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The New Passport Could Be Too Rugged For Honda Shoppers

Honda brings the all-new 20219 Passport for adventure seekers but they aren’t buying it. See why Honda isn’t selling many of the new SUVs.


American Honda has an uphill battle to sell its newest SUV called Passport. It’s designed to compete with the Subaru Forester Sport and Toyota RAV4 Adventure models that are more rugged than the average small SUV. Honda launched the Passport last year but they can’t seem to get the Passport moving off showroom floors.

Honda is also competing against Jeep with its trail-rated Cherokee SUV which has been built for decades. Honda customers are a different breed and they aren’t the type to take their vehicles off-pavement like Jeep and Subaru customers.

2019 Honda Passport

Typical Honda owners are more conservative and are looking for the brand’s reputation for reliability and they want a vehicle with low maintenance costs. Quality of workmanship not only ranks high with its customers, but it’s the number one reason they chose a Honda vehicle. According to a study by J.D. Power, Honda owners also pick the brand’s models for its safety features and scores.

The Honda Passport offers all those things and more. The new SUV offers an inch greater ground clearance, but with identical room inside as its larger stablemate Pilot. The more rugged mid-size SUV also comes with Honda’s torque-vectoring AWD sending power to the wheel that needs the traction. Passport gets Snow, Mud, and Sand Modes for slippery surfaces.

Honda Passport capability

Who should look at the new Passport?

If you live in a cold climate and you live where conditions get extra snowy and icy, or live where you need extra traction like the mountains in the Northeast, Rocky Mountains or West Coast mountains, you will be able to use the off-road features.

Adventure seekers going off-road will want to check out the new Passport too. If you pull small utility trailer, camper, or boat, Passport offers 3,500 lbs of towing capacity on 2wd models and 5,000 lbs on all-wheel-drive models. If you are shopping for a more rugged SUV you will want the AWD trim.

Shoppers looking for the best value can get deals on new Passport models now through October 31 that involves up to $1,250 in dealer incentives on 2019 Honda Passport Sport trims and $750 toward EX-L, Touring, and Elite models. Check out deals in your area here.

You Might Also Like: New Honda Passport Isn’t Selling And You Can Get Big Discounts Now

Bookmark the TN Honda page and be sure to follow the latest 2020 Passport model change reports on our Honda channels, FacebookTwitterInstagram, and tweet your news tips to us @Honda_Report and we'll give you a shout out! Check back tomorrow for more Honda news and updates.

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Photo credit: Honda USA


Lynne Yoe (not verified)    October 29, 2019 - 8:20PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I love my new Passport! Traded my Ridgeline and got a great deal on the new revived Passport. Sharp looking
Larger than the crv. A bit smaller than the pilot. We have all 3 SUVs in the family now. Passport is the hottest!!

Sepack (not verified)    November 2, 2019 - 7:15PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I almost bought one. What stopped me?
1. Instrument cluster - give us at least the option of analog gauges. The fuel and temperature gauges are far larger than necessary.
2. 20" wheels on an off-road oriented vehicle? Give me the 18's. Better ride, less expensive to replace.
3. Payload was something like 990 pounds. With a 5k tow capacity, at 10% tongue weight, doesn't leave much room for anything else. Payload of pilot and ridge line are both around 1,300 +/- which I could live with.
4. Rear doors should open wider, like in CR-V
5. 9-speed trans. Could live with it, if not for everything else, but definitely not first choice. The 6-spd would've been a better choice.
6. Push button shifter. Again, could live with it, but just one more compromise. Prefer a traditional lever, but even a rotary knob would be better.
7. Timing belt. Maintenance item at 100k. Give me back a chain. (The 2.4L in my 2010 CR-V has a Chain.)
Address at least 3 of these issues and the argument to buy becomes MUCH better.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    October 28, 2019 - 12:50PM

The problem is not the excessive ruggedness, but that this vehicle debuted at such a high cost.

Dave Conner (not verified)    October 29, 2019 - 2:14PM

The Passport was marketed as an Adventure vehicle and missed the real target market. It's too expensive, it does not need 20 inch wheels, and it's as wide as the Pilot.

Put on normal 18 inch wheels, cut the costs by $5000, and reduce the width. As home builders are moving to 7 ft wide doors, Honda decided the world needed an extra wide and expensive Passport. Wrong move Honda.

OurFirstSubie (not verified)    October 29, 2019 - 8:46PM

I recently purchased a 2020 Forester instead of the Passport to replace my aging Pilot. The Passport was expensive and there were no dealer financing incentives. The Passport's 20" wheels were ridiculously big/idiotic. Push button tranny . . . Arghh. The Forester gets about 50% better mpg in real world driving. I really wanted to buy the Passport but the Subie ticked more boxes for 10K less.

Greg (not verified)    November 3, 2019 - 6:10AM

ANY long time Honda owner knows that Honda NEVER advertises a 1st year car (or new gen of old models) very well. I have purchased 4 1st year models and found the 2nd year is when the advertisements increase.