Chicago Auto Show Blog

Passport to Adventure

Posted by: Mark Bilek

At a recent Midwest Automotive Media Association meeting chief engineer for the Passport, Lara Harrington, discussed Honda's newest crossover. The quasi-SUV returns after a 17-year hiatus to fill a hole in the Honda lineup between the compact CR-V and larger Pilot.

Like most automakers, Honda has seen significant sales growth in the crossover and SUV segments over the past years. Last year, Honda sold 624,062 crossovers and the new Passport is expected to grow that number substantially.

Though technically a midsize, the new Passport seats just five. Harrington said that in designing the Passport, Honda looked at the segment and found some competitors like the Nissan Murano leaned heavily toward carlike driving manners and others like the Toyota 4Runner added off-road capabilities. With the Passport, Honda tried to get the best of both worlds: Cool urban vibe, but able to go on an off-road weekend adventure.

Six inches shorter than Pilot but riding the same wheelbase, the Passport has a roomy interior (#1 interior space claims Honda) and better approach and departure angles for off-road capability. In addition, there is an additional 1-inch of ground clearance when compared to the Pilot.

Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 280 HP. That engine mates to a new 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are offered. While the original Passport has a 2-speed 4WD system, the new Passport's AWD system does not have a low range, but does have active torque vectoring and normal, snow, sand and mud modes. Towing capacity is 5000 pounds.

The model lineup includes Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite. Standard on all models is pushbutton start, sliding second-row seats, Android Auto, Apple Car Play and Honda's suite of safety features called Honda Sense. Also offered are heated and ventilated seats, wireless phone charger, 570-watt audio system, hand-free tailgate, and rear seat drop down buttons.

Prices start at $31,900 for the Sport and climb to $43,600 on the Elite. As is standard practice with Honda, there are no factory options. However, there is a dealer installed Adventure Package that includes trailer hitch, running boards, roof cross bars, fender flairs and cargo tray. The Passport is available right now at Honda dealerships across Chicagoland.

Search to find a Passport.






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