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

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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  • 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.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.
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