Honda's latest SUV revives a familiar name. Yes, the passport is back and, after its introduction to the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2018 this week, it will make its debut in the US showrooms early next year. .
The passport uses the Honda Global Light Truck platform, the same as the one that drives the Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup. It also uses the same V6 engine as the platform: a 3.5-liter V6 developing 280 horsepower and 262 pounds of torque, coupled with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive and AWD will be available, using Honda's four-mode traction control system to improve off-road and weather performance.
Speaking of off-road driving, the passport certainly seems ready to follow the track. The familiar design clearly indicates the SUV's relationship with the Pilot and Ridgeline, but the Passport features a higher ride height, a shorter rear overhang and standard 20-inch wheels.
According to Honda, with the all-wheel drive system, the passport can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is enough for a small boat, a caravan or a pair of jet skis. For all your types of active lifestyle with hashtag, Honda will launch a full catalog of Passport-specific accessories, including roof boxes; bike, kayak and ski racks; and even waterproof covers for different parts of the cabin.
The passport will be offered in Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite versions, with fabric or leather upholstery. Which, according to Honda, is the best-performing passenger and cargo space in its class. With the rear seats upright, the passport offers a load capacity of 41.2 cubic feet, which extends to 77.9 cubic feet.
On the infotainment front, premium Passport gaskets feature an 8-inch Display Audio tactile infotainment system, along with Apple CarPlay and standard Android Auto, as well as Ridgeline. Other features available include wireless phone charging, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi access point and integrated navigation.
Each passport will be equipped with the suite of Honda Sensing security technologies. Honda Sensing combines braking with collision mitigation, collision warning before, attenuation of the road exit, lane departure alert, assistance to the maintenance of the lane and adaptive cruise control. If this is not enough for you to ensure optimum peace of mind, the superior Passport trim levels also include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic detection, and parking sensors.
Given the interest of US buyers in off-road vehicles, Honda is smart to add another utility vehicle to its range of US vehicles. Plus, it's cool to see– certainly appropriate, given the main rival of the passport, the Chevrolet Blazer. Honda's new SUV will be between the compact CR-V and the mid-size driver when it goes on sale early next year. Its price should be good between the two. Stay tuned for our first try of the 2019 Honda Passport early next year.