Slotted at a higher price point than the Pilot, the 2022 Honda Passport sports a more rugged vibe than its sibling thanks to an edgy grille. The big-body SUV sits lower than its sibling, and at 190 inches from the front to the back serves as essentially a spicier version of the Pilot.
Honda engineers made sure the grille stands out and that seems to be a necessity, what with Hyundai offering up a design grille on its SUV grilles, while entrants from various automakers do as much.
Once you get past admiring the grille work and appreciate that you’re looking at the Pilot’s more rebellious sibling, the styling difference in the Passport’s exterior becomes noticeable, especially the swath on rear between the fenders and the roof.
Our 2022 Honda Passport AWD Trailsport came in a practical-but-not-eye-popping Sonic Gray Pearl with Black interior. Honda’s aesthetic is throughout the Passport, with well-designed front and rear bumpers, the visually arresting grille, 18-inch pewter wheels and, of course, the badging inside and out, included to remind that this is no basic Honda SUV. There are really no added bells and whistles in terms of suspension, tires, or powertrain.
The interior mimics the Pilot – and that’s not a bad thing at all, because it comes across as a comfortable cabin with plenty of open space and Honda’s craftsmanship. The phrase well-apportioned comes to mind and the dark trim is starkly juxtaposed with the new 8.0-inch touchscreen at the center of the console.
Performance on the roads and off them is what the TrailSport alludes to, of course, and the journey there is aided and abetted just fine with a respectable 3.5-liter V6. The engine is charmingly smooth and responsive, iterating 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic transmission, it’s trusty and dependable, it offers plenty of punch to get-up-and-go without being extreme.
Honda has tinkered with the transmission over the years and known clunkiness and downshift hesitation is controlled quite well. We found the gear shift seamless, especially downward. The engine’s power is channeled in a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, standard in TrailSport and Passport Elite models.
In the real world, the system is a champ, able to divert up to 70% of available torque to the rear axle, able to shift as much as 100% to either side. This is very important for the wilderness embracers planning to take the Passport off-roading. The Passport is also haul-ready: In fact, this Honda SUV is on the higher end of the segment, able to haul up to 5,000 pounds (the front-drive models top out at 3,500 pounds).
With all these redeeming qualities, what’s stopping the Honda Passport’s greatness? Rivals, of course. It’s an understatement, to say the least, that the crossover SUV segment is crowded. There is the roomy but a bit aging Ford Edge; the Jeep Grand Cherokee, an off-road maestro offering a lineup of powertrains; the Hyundai Santa Fe, with similar features to Honda and great value; the Subaru Outback, laden with features and value; last but not least, the Passport’s competition is the Toyota 4Runner, which could use an update but has a trusty’s look and feel that off-road enthusiasts have embraced.
Overall, the 2022 Honda Passport AWD Trailsport is a solid choice for anyone in the market for a reliable and versatile SUV.
Edited by Slav Kandyba
Photo Credit: Honda