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Auto review: 2019 Honda Passport SUV brings the steak, not much sizzle

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

"You can complain about vanilla styling, but vanilla is the best-selling flavor of ice cream," an exasperated auto executive once snapped at the 10th question about his midsize sedan's unexciting appearance.

He was right, but I'll take chocolate any day. With dark chocolate chunks, if you're bringing my dessert. Occasionally a little jalapeno, just to see if I'm paying attention.

The 2019 Honda Passport SUV is an overflowing scoop of the finest vanilla automaking, topped with sprinkles of driver assistance features, interior space and price competitors will struggle to match.

Honda will sell every one of them that its plant in Lincoln, Ala., can turn out.

The Passport is the latest in a growing class of vehicles aimed at drivers who like the height, convenience and trendiness of an SUV, but can do without the parental connotations of three-row family haulers like Honda's own Pilot, which not coincidentally rolls off the same assembly line as the Passport.

Five-passenger midsize SUVs like the Passport -- bigger than a five-seat Honda CR-V, not as big as the seven-seat Pilot -- are the flavor of the month. Automakers expect to charge as much for them as for bigger three-row models, netting a handsome return on the relatively small investment of a model that shares many parts with its bigger sibling.

 

Behind the Wheel

2019 Honda Passport AWD Elite

All-wheel-drive, five-passenger midsize SUV

Price as tested: $43,680 (excluding destination charge)

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