Ace of Base: 2019 Honda Passport Sport
Yeah, I know. It’s a crossover. Most of the B&B would prefer I write about some hawt hatch or a 1993 Ford Ranger but the reality is this: more consumers than ever before are signing a note on vehicles such as this Passport, making them worthy of our attention. Hey, at least this one doesn’t have a CVT.
Designed as a foil to the likes of the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano, the two-row Honda Passport not only revives a name but jumps onto a very profitable bandwagon. With the same powertrain throughout the entire range, is the base model your best bet?
Starting at $31,990, the entry-level Passport is powered by a 280 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine that sends power to the front wheels only via a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is a $1,900 option. We’ll leave it to your good judgement if AWD is necessary in your part of the country, but suffice it to say your author weathered several Canadian winters in a front-drive Edge with good winter tires, suffering not a moment’s worth of traction-related calamity.
The nanny set of Honda Sensing safety technologies is standard on the base Passport, a suite of kit that combines lane keeping, adaptive cruise, and collision mitigation braking (otherwise known as “brakes”). A remote starter is on board for those cold mornings. If you do forget to fire up the Passport before heading out the door, drivers will just have to thumb a starter button instead of digging for keys.
Interior design will look very familiar to anyone who’s been in a Honda recently, which is not a bad thing. I must be the only person in auto journalism, by the way, who doesn’t mind the company’s push button gear selector for the nine-speed auto. A nifty false floor in its rear cargo area keeps valuable away from prying eyes. This is likely the only instance in the history of automobiles that the base infotainment system is preferable, thanks to its easy-to-grab buttons.
LED lighting peppers the exterior, at least from a daytime running light and fog lamp point of view. Those are dual exhaust “finishers,” by the way, and the wheels measure twenty inches in diameter. Be sure to budget for tire replacement if you spring for a Passport, even this base model. In keeping with the gotta-have-an-off-road-look design language of this segment, the Passport deploys a black fascia and wheel arches to give the impression that your family is gearing up for a day at Moab.
All eight colors are gratis, including the tasteful Deep Scarlet shown above and a weirdo green. To make amends for slagging on the color brown last week, I will say that the Black Copper hue looks good on this car. Lighter shades like Lunar Silver and Modern Steel contrast too much with the black trim.
So, yeah, it’s another crossover. But people buy ‘em and, on occasion, we do like to provide some real world advice around here. Given the financial walk up the Passport food chain, sticking with the base model is a wise idea. It has all the power and safety features of its more expensive brethren at a significantly lower sticker price.
I just wish the word “sport” didn’t appear twice in its name.
Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.
Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.
More by Matthew Guy
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Theflyersfan Some of my extended family have lived in Orange County/Anaheim area since WW2 ended. They were in Anaheim before Disney and when there were actually orange groves. When I lived out there, I battled up from Ventura County down there a few times a month for dinner and ballgames and it was always interesting to hear from the older members about what things were like out there before it all really blew up. And how starting in the 1950s, they could no longer see the mountains anywhere and the sky was frequently this sick brownish haze. And then starting in the late 1990s, when things really started to clean up, they said there were now more days when they could see the mountains again compared to not, and it was really only the Santa Ana winds that brought in the gunk from the Inland Empire into the basin. There's still a long way to go - during the pandemic, it was wild seeing videos of how clean the air got when so many people were working from home, but it shows that even with all of the heavy industry there, it can be done. I know everyone is all over the map when it comes to climate change and causes or if it's happening, but regardless of views on that, I think we can all agree that burning less gasoline and diesel helps everyone breathe a bit easier when we don't have as many smog alert days.
- Fred It's always someone else's fault. Now where is my bonus?
- Canam23 I moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and half the time the air was unbreathable. It is 100% better now thanks to the work of the AQMD. If you remember, when the first pollution controls were mandated in the 70's, Detroit said it was impossible to meet them. The Japanese just started working on the problem and just did it. All the tougher laws to mandate air pollution have resulted in not just cleaner air for our children, but also much more efficient engines in our vehicles. So Stellantis, I'm not buying it.
- Theflyersfan Nope. Has nothing to do with Gladiator sales falling off of a cliff and having 5-figure discounts. Or...YTD 2023 compared to last year:Compass +7%Wrangler -14%Gladiator -31%Cherokee -25%Grand Cherokee +6%Renegade -35%Wagoneer -31%Grand Wagoneer: -14%End of 3Q 2023: 490,106 Jeeps soldEnd of 3Q 2022: 541,297 Jeeps sold490K is still a decent number of expensive SUVs sold, especially Grand Cherokees, but it's still a decline. And people want the 4xe models, so that could reverse the trend if they crank more of them out. But let's blame the government for everything. It'll lead a news cycle on any red hat network.
- VoGhost California is the reason Dodge and Chrysler were starved of new models for the past decade. OK...