By on January 30, 2018

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.

honda crossover patent, Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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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32 Comments on “The Nineties Return As Honda Revives ‘Passport’ Name: Report...”


  • avatar

    I think it’s not a great plan to use this name.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have to disagree, I like the name. Now if only Honda could build an actual longitudinal mounted SUV, preferable BOF but we all know that’s not happening.

      • 0 avatar

        I just don’t think the Passport name has any particularly positive connotations. It was a decent enough Isuzu but under-par for a Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          The thing is, they’re as unkillable as a real Honda. Lately, on the way to work I’ve seen a nice clean black Passport, driven by a guy that looks like he drives it because he likes it (he looks and dresses like he could afford a new Pilot).

          I saw a slightly rough Rodeo on the way to work this morning, and another one in the parking lot here at work.

          There’s no shame in the Passport name, and most people buying them probably don’t remember the old one (hey, that was almost 20 years ago).

          • 0 avatar
            Tele Vision

            My old friend One-Punch Doug ( O.P.D. ) loooved his Isuzu Rodeo. He traded ‘up’ to a new Civic and then to a WRX wagon – but we’ve still never heard the end of, “Man, remember my Isuzu?”

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Cupples

      I don’t like the name either. I’m guessing this is the UR-V which sells in China which would be a worse name than Passport. Too many urinal/ur-anus/urethra jokes to be made of it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That drawing makes me think “Ford Edge with an H on it. Would anyone notice the difference?”

  • avatar
    IBx1

    My hopes were slightly perked up, but after scrolling down and seeing the sketch of a Ford Edge, I don’t care again.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    They really couldn’t think of anything else, I mean really? The Passport?

  • avatar
    gtem

    Certainly looks better than a Crosstour, and is a logical niche to fill. The Venza/Murano/Edge space. I didn’t used to get why this class existed since on paper a compact crossover eats its lunch in terms of utility+value, but then I actually drove a few rental Edges, they’re really pretty nice driving vehicles that do a bit of everything pretty well, without shining in any way (dynamics or utility).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Lets hope it works out for Honda better than the Venza did for Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Venza was overpriced for the chintzy interior and rough ride that it had. I was in a rental in Vegas, yeesh it was fairly unrefined. But the concept wasn’t a bad on IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Wasn’t Venza basically RX? Only RX was a Lexus, hence sold well

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Venza was on the same basic “K Platform” as the Camry, Highlander, RX, etc. But there are vast differences in terms of sheetmetal and hardpoints between all of them. My parents have an ’09 RX350, it is a wonderfully smooth and quiet and nice place to knock down some miles in. Interior quality in that generation was the last of the classic high quality Toyota/Lexus interiors (same applies to gen 1 Highlander than ran until ’07).

            The Venza has a noticeably cheap interior, hard and hollow plastics. Made all the more noticeable by an overly stiff ride (combination of “sportier” spring rates and oversized wheels).

          • 0 avatar

            The panels on the Venza’s interior were most bothersome to me. They didn’t really line up like they should, even when new.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Wasn’t the name also used on a Honda bike?

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Cupples

      Yes, searching Google I believe that was the model of moped I had as a teen. I had long forgotten that.

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Came here to say this.There is a resurgence in the desirability of the Honda C70 Passport. Honda called the American version of the “Super Cub” the “Passport”, because the “Cub” name was registered to Piper Aircraft in the US.

        Neither a moped nor a scooter, the Cub is an underbone motorcycle. Manual transmission, automatic clutch.

        I gave mine away a few years ago when I moved. Fun bike.

        • 0 avatar
          Rob Cupples

          I see now. Looking around some more I must of had the Express. Mine was only 50cc and twist and go with a max of about 32 mph. Anything more than that wasn’t legal for a 14 yo in my state. That explains why I didn’t remember the white fairing.

  • avatar
    The ultimate family-friendly hybrid vehicle is finally here.

    How about the NR-V? New Reality Vehicle.
    Pretty nervy, that.

    Passport is pretty good, actually. It’s not a vehicular word, but neither is civic, accord, odyssey or clarity, and they all work pretty well.

    Honda has been selling a “N-Box” kei minivan for a few years now. Drawing inspiration from that, the new SUV could be called the “X-Box”, made to be purchased for one’s former wife.

  • avatar
    michaellee

    The patent drawing looks a lot like the Honda Avancier or UR-V which has been sold in China since 2016.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    – Passport

    – Yes!

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    My brother had the Opel Frontera version. He did not keep it very long because things always broke and he got tired of paying to have them fixed.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    Can anyone say Crosstour? The rendering looks like a Crosstour to me, only with a new front facia.

  • avatar
    threeer

    How many incrementally different sized SUVs can the market handle? Yeesh…looks like manufacturers are attempting to provide vehicles that are barely different in size. Isn’t the stepping ladder of HR-V/CR-V/Pilot not enough for Honda?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    We will have to see about that shape, and how big + expensive the new RDX is.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    And don’t forget the (very) short-lived Canadian GM Passport brand. Basically a rebadged Daewoo/Opel Kadett.
    http://cartype.com/pics/7718/full/passport_optima_ad_86.jpg

  • avatar
    KOKing

    I have it on good authority this will be more a shrunken Pilot than a Hondafied 2019 RDX, complete with J motor, not a turbo K.


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