The Nineties Return As Honda Revives 'Passport' Name: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the nineties return as honda revives 8216 passport name report

The name of a long-defunct Honda-badged vehicle that was based on an Isuzu and built at a joint Isuzu-Subaru assembly plant will grace a new crossover, a report claims. Yes, it’s looking like Honda applied for a new Passport.

According to Automotive News, sources with knowledge of Honda’s product plans say the Nineties are indeed poised to return. The name will allegedly grace the brand’s upcoming two-row midsize crossover, slated to fill the space between the wildly popular CR-V and the range-topping Pilot.

One of the sources, citing dealer knowledge, claims Honda will show the vehicle to its dealer network in November ahead of a public debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Passport’s on-sale date will arrive in early 2019.

Honda first offered the Passport in the U.S. market for the 1994 model year. The model, based on the Isuzu Rodeo, resulted from a vehicle-sharing deal struck between the two companies. Without any utility vehicles of its own, the Passport gave Honda a challenger to the likes of the Ford Explorer as the “family SUV” craze grew in popularity in Clinton-era America.

A second-generation Passport arrived for the 1998 model year. The model disappeared after 2002, not just because of GM’s increased control over the Isuzu brand, but because Honda had found its SUV sea legs.

In fielding a sub-Pilot-sized crossover, Honda adds a means to potentially poach buyers from the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Nissan Murano, and Ford Edge camps. And why shouldn’t it expect to? The Honda badge finds itself on several segment leaders. Even the brand’s littlest crossover, the HR-V, easily outsells other rivals in the subcompact segment.

Credit for the new model goes to Honda dealers, who apparently pressed HQ to come up with something more substantial than a CR-V. We came across a design patent granted last November that seems to show the next Passport. Built on the larger Pilot’s platform, the model looks like a cross between the defunct Honda Crosstour and the Ford Edge, and could find itself positioned as a near-premium vehicle.

If so, expect heaps of convenience and safety tech to go with the roomier two-row body. Without a doubt, there’ll be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder found somewhere in the engine lineup. (That’s just too easy a bet these days.)

[Images: Murilee Martin/TTAC, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ]

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  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
  • Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged