By on November 27, 2018

2019 Honda Passport

LOS ANGELES – Chevrolet brought the Blazer name back, and Ford is about to bring back the Bronco. What’s next, a Honda Passport?

That’s not a joke – the company really is resurrecting the Passport moniker. It will be slapped on an all-new five-seat crossover for the 2019 model year.

(Full disclosure: Honda paid for Uber rides for journalists to attend their event in Los Angeles).

Set to slot in between the CR-V and the Pilot in Honda’s utility lineup, the Passport will get V6 power to the tune of 280 horsepower/262 lb-ft of torque and a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive with torque vectoring is available, front-wheel drive is standard. The torque-vectoring system can send up to 70 percent of the torque to the rear axle and up to 100 percent to either rear wheel.

A drive-mode selector that includes Snow, Sand, and Mud modes will be available, and 20-inch wheels are standard. Also standard is Honda’s suite of driver-assist and safety tech, including such features as adaptive cruise control and collision-mitigation braking. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, as well, and so is an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.

2020 Honda Passport

Trims include Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Available features not already listed above include navigation, satellite radio, leather seats, power liftgate, heated rear seats, cooled front seats, heated front seats, and wireless cell-phone charger. Satellite radio and premium audio are also available.

As with other Hondas, the volume knob returns to the radio, but the shifter for the transmission continues to be one of the silly push-button units the company seems so fond of these days.

2020 Honda Passport

My initial take on seeing it in person is that it’s a bit plain-looking yet handsome, and it’s going to sell like crazy. One of the two Passports on hand for assembled media to crawl around in had leather seats, and the interior looked quite upscale. Given the success of the CR-V and the general market shift to crossovers, I think Honda has a winner on its hands — and I haven’t even driven it yet.

Sorry for the pics, folks, but event spaces don’t make for the best backgrounds. Trust me when I say this thing is gonna sell.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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63 Comments on “2019 Honda Passport – Only the Name Is Old...”


  • avatar
    gtem

    I hate the non-traditional gear selector, and the standard 20s are preposterous, but I’m loving the general form factor and the V6. This one’s a winner for sure. I bet it’s surprisingly quick too with that powertrain in a lighter body.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Once you get used to a good push button set up you probably wouldn’t want it any other way. That said this a bad set up because it takes up almost as much real estate as a conventional console mounted shifter which is the entire point of push buttons to me, that you can put them some place besides the middle of the console or hanging off the side of the steering column.

      I love the set up in my MKZ conveniently located, sufficiently differentiated and out of the way the rest of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      They say 20s but they look like 15s with that weird styling.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        I think it’s ridiculous to have one inch of tire between the rim and the ground. Even if this rig never goes off road, pothole season will wreck a rim just as fast. Styling trumping function and adding long term cost of operation…a lousy trend across the industry.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          ” pothole season will wreck a rim just as fast.

          indifan you and I can appreciate this particularly well. I went down to 15s on a fatter sidewall (195/65R15) for my snow setup on the Audi for this exact reason. But even with the fatter rubber, I wonder how the alloy many-balljoint suspension will hold up. I guess I’ll just have to take advantage of the handling and dodge the potholes even better than I normally do.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          I could forgive the style over function thing to a point. But all rim no tire looks AWFUL Theres no advantage whatsoever to huge rims and rubber band sidewalls.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Likewise, I dislike pushbuttons and especially rotary knobs(like the last Chrysler 200 and 2019 Focus). So now with Honda, we have the Pilot, CR-V, HR-V, Passport, and we haven’t gotten into Acura. I hope American Honda knows what they’re doing, but I remain dubious, and the model name Passport for old Honda owners conjures up memories of the rebadged Isuzu Rodeo. Added dubiousness.

  • avatar
    markf

    Nice looking, basically an Odyssey without sliding doors. What is with the goofy push button gear selection? What problem does it solve exactly?

    • 0 avatar
      ScarecrowRepair

      Dash space? Big old shifter gets in the way, especially if all most people do is push D and P and occasionally R.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        In keeping with that, there’s nothing to reach around or bump into when going for a cup or other item being stored in the console, or when going for the lower buttons on the center stack. I do agree with ScoutDude, I find that it’s better when they’ve been removed from the console completely (as in placed on the dash, away from other buttons that dont control vehicle movement).

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        “Dash space? Big old shifter gets in the way, especially if all most people do is push D and P and occasionally R.”

