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Review: Honda introduces the 2019 Passport as a contemporary two-row crossover

G. Chambers Williams III, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Automotive News

For 2019, Honda has expanded its crossover utility lineup – and has brought back along-retired model name – with the introduction of the all-new, five-passenger midsize Passport, which slots between the compact CR-V and the larger three-row Pilot.

Some of you might recall that Honda sold its first midsize, five-passenger Passport sport-utility vehicle beginning with model year 1994 and ending with the 2002 model just as the Pilot was introduced.

What you might not remember (and I've had some previous Passport owners argue with me about this) is that the original Honda Passport was just a rebadged version of the Isuzu Rodeo, and was assembled at the then Subaru-Isuzu Automotive plant in Lafayette, Indiana.

The Passport was one of two Isuzu SUVs that American Honda Motor Co. sold as rebadged models in the U.S. market in those early days of sport utilities before Honda began making its own.

The other one was the Acura SLX, which was an Isuzu Trooper underneath its Acura badging. Acura is Honda's luxury brand, and the SLX was replaced in 2002 by the Acura MDX, which is based on the architecture of the Pilot.

With the reintroduction of the Passport, we get a contemporary crossover utility vehicle that essentially is a six-inch-shorter version of the Pilot, without the third-row seat.

 

Beyond that difference, there are many similarities, including the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine from the Pilot and Ridgeline, which is Honda's Pilot-based midsize pickup.

This engine produces 280 horsepower and 262 foot-pounds of torque in all three of these vehicles, and is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission in all three, as well. Automatic stop-start is included to help save gasoline while stopping at traffic signals and during stop-and-go traffic conditions.

There are four trim levels for the Passport, beginning with the Sport ($31,990, plus$1,095 freight), followed by the EX-L ($36,410), Touring ($39,280) and Elite ($43,680). Front-wheel drive is standard on all but the Elite, which comes only with all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive may be added to the first three trims for an additional $1,900 each.

All trims have leather interiors except for the base (Sport) model. EX-L models come with heated front seats; Touring models have heated front and rear seats; and Elite models come with perforated-leather heated and ventilated front and heated rear seats.

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