2019 Honda Passport — Challenging the Midsize Segment

2019 Honda PassportModel tested: 2019 Honda Passport AWD Elite

Engine: 3.5-liter VTEC V6

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Horsepower: 280

Torque: 262 lb.-ft.

EPA ratings: 19/city, 24/highway, 21/combined

Base price: $43,680

As tested: $44,725

Overview: The 2019 Honda Passport is an all-new model based on the larger, three-row Honda Pilot SUV. Frankly, this third-generation Passport is much better than the 1990s rebadged Isuzu-built version. The Passport competes in the same space as the Ford Edge, the new Chevy Blazer — another blast-from-the-past SUV — and numerous others. It’s very competitive in terms of interior space, features and versatility. It offers four trim levels — Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite. Our test driver was the Elite, which this review focuses on.

Walkaround: The Passport is shorter and taller than the Pilot — and not so curiously resembles its luxury-brand sibling, the Acura RDX. Front-wheel drive is standard on the Elite and optional on the other trim levels. The Passport boasts good off-road capability, higher ground clearance, and better approach and departure angles. At 5,000 pounds, the AWD Passport’s towing capacity mirrors most of the segment but requires the Honda towing package.

2019 Honda PassportInterior: The Passport interior is spacious, featuring lots of passenger room and clever storage compartments, and is more comfortable overall than most of this segment. Front seats are wide and plush, and, although we like it, the driver’s seat may be positioned a bit high for some. The adjustable armrests are great, and reclining second-row seats quite comfortable. Because it’s shorter than the Pilot, there’s no third row, dedicating more interior space to second-row passengers. The top-of-the-line Elite is the most desirable trim, with comfortable, heated and ventilated seats; LED interior lighting; and tri-zone climate control. The 8-inch center touchscreen is easy to use, controls the infotainment system, and has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. There are knobs and buttons for other controls as well. Honda’s push-button-style shifter saves space but takes some getting used to.

Behind the Wheel: The Passport gets the same V6 powerplant and much-improved, nine-speed automatic as the Pilot. The V6 accelerates smoothly, doing the 0-60 drill among the quickest in this segment — 6.8 seconds. Braking is average and steering is precise. Although high-riding and heavy, the Passport is pretty sure-footed, handling quick lane changes and corners with ease. Ride quality is among the best in this segment.

Bottom Line: The 2019 Honda Passport offers that great combination of attractive roominess and practicality that SUV buyers demand.