Home Honda Honda Passport two-row SUV shines as less expensive alternative to Pilot

Honda Passport two-row SUV shines as less expensive alternative to Pilot


Honda reintroduced Passport to their U.S. SUV lineup for 2019 following an absence of 17 years.

The all-new two-row Passport – last seen in 2002 – slots between its three-row sibling, the Honda Pilot and CR-V, Honda’s popular compact SUV.

2019 Honda Passport AWD Elite as Tested

Honda delivered us a 2019 Honda Passport AWD Elite for drive test a few weeks back. 

Our top-of-the-line Passport Elite came in a bold Black Forest Pearl color with Gray interior.  The MSRP was $43,680. As with the Pilot we tested a few weeks earlier – it came complete.  No extras available or needed.

Final price in our driveway was $44,725.


Passport – for the most part – is a two-row version of the three-row Honda Pilot.  It shares the same platform, suspension, wheel set, powertrain, AWD system and more. Differences include being 6-inches shorter, standing a bit taller and weighing in about 100 pounds lighter plus some other incidentals.

Where it is different, of course, is its 5-passenger capacity vs the 7-8 passenger capacity in a Pilot.

Passport is also cheaper. At the top-trim Elite level, its MSRP is $4,440 less.

For us, Passport vs Pilot – Passport would get our garage space.

We can’t put an exact finger on why, but think it was all about how we feel – as empty nesters who like to adventure – that Passport is more of what we need as a two-row.  

For a bit less money, Passport is a really good everyday driver with enough ‘adventure chops’ for those long weekends away.  

Powertrain and Mechanical

All Passports are powered by a 3.5L V6 that produce a solid 280 horsepower with 262 lb-ft. of torque. Power is delivered through a 9-speed Automatic Transmission with a unique design Push-Button Shifter and Paddles. 

The Push-Button Shifter appears to be a bit awkward at first glance – but is actually intuitively easy to use.  We preferred it to traditional gated or a rotary shifter after just a couple of days.

Push Button Shifter

The Passport Elite comes AWD only.  It is equipped with their Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD system with Normal, Snow, Sand and Mud Traction Modes.  It features True Torque Vectoring that applies torque – real time adjusted – to front and rear axles and then between left and right rear wheels, as needed, to optimize traction. 

With its (greater) 8.1-inch ground clearance and Approach/Departure angles of 21.4/27.6 degrees respectively, Passport Elite is a bit more capable off-road SUV than its Pilot sibling.

Other features of the powertrain include Hill Start Assist, Remote and Push Button Start plus one of our non-favorites – Auto Stop/Start.  In our Passport, it was only mildly distracting so we did not turn it off.   

The 2019 Honda Passport AWD Elite – like the Pilot – can tow 5,000 pounds giving this 2-row SUV very useful additional utility.

Fuel economy is rated at 19/24 mpg city/highway and 21 mpg combined. Equipped with a 19.5-gallon tank, its highway range is just short of 500 miles.


Our Passport Elite’s taller more athletic profile featured a Black Grille, Bumper and LED Headlight Accents. 

Its running gear set is comprised of Gloss Black 20-inch Solid Spoke Alloy Wheels clad with 265/45R20 104H All-Season Tires.



Functional features included Auto On/Off LED Headlights w/Auto High Beam, LED Fog Lights, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), LED Brake and Reverse Lighting, Rain-Sensing Variable Intermittent Front and Rear Window Wiper/Washers and Black Power Folding Heated Side Mirrors with Integrated LED Turn Signals, Roof Rails and Roofline Spoiler.

A Power Sunroof lets in lots of light while the wide Hands-Free Power Tailgate makes loading and unloading cargo a lot easier.


Passport’s cabin, like the Pilot, is very roomy and functional. It seats five very comfortable with good headroom, legroom and shoulder room for bigger folks in both front and second rows.

Seating is leather trimmed. Front seats are perforated, heated and ventilated w/10-way Power adjustment Driver and 4-way Power Passenger.  The multi-functional center console features a large storage bin with sleek rolling cover that doubles as a tray when closed.  Second-row seating is a heated 60/40 Split Bench with One-Touch Power Fold-Down.  



Other elements include Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control w/Humidity Control, Filtration and second row heating ducts.  The second row has Integrated Sunshades.  There is White LED ambient cabin lighting with map lighting in the front row, door courtesy lighting and a cargo area light.

Eleven beverage holders are located throughout the cabin w/front and second-row holders with front holders illuminated.

The cargo space behind the second row is a generous 41.2 cubic feet that will easily handle gear needed for everyday tasks and weekend adventuring.  And, in case you need more, there is also a 2.5 cubic foot watertight bin under the cargo floor.

If there are just the two of you moving lots of stuff or on a longer adventure, drop the second-row seat and you have 77.5 cubic feet of space (plus the underfloor bin) to load into.

Infotainment / Technology

The 2019 Passport Elite’s infotainment and technology system features an 8-inch High-Res Display Audio w/Electrostatic Touchscreen, customizable icons and smartphone or tablet-like gesture control features.

Other system elements  include HondaLink – Honda Cabin Control smartphone-based connectivity, Honda (Garmin) Satellite-Linked Navigation w/voice recognition and HD Digital Traffic, 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot capability, Wireless Phone Charging, three 12-Volt Power Outlets (front, center console and cargo area), three 2.5-amp USB Charging Ports, a 2.5-amp USB Smartphone Interface and an AC 115V-150W power inverter.

Audio is provided by a pretty serious Honda 550-Watt Premium Audio system w/10-speakers and subwoofer. Included are SiriusXM and HD Radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Compatibility, Bluetooth Hands-Free, Streaming Audio and more. 


All Hondas, including Pilot and Passport come with the Honda Sensing System.  It includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist, and Lane Departure Warning.

Other active safety elements include an individual Tire Pressure Monitoring System with fill feature, LED Daytime Running Lights, Auto High-Beam Headlights, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor.


2019 Honda Passport Lineup

The Honda Passport – named by Car and Driver Magazine as the Best Mid-Size Two-Row SUV this year – is offered in four trims.   All are powered by the same V6 engine and mated to the 9-speed automatic transmission.  Elite is AWD only while Sport, EX-L and Touring come standard as FWD with AWD optional. 

Learn more about the 2019 Honda Passport here:  https://automobiles.honda.com/passport


Model:                                        Passport

Trim:                                           Elite

Class:                                          Mid-Size

Segment:                                   Crossover SUV

Seating:                                      Five in two rows

MSRP:                                        $43,680

As Tested:                                  $44,725

Powertrain:                                V6 Direct Injection

Horsepower:                             280 @ 6,000 rpm            

Torque:                                      262 lb.-ft. @4,700 rpm

Transmission:                            9-speed Automatic w/Paddle Shifters

Drive System:                           AWD (Intelligent Variable Torque Mgmt i-VTM4)

Tow Capacity                            5,000 pounds

Drive Modes:                            Snow/Sand/Mud (Intelligent Traction Mgmt)

Fuel Economy                           19/24 mpg City/Highway 21 mpg combined


Previous articleRam adds new packages, options and colors for 2020 half-ton and HD trucks
Next articleJeep returns Willys and adds Black & Tan editions to Wrangler for 2020