Honda Passport TrailSport — Off-road-oriented SUV

By Jim Prueter

(May 15, 2022) One of the hottest automotive segments today is off-roading Pickup, SUVs and dedicated – rugged 4x4s eagerly ready to tackle the best of “hardcore rock-crawling” challenges. Vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, new Ford Bronco and Raptor pickup, Land Rover Defender and numerous others.

Then there’s Toyota that affixes the TRD and TRD Pro moniker on everything from the capable 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra to Highlander, Sequoia, RAV4 and even Camry. Many of these are little more than adding extra wheel opening cladding along with unique black trim treatment instead of chrome and cosmetic costumed cosplay garnishment. The results are manufactures raking in the dough with off-road-oriented vehicles the public can’t get enough of.

Not content to watch rivals pick off all the profitable low hanging fruit, Honda has just jumped in the foray and as a part of a mid-cycle update refreshing, the Passport, a nameplate revived for the 2019 model year and essentially a two-row version of the larger three-row Pilot adopts new styling for 2022 and the addition an adventure vehicle of its own branded TrailSport.

The TrailSport mid-level trim first appears on the Passport tested here and not unlike the Toyota TRD moniker will roll out the rugged halo to include the designation for the HR-V and CR-V compact crossovers, the Pilot, Ridgeline pickup and likely the Odyssey minivan.  

The TrailSport trim level slots between the base EX-L and below the top-tier Elite. Except for a few minor equipment upgrades, the TrailSport Passport is pretty much the same as the EX-L with a revised new hood, revised front and rear bumpers, and a blockier, gloss black grille with an orange themed TrailSport emblem, the same as on the tailgate. The bumpers are model-specific and include a faux skid-plate. There’s 18-inch wheels that widen the track by a half inch clad with aggressive shoulder tread 245/60R-18-inch Firestone Destination LE 2 all-season tires allowing for a bit more bite on loose terrain.

The TrailSport theme extends inside the cabin to include contrast orange stitching on the steering wheel, door panels, and seats. An embroidered “TrailSport” adorns the headrests and molded onto the standard all-season rubber floor mats.

In terms of off-road capabilities for the all-wheel-drive Passport there’s no suspension lift to the existing 8.1-inch ground clearance that’s good for mild to moderate trails in our off-road testing. But with no underbody protection or off-road suspension you’ll want to avoid larger

Overall, the Passport TrailSport is an attractive, fun-loving vehicle that lends an air of adventure but in appearance only. We expect the brand will progress to a more capable and aggressive vehicle in the years ahead with better off-road capabilities and equipment.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $42,470
Price as Tested: $44,090
Engine-Transmission: 3.5-liter 280-horsepower V-6 with 262 pound-ft of torque, combined with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
EPA Fuel Economy: 19/24/21 – MPG – City/Highway/Combined
Seating: 5

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Highest possible overall 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Overall “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Where Built: Lincoln, Ala.

Competes With:
Chevrolet Blazer
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Nissan Pathfinder
Toyota 4Runner

Attractive TrailSport trim level
Roomy interior and ample cargo space
Peppy V-6 and smooth transmission

No off-road components with TrailSport trim – appearance only
Firm ride
Poor fuel economy