        I would buy your explanation if this saved any space. It doesn’t……

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Really? So these buttons stick up 6 or 7 inches like a shifter does? Wow.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yeah it doesn’t stick up but its footprint is still taking up a lot of the console area, sitting right next to the cup holders isn’t that great of an idea for the long term, in my opinion.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Needless snark aside John, the buttons still take up space that could otherwise be used to simply make the console smaller, lower to hold a purse or bag, better cupholder placement. I also think buttons mounted down low are silly from the perspective of ergonomics. It is easy to grab a shifter without looking down and put it in the right gear. With this setup, inevitably you will have to look where you are pressing. If the buttons were at least mounted high, you would only have to look slightly down with minimal distraction.

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            “Really? So these buttons stick up 6 or 7 inches like a shifter does? Wow.”

            So what exactly are you planning to store in 6-7 inches of air?

        • 0 avatar
          Cactuar

          markf makes a good point. The Lincoln Navigator makes good use of PRND buttons by putting them on the dash. This frees up the center console. The Passport doesn’t do that, the buttons still use up space on the center console. Useless.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Although it’s on the same platform as the Odyssey, it’s more akin to a shortened Pilot with no third row.

      I find that I like the Murano, this and the Edge more than I do the CUVs placed above and below them (notice I didnt mention Blazer, and that was very-much intentional).

      But, I’m not really much for on-road biased utilities, anyway. I see why people like them, and I can agree that they work well for many. I personally prefer more off-road ability, but then I also dont live in the city nor the snowbelt, and I dont have children.

      • 0 avatar
        open country

        FWIW, I recently drove a new Accord with the 2.0/10AT (push-button selector), and after about 4-5 times of using it, it was second nature. The buttons are angled and shaped differently so your hand memorizes them. Reverse is a logical “pull back” action, and Drive is on a separate slope than Park. In a parking scenario, you can rest your hand on the area and shift quickly and intuitively. I am squarely in the “function over form” camp, but this issue isn’t a gripe for me after actually using it. I liked it much more than the Ram truck “dial” selector I have used previously.

  • avatar
    ttiguy

    This is so embarrassing ugly. What are people thinking when they buy this garbage? I just don’t get it, it looks like a 6 year old Subaru. Massive failure on Honda’s part.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Another smartphone on 20 inch wheels. How innovative.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Wow, I kind of like it and the power from the V6 engine sounds interesting

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Another puke inducing instrumentation and gear switch from Honda. This thing has no way to my driveway

  • avatar
    33873

    Looks like a toaster oven on wheels to me

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Just saw reveal of new Mazda3…. what can I say to Honda? Honda! you make trash!

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Ooof, those pics aint helping it any.

    And Uber rides? Pffft, sellouts.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Here’s my fearless prediction: a test between this and the new blazer will tell us why Honda is adding models and GM is cancelling them.

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      I’m curious to see that comparison also.

      To me, the blazer puts this thing to shame, design-wise. Yeah they are both just mall/mommy/daddy vehicles but this is so ugly. The only way I see this coming out on top is if GM screwed up the packaging on the Blazer horribly bad and Honda aced it. Entirely possible but considering the Blazer is just a reskin of the XT5 and Acadia, I tend to think it’ll be better than good enough to beat this turd

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      dean

      I would agree but.
      GM / chevy has so many more dealers than honda and more financial resources to pick sales winners in the cars they sell.

      They could pu$h the Blazer.

      Also, honda holds premium pricing more than GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott

      But the Blazer is and added model, yes GM, Ford and FCA are discontinuing slow selling models (and apprentlt Toyota soon as well), but they are adding crossovers to their lineups too, is the Honda better, maybe, but the Blazer like the passport is an added model.

  • avatar
    cook_diesel

    To me it looks like a shrunken version of the Honda Pilot. They could’ve gotten away with calling it the Pilot Sport or Pilotette FWIW. I guess I was hoping for something a little more differentiated and inspiring. #lame

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My sentiments exactly. But I guess it’s not much different than the Suburban and Tahoe, which wear different nameplates, but are fundamentally the same vehicle in two different wheelbases and cargo lengths. And the Suburban *did* spawn the shorter Tahoe, not the other way around.

  • avatar
    RSF

    Nice to see it has a V6 and not some overworked 4 cylinder. I think the styling is just ok. Not too weird like the civic or ugly like the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’m sure they tried really hard to figure out how to justify the 2.0T in there, but given the Pilot platform, the V6 is already there. I likewise think it’s fantastic to see it in this application.

