2019 Honda Passport ditches some seats, gains some ruggedness

As Americans clear their refrigerators of any remaining Thanksgiving leftovers, Honda is serving up a crossover made from reheated ingredients. Debuting at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2019 Honda Passport is essentially a two-row, five-seat version of the existing Honda Pilot. It also revives a name first used by Honda in the 1990s for a rebadged version of the Isuzu Rodeo.

While the two vehicles have some different styling elements, it’s immediately apparent that the Passport is based on the Pilot. Both vehicles use Honda’s Global Light Truck platform, which is also shared with the Ridgeline pickup truck. It’s a testament to the popularity of crossovers that Honda plans to sell related five-seat and seven-seat models side-by-side.

The Passport also borrows the Pilot’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, which makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. However, the Passport gets Honda’s nine-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. That transmission is an optional extra on the Pilot. The Passport gets standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive.

Crossovers like the Passport aren’t known for off-road prowess, but Honda claims its latest offering will perform better than most. All-wheel drive models have a respectable 8.4 inches of ground clearance, which is 1.1 inches higher than the Pilot. The Passport’s shorter overall length and reduced front and rear overhangs also improve approach, breakover, and departure angles, according to Honda. Properly equipped front-wheel drive models can also tow up to 3,500 pounds, while all-wheel drive models can tow up to 5,000 pounds, Honda said.

Touring and Elite trim levels get an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that can support up to 10 devices. The Passport comes standard with the Honda Sensing bundle of driver aids, including autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Pricing information for the 2019 Honda Passport will be revealed closer to the vehicle’s launch next year. When it arrives in showrooms, the Passport will compete in a growing niche of five-seat midsize crossovers that already includes the Ford Edge, five-seat version of the Hyundai Santa Fe, and Nissan Murano, and will soon add a five-seat version of the Volkswagen Atlas, and the new Chevrolet Blazer.

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