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

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
relax honda has real off road plans for the trailsport after all

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]

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2 of 29 comments
  • 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.

  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
  • Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.
  • Sgeffe There's someone around where I live who has a recent WRX-STi, but the few times I've been behind this guy, he's always driving right at the underposted arbitrary numbers that some politician pulled out of their backside and slapped on a sign! With no gendarmes or schoolkids present! Haven't been behind this driver on the freeway, but my guess is that he does the left lane police thing with the best of 'em!What's the point of buying such a vehicle if you're never going to exceed a speed limit? (And I've pondered that whilst in line in the left lane at 63mph behind a couple of Accord V6s, as well as an AMG E-Klasse!)
  • Mebgardner I'm not the market for a malleable Tuner / Track model, so I dont know: If you are considering a purchase of one of these, do you consider the Insurance Cost Of Ownership aspect? Or just screw it, I'm gonna buy it no matter.The WRX is at the top of the Insurance Cost pole for tuner models, is why I ask.