- Spacious interior
- Strong V-6 engine
- SUV looks, personality
- Light on SUV capability, if that matters
- Not our favorite transmission
- Dumpy infotainment on Sport trim
The 2019 Honda Passport takes aim at the strong five-seat crossover SUV market at just the right time.
The 2019 Honda Passport is a crossover SUV that renewed its long-expired government documents when it bowed at the 2018 LA auto show in November. Set to go on sale in early 2019, the new Passport is a shortened version of the automaker's three-row Pilot. While the Pilot seats up to eight, the Passport's two rows have seatbelts for five passengers.
That puts the 2019 Passport between the compact CR-V and the bigger Pilot in Honda's lineup. At about 190 inches from bumper to bumper, the Passport is similar in size to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Edge outside but more much spacious inside. Thanks to clever packaging of its fully independent suspension, the Passport boasts about 41 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second row that balloons to more than 100 cubes with the rear seat folded.
The Passport is six inches shorter than the Pilot, but the two share a 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. In the Passport, a 9-speed automatic transmission is standard and it can send power to either the front or all four wheels. The optional all-wheel-drive system is shared with the Pilot and includes several traction control modes for slippery terrain. Uniquely, all-wheel-drive Passports sit about three-quarters of an inch higher off the ground than front-drive models. With a running ground clearance of 8.4 inches, the Pilot can climb over obstacles that would stop the Ford Edge.
Honda has not announced fuel economy for the 2019 Passport, but the Pilot's 21 to 23 mpg combined ratings provide a good starting point.
Though its styling doesn't move far from Honda's other crossover SUVs, the Pilot has rugged touches such as unpainted exterior trim to set it apart. All versions ride on 20-inch wheels, although higher trim levels include larger tires for better handling and bump suppression.
When it goes on sale in early 2019, the Passport will be available in four trim levels: Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. That's a different strategy than the Pilot, which may suggest that Honda is being more conservative with its new model. All versions come standard with a suite of active safety tech that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and lane-departure warnings. EX-L and higher trims include blind-spot monitors.
Inside, the Passport comes standard with a 7.0-inch TFT screen in its instrument cluster. A 5.0-inch screen mated to Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports handles audio in Sport trims. EX-L and higher trims get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and more USB ports. A wireless charging pad is standard on Passport Elite trims, while one of two premium audio systems is included on Touring and Elite versions.
Passport Sports have cloth upholstery, keyless ignition, remote start, and LED headlights. EX-Ls add heated front seats, a power moonroof, the larger infotainment screen, a power tailgate, and leather trim. Tourings throw in a wi-fi hotspot fed by AT&T, handsfree access for the power tailgate, heated rear seats, and parking sensors. The range-topping Passport Touring includes cooled seats, automatic windshield wipers, and a heated steering wheel plus some exterior trim features painted gloss black.
Honda hasn't yet said how much the 2019 Passport will cost when it goes on sale next year.