Updated for 2022
Honda introduced the Passport a few years ago, filling a gap in its lineup with a 5-occupant SUV designed to excel both on and off pavement. Built on the brand’s Global Truck Platform, the Passport gets fresh styling for the 2022 model year, and for those who want to project an outdoorsy vibe there’s the all-new 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport. We spent a few days with this newest Passport both on road and off, and found it to be a strong player in this very competitive market segment.
For testing the automaker provided a 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport AWD painted in Sonic Gray. With no additional options, total MSRP for this Passport TrailSport is $44,090, slotting it just below the top-level Passport Elite. Competitors to the Honda Passport are numerous and include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-50, Ford Edge and Chevrolet Blazer.
The 2022 Honda Passport gets a new front-end design including a new squared-off nose, upright grille and new front bumper — all contributing to a more aggressive look. New side vents give the Passport a wider stance while improving overall aerodynamics. At the rear a new bumper has cutouts for larger dual exhaust outlets.
Standing out from the rest of the Passport lineup, the TrailSport has more of an off-road style although it doesn’t actually have any mechanical differentiation from the standard Passport, with the exception of a slightly wider front and rear track. The TrailSport gets a unique grille treatment, a more aggressive front bumper with a silver painted “skid garnish” front and rear. All Passport and AWD badges are gloss black, and orange TrailSport logos adorn the front and rear.
The 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport also gets new 18-inch machined wheels with Pewter highlights, shod with unique Firestone tires that feature a sidewall giving the appearance of an all-terrain tire.
The orange theme that starts with the TrailSport’s exterior logos continues inside with orange ambient lighting and orange contrast stitching on the seats, door panels and steering wheel. The TrailSport logo is stitched in orange on the head restraints and embossed on floormats as well.
The Passport TrailSport comes equipped with a conveniently integrated 8-inch touchscreen display with navigation. On-screen menu selections are large and easily navigable, and we appreciate the volume control knob. Climate controls are separate so they remain continually accessible and easy to operate. Power outlets as well as a wireless charging pad have intuitive placement.
For 2022 the Passport comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The integration still requires a wired connection, although the Android Auto set up seamlessly and works well. We especially like the permanent home button, making it easy to switch back and forth between the Honda system and Android screen.
Continuing the high-tech look, the driver display is a blend of analog gauges with a digital display.
With plenty of headroom and legroom, rear-seat passengers won’t have much to complain about since seats are surprisingly comfortable. Even the middle seat is usable thanks to the flat floor. Multiple USB ports and a 110-volt outlet let rear-seat riders keep their devices charged.
The 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport offers a spacious cargo area that can handle all sorts of outdoor gear, luggage, groceries — even the all-important golf bags. Rear seats fold flat for handling additional cargo. A 12-volt outlet in the cargo space can be handy for powering devices while camping or enjoying other outdoor activities.
Beneath the cargo floor, Passport has additional space for keeping items securely out of sight. The space can also be used for muddy or wet items since the plastic bins can be easily cleaned.
Under the Hood
Powering the Passport is a 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The all-wheel-drive Passport TrailSport can tow up to 5,000 pounds — enough for a small travel trailer, boat or a few toys.
The Honda Passport TrailSport features one of the more advanced all-wheel-drive setups on the market. The Intelligent Variable Torque Management all-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled rear differential and dynamic torque vectoring that help with handling as well as off-road performance. The i-VTM4 system constantly adjusts the distribution of power and can send as much as 70 percent of torque to the rear wheels, and 100 percent to each rear wheel individually to find the best traction.
Drivers of the Honda Passport can use the Intelligent Traction Management system to choose the most appropriate drive mode based on current conditions. Selecting Normal, Snow, Mud or Sand mode adjusts throttle response, shifting, all-wheel-drive rear bias, torque vectoring and stability control. For example, Mud mode provides a less aggressive throttle and an even rear-torque split to keep the wheels from spinning on launch. Conversely, Sand mode provides the quickest throttle response, full rear bias and allows for more wheelslip to maintain momentum. (Sand mode can make driving more entertaining — even without the sand.)
The Passport TrailSport comes equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of safety technology. This includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. Automatic high-beam headlights are also standard across the board, as is a blind-spot monitor information system with a cross-traffic monitor.
On the Road
Some might complain that the TrailSport’s rubber looks like all-terrain tires when in actuality they are simply all-seasons. The advantage of this conceit is that the Passport’s overall ride remains smooth and comfortable on the road. With 280 horsepower on tap we would expect stronger acceleration; however, power is more than adequate for most driving situations. The 9-speed transmission has extremely smooth shifts — almost to the point of being unnoticeable — but in normal drive mode the shifts seem tuned for more fuel economy than performance. Selecting Sport mode provides a marked improvement in overall driving feel and feedback.
The 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport handles well, but it does feel a bit soft in the corners. (Yes, we realize it’s a crossover and not a sports car.) That said, steering is decent and the Passport performs well in most driving conditions. The all-wheel drive system works well on slick surfaces; even hard acceleration from a stop on wet roads provides excellent grip with no wheelslip.
The TrailSport may not make the Passport any more off-road ready, but that’s not a big issue since the standard Passport is already set up to handle most off-pavement ventures. With a bit more than 8 inches of ground clearance as well as short front and rear overhangs, the new Passport performs well in a wide range of terrain. Taking on deep water, uneven surfaces and muddy moguls offers no issues for the Passport TrailSport which handles inconsistent terrain with little drama.
A Bit Bumpy
The ride of the 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport is quite comfortable on the paved roads, but when the surface gets rough, so does the ride. This vehicle is capable of handling rough roads at speed, but the ride can be a bit jarring.
The updates for the 2022 Honda Passport provide a more adventurous look, and the TrailSport takes that styling even a bit further. The rugged looks and capability will appeal to those who like the idea of heading out on off-pavement adventures, while the vehicle’s size and impressive utility will fit the bill for most consumers who want space but don’t need seven seats. Add to this an advanced 4-wheel-drive system as well as a comfortable, high-tech interior and the Passport TrailSport certainly shines in a crowded midsize SUV market segment.
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