For 2022 the Honda Passport received a fresh styling treatment that gave it a new face, a new trim grade and a number of key refinements. This includes new fenders, hood, grille, headlamps and bumper up front and revised bumper fascia at the rear.
Our tester was the new Trailsport trim grade which brings a more off-roady look and feel to the Honda Passport with a more rugged appearing grille, bumpers and blacked out emblems all around. Functional are some smaller 18-inch wheels with all-season tires to provide more bite out in the wild.
Inside the Trailsport is based on near the top trim Touring and thus has leather seating and a host of features. Key among them are leather seats with orange stitching and Trailsport logos embroidered in. A leather steering wheel also has orange stitching to match. On the floor are some helpful rubber all-weather floor mats to keep those muddy boots off your carpet.
Outside of this, our $44,090 Trailsport was essentially the same as other trims of the Honda Passport. It’s powered by the venerable 3.5-liter V6 engine and comes standard with a 9-speed automatic transmission and AWD.
It pumps out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. We found that with the weight of the Passport, acceleration was adequate. The engine employs a number of features to save fuel such as variable cylinder management and auto start-stop.
In spite of these features EPA estimates are 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. We achieved 20 mpg combined in our week with the Passport, we feel a bit thirsty given the annoyances of the auto-start stop system which is very slow to respond.
Handling was a bright spot on the pavement with a sharp and precise feel as we have come to expect with Honda. Road noise was lower than average in our 70 mpg freeway test at 60.8 dB, wind noise being more prominent than road noise.
Off the pavement is where we were looking to see how the new Trailsport fares on the rough trails and washboard road. It’s taller side wall tires and 18-inch wheels provided good grip in the dirt and we have to assume a better ride on the trail than the stock 20-inch wheels.
The ride however remained rather firm and unforgiving off-road and combined with a stiff structure gave us a lot of rattling and creaking in the interior trims over the washboard road. This vehicle remains at its best on the pavement.
At its price it compares well to vehicles like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Outback, and Kia Sorento among others in spite of Honda pointing us to look at the Toyota 4-Runner as a competitor. There, the 4Runner while aged remains a body on frame truck at its core, the Passport based on a FWD car-based architecture.