring different off-road driving modes like Sand, Snow, and Mud, which alter the powertrain behavior and traction control settings, the Passport offers 8.1 inches of ground clearance for AWD variants. However, the absence of a transfer case or lockable axles limits its crawling capabilities. Towing capacity ranges from 3,500 lbs (FWD) to 5,000 lbs (AWD).

On the downside, the Passport’s fuel efficiency leaves much to be desired. FWD models achieve the best EPA ratings at 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. AWD models only slightly decrease these figures to 19/24/21 mpg. Introducing a hybrid version, similar to what Toyota offers with the Venza, could address these efficiency concerns.

Excellent safety scores, bolstered by a robust set of standard safety features, contribute to the Passport’s above-average safety ratings. The NHTSA awarded it a full five-star overall rating, though it received four stars for frontal crash impact performance. The IIHS provided a “Good” rating for most crash tests, except for the small overlap front test, where it earned an “Acceptable” grade. Standard safety features include automatic forward emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind spot monitors. However, a surround-view camera system is notably missing.

The interior of the Passport closely resembles that of the Pilot, featuring a practical layout with a spacious, open feel and a generous center console. While the predominantly dark interior trim could use some variation, the introduction of an 8.0-inch touchscreen as standard for 2022 is a welcome addition.

By forgoing a third-row seat in favor of a roomy rear cargo area, the Passport accommodates five adults comfortably with well-designed rear seats. With 39.6 inches of rear legroom, the rear bench offers ample support, allowing three adults to sit in the back without feeling cramped. The cargo space behind the rear seats measures 41.2 cubic feet, expanding to 77.7 cubic feet when folded down. Additionally, a large hidden storage bin under the floor provides a convenient space for storing wet or dirty items.

For the 2022 model year, the Passport discontinues the Sport and Touring trims, making the EX-L the new base model. The price has increased in this update, with the entry-level cost now set at $39,095 compared to less than $34,000 for the Sport trim a year earlier. While the EX-L offers a range of additional features at a higher price, including leather upholstery, a power liftgate, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen, it notably lacks standard AWD, which is a $2,100 option.

The TrailSport trim, priced at nearly $47,000 for the Elite model, incorporates premium features such as cooled front seats, heated rear seats, automatic wipers, a hands-free power tailgate, and an upgraded sound system. All Honda models come with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, without included maintenance.

The 2022 Honda Passport stands out as a compelling two-row crossover with a rugged aesthetic appeal. Offering impressive driving dynamics within its class, the Passport provides space for four occupants, their belongings, and access to various remote outdoor destinations. With exceptional safety features, solid value, and a reputation for reliability, the Passport offers a unique blend of qualities that set it apart from its competitors.


Image Source: Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

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