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2020 Honda Passport

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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection
Best Car to Buy Nominee

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
June 11, 2020

Buying tip

Shopping for a front-drive Passport? Try the CR-V and be double-sure that’s not enough space. The jump up to a Passport is steep from the CR-V, which is more fuel-efficient.

features & specs

EX-L AWD
EX-L FWD
Elite AWD
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
MPG
20 city / 25 hwy
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
MSRP
$38,410
MSRP
$36,410
MSRP
$43,780

When the Pilot’s too big and the CR-V is too small, the 2020 Honda Passport two-row crossover SUV is just the ticket.

If the CR-V is too small and the Pilot is too big, Honda’s punched your ticket with the 2020 Passport. 

For 2020, the Honda Passport doesn’t stray far from the crossover that was new last year. In fact, nothing’s changed. It’s kind of a theme with the Passport—it’s closely related to the Pilot, minus a rear third row and with six inches lopped off the rear end. The Passport is kissing cousins with the Odyssey and Ridgeline pickup, too. 

None of those are bad things, by the way. Even if the Passport feels familiar in just about every way, it’s still a solid two-row crossover that’s comfortable to drive. We give it a 5.8 overall, buoyed by excellent interior space and comfort. The base version drags the Passport down a little, but we recommend the step up anyway. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Review continues below

Like last year, the Passport is offered in Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite trim levels. Base crossovers cost $33,085 and top trims tempt $45,000. Front-wheel drive is standard on the Passport, and all-wheel drive is a $2,000 extra except on the top Elite version, which is all-wheel drive only. 

If you’ve seen a Pilot, you’ve probably seen a Passport: the two-row version just loses a little off the tail and adds some tougher-looking black cladding. 

Under the hood, the Passport’s the same as the Pilot, too. A 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 shuttles through a 9-speed automatic in all models. The 9-speed’s a little confused at times, but aren’t we all? Tall 20-inch wheels hold the road well, and when equipped with all-wheel drive the Passport’s an adequate off-road performer, although it falls short of hardcore status without a low-range gearbox. 

Five adults will easily fit aboard the Passport, with plenty of leg room in the rear seats and about 41 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. 

Crash testers have good things to say about the Passport, which earned a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. Automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control are standard on all crossovers. Blind-spot monitors are equipped on EX-L trims and higher.  

Base versions skimp on a touchscreen for infotainment, and don’t offer heated seats. We’d step up to the Passport EX-L that includes leather upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, heated front seats, a moonroof, blind-spot monitors, roof rails and a power liftgate for about $37,500 with front-wheel drive.

5

2020 Honda Passport

Styling

A little uptown but also anonymous, the 2020 Passport doesn’t stray too far from the path paved before it in the Pilot.

The 2020 Honda Passport doesn’t break any new ground stylistically, and it draws heavily from the Pilot from which it’s based.

There are a small handful of touches that keep it from losing points but it doesn’t venture into any new territory—despite its name. It’s a 5 for style. 

The short of the long? The Passport is a Pilot with about six inches trimmed from its tail. The Passport measures 190 inches from bumper to bumper, which is long for a two-row crossover. Unlike the Pilot, the Passport has an unpainted chin that looks a little tougher compared to the soft Pilot, but we’re not sure it’s well-integrated into the overall look. 

The best angle for the Passport is its side, where its roofline and bodysides kick toward each other (despite the very tall glass) and connect at the rear with a thick slash that missed the Pilot. The roof rack that’s standard on EX-L and higher trims is a good look for the Passport—here’s hoping for chunky all-terrains and a roof-mounted spare from some adventuring Honda owner. 

The big 20-inch wheels that are standard on all Passports fill out the wheel wells, but wouldn’t be our first pick for rocky, off-road terrain. (They’re just begging for big scratches.)

Inside, the Passport doesn’t venture far from the Pilot. The low dashboard and switches open up the SUV to as much available light as it can find, which is good because most of the interior panels are black and dark. A 5.0-inch audio display is standard on base Sport models, but an 8.0-inch touchscreen is equipped on EX-L trims and higher and it’s a better fit for the interior (and the price). 

Review continues below
6

2020 Honda Passport

Performance

The 2020 Passport is a ticket to any trailhead, although it lacks serious off-road hardware.

The Passport’s powertrain traces its roots to the Pilot family crossover, Ridgeline pickup, and Odyssey minivan. What that means for owners is a smooth ride, with an emphasis on a quiet cabin and ease of use for drivers. 

The Passport’s not particularly an off-road warrior, despite its name—blame the 20-inch tires with thin sidewalls. 

Starting from an average score, the Passport gets a point added for a composed ride. It’s a 6. 

All Passports start with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 280 hp and 262 pound-feet of torque that’s shuttled through a 9-speed automatic transmission. That power is routed to the front wheels or all four wheels when optionally equipped for a $2,000 upcharge. All Passports use 20-inch wheels that wouldn’t be our first choice for off-roading, but the SUV is very capable off-road—our initial drive was in Moab, Utah, where it performed admirably. The tall tires don’t jostle the SUV even with thin sidewalls, either. 

Our gripes with the 9-speed start at our fingertips and don’t stop there. Honda uses a pushbutton gear selector that’s closer to BopIt! than the shifters we’re used to. It’s a short learning curve, we admit, but there’s no fixing the 9-speed’s hesitancy on the road to find the right gear. Other Honda vehicles have since dropped that 9-speed, but the Passport endures—at least for this year. 

