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All-New Honda Passport Hasn’t Won Any Races But It’s Gaining Ground Fast

In the more rugged compact SUV wars, it’s the Subaru Forester Sport and Toyota RAV4 Adventure. See how the new rugged 2019 Honda Passport stacks up in the mid-size category.

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In the highly-competitive compact SUV wars, automakers are finding out what Subaru and Jeep have known for decades. There’s a whole lot of people who like to take their SUV off-road. Subaru has the new 2019 Forester Sport, Toyota brings the RAV4 Adventure trim, and Honda has just introduced the more rugged Passport SUV that’s more mid-size than compact. has released their Best Mid-Size SUV of 2019 list and the new American-made 2019 Honda Passport scores an impressive second place. The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate 2.0T AWD takes first place, the 2019 Honda Passport top-trim Elite AWD second, followed by the Ford Edge Titanium AWD, Nissan Murano Platinum AWD, Chevrolet Blazer Premier AWD, and Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X 4×4.

2019 Honda Passport

The Honda Passport is an all-new model for 2019 and is based on Honda’s uni-body, midsize light-truck platform. Trim levels include Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Car and Driver scores it the Best Mid-Size Two-Row SUV.

Passport slots between the smaller CR-V and three-row Pilot. Even though the Passport and the Pilot ride on the same platform, Passport has two rows of seating and is six inches shorter. Honda wants the 2019 Passport to be the adventure vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts. It has an inch greater ground clearance, but with identical room inside as its larger stablemate Pilot.

2019 Honda Pilot

The Honda Passport is powered by Pilot’s 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of torque. Its nine-speed automatic allows for second-gear starts which will help when it comes to towing. When properly equipped, the 2019 Honda Passport can tow 5,000 lbs., making it a true adventure machine for the weekend warrior.


We drove the new 2019 Honda Passport when it was first introduced and thought the V6 had plenty of power and appreciated the steering wheel shift paddles to give manual control for driving enthusiasts. The ride in the Passport is not as comfortable as the Pilot, but this SUV is designed for those wanting to use it more for off-road use than a grocery hauler. The suspension feels a bit stiffer as it seems tuned for those who want to get away from civilization. 

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Photo credit: Honda USA

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Paul Clayton (not verified)    October 11, 2019 - 4:00PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

We love to car camp and after thoroughly enjoying our 2014 and 2016 250 hp Forester 2XTs, Subaru sadly discontinued the turbo this year. The underpowered 184 hp Forester disappointed us. The heavier 3 row Ascent seemed bloated, and the Outback reminded us of a station wagon sedan. So, we switched to a 2019 Honda Passport Elite. We’re thrilled with the power, rugged luxury, and quiet ride. The cargo area is flat and more spacious than the Forester which accommodates our sleeping bags comfortably. We consider the Passport to be a significant upgrade for touring National Parks or running to Costco.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    September 7, 2019 - 5:43PM

I have not driven the Passport, but it strikes me as too large, as it is only a little smaller than the Pilot. I like the use of a V-6, but find it overpriced for what it is. I would like it better if it was smaller, and it used the 2.0T from the Accord, but then it would be too close to competing with the RDX from sister brand Acura. Maybe this was just too tight of a niche to justify a new vehicle, and they could have just made the 3rd row seat optional on the Pilot, as this is pretty much what we got from what I can tell.

CaptainChunk (not verified)    August 18, 2020 - 10:27PM

Smooth, powerful, pretty luxe and can carry all your gear while you launch your boat off a beach somewhere beautiful. The Passport checks a lot of boxes.