      • 0 avatar
        EAF

        VCM Muzzler II? Yay or nay?

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’ve only recently gotten somewhat educated on the Honda VCM issues as I was researching well worn 2nd gen Odysseys. On the one hand I’d like to believe that Honda has gotten a better hold on the oil consumption and motor mount issues that result from running in 3 cyl mode. On the other ahnd, I personally would rather not deal with any of that shutoff stuff to begin with, so the VCM muzzler makes sense, although you risk voiding your warranty if you run it and the dealer catches wind of any sort of modification like that.

          I got a reported 29mpg running 75+ mph in a rental Pacifica with the excellent Pentastar running on all 6 cylinders, that is plenty efficient enough for me.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I’d be more worried now about getting a new Honda with VCM than when the technology was new. Back then, Honda was still worried about their reputation. Now, they know that chasing CAFE will always mean pushing undeveloped vehicles over the curb. All reringing repairs were good-will repairs; in the sense that the problem doesn’t show up until about 80,000 miles. How long do you worry about good will when you realize you’re never going to sell another quality product? Ask a VW dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I think that the VCM shutoff things usually come in the form of a gizmo that plugs into the OBD II port. When pulling into the dealer, pull the gadget out of the port and stick it in your pocket, and nobody’s the wiser!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      you’re right. It looks like fine SUV until you try shifting gear or look at RPMs. And it will most likely, in Honda-fashion, give less features per dollar

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I would have hoped Honda could be a bit more creative than to make what literally appears to be a sawn-off Pilot. Most people thought the car was going to be an Americanized version of the Avancier.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Gas is cheap and the V6 under the hood probably leaves room for a future hybrid or 2.0T, which is also another round of press coverage.

    In terms of styling – simple and plain sells more.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Was thinking this would make an alternative to another Accord next year, as this still has a real motor instead of the tiny turbo nonsense!

      But then they don’t update anything else in the architecture, so no stop-‘n-go ACC, and most importantly, it’s still stuck with that POS ZF 9-speed disaster for a transmission! (Apparently, despite the 10-speed Honda slusher being available in the Odyssey, they can’t mix that with AWD and the V6! My guess, anyway!) Not to mention that when this thing is updated, the next-generation Pilot will have been out for a year! So this is old technology!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The front end is ugly, as are the shiny black alloy wheels (I’m completely over that styling fad). And 20s standard? Seriously? The cost of tires for these is going to be ridiculous, unless you buy cheap Chinese tires.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Oh good lord that is one stubby ugly mommymobile. It’s literally a truncated Pilot.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    This is what Honda should have made instead of the woebegone (Accord) Crosstour.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    That sideview looks very much like a Forester. Then again in this segment that is probably just fine with most intenders.

  • avatar
    Prado

    It will be intersting to see how this sells. Will people buy into the marketing perception of a rugged outdoorsy vehicle, or will the reality of this just being a slightly shorter Pilot mommymobile without the 3rd row prevail. Probably somewhere in the middle. I’m the target demo, but this isn’t cutting it for me, despite the appeal of the powertrain. If I were to go faux rugged, I’d go with the RAV4 Adventure.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I like this… mainly because of the 3.5L V6… the styling is a bit overwrought for me… too much black trim & black wheels (SOOOOOO over that trend) I’d probably take this over a Forrester, mainly to avoid the CVT.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Wait isn’t this the CR-V? Oh silly me we make the same exact thing four times, change a teency bit, and tell you its different.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I like this A LOT more than the CRV, for the powertrain alone (although I’m a bit leery of the 9 speed). I actually like the “stodgy” upright Subaru-like shape with that big greenhouse. I’d make it a point to hunt down some smaller diameter rims off a base trim Pilot or something before I ever left the dealership however.

  • avatar
    wdburt1

    I have been waiting for years (since 2008, to be specific) for Honda to return to the 8-and-4 spokes in the steering wheel. I want to drive with one hand locked around one of those spokes. I feel weird trying to drive with one hand on a centered spoke, and refuse to keep my arms in the air (inviting carpal tunnel) at 10-and-2 like the nannies insist. My arms are attached to the side of my body, not the center. Trying to drive with one hand in your lap looks like–well, you know what.

    So I am driving a 2007 Honda Accord EX-L V6 approaching 40,000 miles and a higher-mileage 2006 CR-V, to deal with western New York’s winters. Love e’m both, but maybe there’s hope for a new Honda after all.


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