The Passport has Snow, Sand, Mud, and Normal settings that controls shift behavior, traction control, and throttle for each type of terrain. The Passport doesn’t have a low-range transfer case—hardcore bouldering and mountain climbing isn’t in the Passport’s wheelhouse. (Especially front-wheel drive models, which have a ground clearance lower by 0.6 inches compared to the 8.1 inch ground clearance in all-wheel-drive Passports.)

Front-wheel-drive Passports can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped; all-wheel-drive versions bump that rating up to 5,000 pounds. 

The Passport’s best when it’s not overly taxed, loping from trail to trail on paved road. It drives well for a tall off-roader and EX-L and higher trim levels use quieter materials to isolate road noise. (Touring and Elite go further with acoustic front doors.)

Review continues below
8

2020 Honda Passport

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Passport has plenty of room for cargo and people, but material quality is a step behind others.

The 2020 Honda Passport begs drivers to find friends, then find adventures. 

(No friends? Try bowling leagues. We hear those are good places to start.)

The Passport is based on the Pilot family crossover, which is why we advise corralling a clan. The Passport is six inches shorter than the Pilot, without a third row, but every bit as comfortable. 

Starting from an average score, the Passport gets points above average for a spacious cargo area, good room for five passengers, and a spacious rear seat. It’s an 8. 

The front seats on most Passports are power adjustable and shod in convincing leather. (Only the base Sport models get cloth upholstery and manually adjustable front seats.) 

Driver and front passenger get good outward vision and plenty of head room and leg room. 

Rear passengers get the benefit of the Passport’s shared skeleton with the Pilot. The rear doors open wide and accommodate nearly every body type. Rear seat riders get 39.6 inches of leg room that’s made better by the upright seating position, which means plenty of room for long legs. 

Behind the second row, the Passport holds about 41 cubic feet of cargo. With the rear seats folded that space expands to nearly 78 cubic feet. Hidden storage beneath the floor can hold muddy items or valuables when it’s time to hit the trail, but we just wish the container were easier to remove to clean. 

Inside the Passport, soft-touch materials are reserved for front-seat passengers only; the second row and behind are filled with hard plastics. For the EX-L trim level that we recommend, those interior materials don’t impress compared to the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Edge.  

Review continues below
7

2020 Honda Passport

Safety

Good crash-test scores complement good standard safety features in the 2020 Passport.

Federal and independent testers have good things to say about the 2020 Passport. 

Federal testers gave it a five-star overall rating and the IIHS gave it mostly top "Good" scores on its crash tests. Automatic emergency braking is standard on all models, which makes the 2020 Passport a 7 on our safety scale. 

The IIHS rated the Passport’s automatic emergency braking system as “Superior” and said that it avoided a forward crash at 12 mpg and reduced the SUV’s speed by 12 mph in the 25-mph test. The Passport earned top “Good” scores on every crash test, except the passenger-side small overlap test, where it earned an “Acceptable” rating. The small overlap crash test simulates the Passport hitting an object at 40 mph with 25% of the SUV’s front width.

Federal testers gave it a five-star overall rating, but only four stars for front crash protection and rollover protection. 

In addition to automatic emergency braking, every Passport is equipped with active lane control and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitors, which are very helpful in the big Passport, are standard on EX-L trim levels and higher. 

Review continues below
5

2020 Honda Passport

Features

Base Passports miss some of the good stuff, but one step up has everything we’d ask.

Base versions of the 2020 Passport aren’t well-equipped, but it’s a short throw to the good stuff. 

The Passport gets an average score on our features scale for meager base versions (that still cost more than $30,000), but our recommended trim level does better. It’s a 5 for features.

This year, like last year, the Passport is available in Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite trim levels. Base, front-drive Passport Sports cost $33,085, including destination, and include 20-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, keyless ignition, active safety features (covered above), two USB ports, and a 5.0-inch display for audio with Bluetooth connectivity but no smartphone software. 

We’d skip that version for the Passport EX-L versions that add an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a moonroof, mobile wi-fi hotspot, power liftgate, a quieter cabin, power-adjustable heated front seats, leather upholstery, and roof rails for $37,505, including destination. It’s a considerable jump over the base version, but we’d justify with leather upholstery, a bigger touchscreen, heated seats, a moonroof, and an acoustic windshield. 

All-wheel drive is a $2,000 upcharge on every trim level except Elite, where it’s standard equipment.

About those Elites: they’re a big ask at $44,875, including destination. They’re hardly poorly equipped, though. Passport Elites include a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, cooled front seats, premium audio, a wireless smartphone charger, a household-style power plug, and navigation. They’re nice things, but they don’t feel like luxury vehicles for luxury money. 

Review continues below
4

2020 Honda Passport

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Passport does OK for fuel economy, but there’s room for improvement.

With or without all-wheel drive, the 2020 Passport’s fuel-economy tale is relatively short. 

The EPA rates the 2020 Honda Passport at 20 mpg city, 25 highway, 22 combined. That’s a 4 on our scale. 

Those ratings don’t sink significantly with all-wheel drive. The EPA rates those Passports at 19/24/21 mpg. 

Most competitors do better. The Nissan Murano is rated at 23 mpg combined by the EPA and the Ford Edge is rated up to 24 mpg combined. Only the Toyota 4Runner is significantly worse at 17 mpg combined.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$31,990
MSRP based on Sport FWD
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5.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 7
Features 5
Fuel Economy 4
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