Relax, Honda Has Real Off-Road Plans for the TrailSport After All

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Yesterday I ripped Honda a bit for producing a 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport that seems light on actual off-road chops.

Some time afterward, I received press materials about a Passport TrailSport project vehicle that is supposed to actually preview the TrailSport’s future off-road abilities.

As much as I’d like to think that myself and/or TTAC have the influence to cause an automaker to scramble to prove it has bigger plans for a product, it was clear the release was written well in advance of my mewling about the TrailSport being a cynical badging play. That said, Honda, if I really do have that kind of influence, well, I am willing to talk about a product-planning or executive job. Have your people call my people.

Normally we’d probably skip over a one-off project car (unless it was a slow news day or a really interesting project), but Honda claims the Rugged Roads project Passport really does preview what TrailSport may someday offer. So in the spirit of fairness after ripping the TrailSport yesterday, and because we’ve already covered the TrailSport basics, I figured we could take a look at this one.

The custom appearance bits are one thing, but we’re looking at the off-road bits. These include 3 mm thick stainless steel skidplates for the gas tank and oil pan, all-terrain tires, a suspension lift kit (1.5 inches up front, 3/4 an inch in the rear), and front and rear recovery points.

Other functional items that aren’t necessarily off-road-oriented include roof crossbars, 18-inch wheels, fender flares, tow-hitch tire carrier, cargo tray, and unique badging.

This, of course, begs the question — if a Honda enthusiast can build a one-off project car that showcases the off-road goods that the TrailSport should already have, why didn’t Honda just do that to begin with? I guess I can understand that the lifted suspension might have taken more time to bring to market, but was it that hard to bolt on some skid plates and mount all-terrain tires? And a couple of tow hooks?

Well, at least we have an idea of how a TrailSport Passport — or Ridgeline — could look in a year or two.

[Image: Honda]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Slocum Slocum on Sep 27, 2021

    This is basically the Honda version of the 'Outback Wilderness Edition' or the Bronco Sport 'Badlands'. The Honda AWD system is actually pretty capable for a crossover and this does some of the more obvious things for offroad use (smaller wheels with more sidewall, skid plates, mild lift, etc).

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Sep 28, 2021

    On first seeing the picture, I thought it was the Chevy Trailblazer which is another vehicle that needs a dose of testosterone. The current Trailblazer is no better than the Ford Escape. Chevy needs to aspire to the Ford Bronco Sport to gain any creed.

  • El scotto Some rambling thoughts; Elon is pulling billions in cash out of Tesla. Tesla will be around, Elon won't let them fail. Mitsubishi is an odd place, you can't sell vehicles if you don't have dealers. Out of all the "Automalls" near you, how many have a Mitsubishi dealership? The Agnellis owned Fiat, Fiat got sold to Stellantis. The Agnellis control Exor. How much of Stellantis does Exor own? I really should be drinking beer with Billy Ford and talking Big-10 trash with him. Ford and Lucid should work out a partnership. You want an electric Lincoln? Have Lucid build it and slap a Lincoln name plate on it. BTW, kick Farley's butt to the curb.
  • Akear US contentChevrolet Trax - 5%Honda Pilot - 52%What a disgrace!I glad Consumer Reports panned the Trax, and put it on its avoid list.
  • Akear This is similar to what lazy GM and Ford used to do.
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  • Doc423 Said some automakers were slow to adopt the technology of Smartphone Mirroring, too bad they aren't slower adopting the EV technology, rather than cramming it down our throats.