Ace of Base: 2019 Honda Passport Sport

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.

[Images: Honda]

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.

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8 of 47 comments
  • Slavuta Slavuta on Apr 03, 2019

    Here how I see Ace of Base - remove all the nannies, remove 20" wheels, put 17". Remove remote start and push button start. Remove automatic 2-zone climate control. This should result in well under $30K price But I would be ok to pay $32K for AOB but instead above put - heated mirrors - CD/MP3 player - navigation-ready entertainment (I could insert separately purchased chip/sd card) - Better upholstery - Lumbar support (mechanical) - Leather steering wheel

  • Carrera Carrera on Apr 03, 2019

    Honda will sell plenty of these. A lot of people go to the dealership with the intention to get into an Accord but then they find out that the driving positions is much lower than previous model and that there's no V6 available. What to do, what to do? We have a Honda Passport for you.

    • See 5 previous
    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Apr 07, 2019

      @sgeffe And to add glue under the tires of the Accords, I damn near lost my dinner after eyeballing the Honda Financial financing offers! They jacked the base rates up 2.5% from a month ago! (Yet the Pilot and everything BUT the Passport has similar APRs from March.) Uhhhhh..let’s remove an incentive on a vehicle that’s already lot poison! If I was a Honda dealer principal, I’d be going Vesuvius on those turkeys! (I’m blessed that I’ll be able to put enough down to obtain what I consider a reasonable payment, but a difference of ~$30/month is still going to suck!)

  • Bryan Raab Davis I briefly dated an Australian fellow who was mad for Aspires; one of his better characteristics, if I’m honest.
  • ToolGuy Check out Ferrari's market cap:
  • ToolGuy • Not sure who you get when you call the "Company phone" number listed on the recall report, but confident that it ISN'T Ferrari (someone either screwed up or made a conscious exception; recall might need a recall; where is my excellence in government that all of you are funding?).• 99% of them are fine.• On later models, additionally, a message will also appear on the vehicle’s dashboard that reads as follows: “Brake fluid level low, Go to dealer slowly”. That right there is classic.• Anyway, this is what happens when you build to a price point... (ba dum tsh!)
  • Art Vandelay And what a giant pile of sh!t ths new format is. Great job guys, way to run off the last of the die hards.
  • Theflyersfan If you ever want a review on a 2022 Mazda MX-5 GT RF, I'll be more than happy to type up a few thousand words and add in some great pictures in front of Churchill Downs for y'all!In a nutshell, I agree with this review. I didn't have a chance to try the Recaro seats because the only test drive available was with another GT that someone backed out in buying so it was being used as a demo. But from what I was told, if you're larger than a 38 waist or taller than 5'10", it gets tight. But with the standard seats, and I'm 5'10" and maybe 20 pounds from the 38 waist, I fit fine. Now getting in and out with the roof up after shoulder surgery (especially leaving the surgery center with most of the right arm under a nerve block) is the total opposite of graceful!!! The look on the nurse's face when the MX-5 pulled up and I'm partially wrapped up like a mummy was priceless.I've had mine since the middle of April and have already put 6,700 miles on it, including round trips from Louisville to Chicago and the Philadelphia suburbs. Averaged 38-39 mpg at a steady 75 mph, and it wasn't a torture chamber. The metal top helped a lot. The standard seats are a bit thin on padding, and there was a bit of squirming by around hour 8 on the Philly drive, but it's possible. But even though this design was released in 2015, I still get compliments from total strangers at stoplights, carwashes, gas stations, restaurants, etc. The Soul Red Metallic paint just makes the car pop. I wish it was available with the Terra Cotta leather (the gray above is available with it), and that it didn't have the standard all in black, because it gets thermonuclear in there with the top down and the sun beating on you, but a minor quibble. But it's just fun. Pure driving fun. The best stick shift in any car today. Solid brakes, excellent handling, a sane amount of power to where you aren't going to get into anything reckless and stupid. After a 12+ hour day at work, there's nothing better than dropping the top and driving the 20 minutes home with the better than I thought it would be Bose stereo playing Moby into my ears through the headrest speakers. Mazda has already announced there will be an NE model so I can't wait for that. It'll be interesting how they will keep the weight down with the expected changes to eke more MPG out of what is already an efficient car.