Plays an adventurous crossover on TV. The Honda Passport returned in 2019 after 16-year hiatus. This time, though, it’s removed the Isuzu Rodeo DNA it had in previous generations. The Passport is now a downsized clone of the popular three-row Honda Pilot.
The 2021 Honda Passport is propped up as the most adventurous crossover in the brand's lineup, which isn’t hard to do considering the options are the Honda CR-V or the aforementioned people-hauling Pilot.
Haul all the gear, but the interior doesn’t match up well. Inside, the Passport leaves you craving little in terms of space. It boasts 39.6 inches of rear leg room, 41.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats upright, and up to 77.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
So, whether it’s a week’s worth of camping gear or the team’s equipment for the big game, the Passport can handle it. Only the Toyota 4Runner separates itself from the Passport at 47.2 cubic feet of space with the second row in place and 89.7 with it folded down.
The big issue is the Passport’s interior isn’t much roomier than the smaller and cheaper CR-V, which beats the Passport with 40.4 inches of rear leg room and nips its heels with 39.2 or 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
While not cheap by any stretch, the Passport's cabin lacks the refinement of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Instead of boasting acres of soft-touch materials and leathers, the Passport opts for cheaper plastics here and there, especially in the rear seats.
Smooth on-road chops, but stay off the trails. The Honda Passport is a smooth roller on the pavement, and its uncomplicated all-wheel-drive system is perfect for mild adventures. This matches most buyers’ needs.
That said, Honda markets the Passport as its more adventurous model. This is true when you consider its siblings include the Honda Odyssey, Honda Ridgeline, and Pilot, but it lacks the off-road chops of the Grand Cherokee, 4Runner, and Ford Bronco. These models can handle rutted trails the Passport couldn’t touch.
Standard safety tech is on point, and new tech brings it into this century. Honda doesn’t take safety lightly, as the Passport boasts a full array of advanced safety gear. This equipment includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and more.
Most competitors at least match its standard automatic emergency braking. However, the Grand Cherokee and Chevrolet Blazer don’t, giving the Passport a significant advantage over them.
The Passport once fell flat was its standard infotainment system, which included a 5-inch non-touchscreen infotainment system sans Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In 2021, however, the Passport replaced this Smithsonian-worthy system with a standard 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This matches the 4Runner and Blazer and beats the Grand Cherokee by an inch.
Final thoughts. The 2021 Honda Passport is a smooth-riding crossover with so-so off-road chops and loads of space. However, at $33,710 including destination, it’s a high-cost option in a crowded market. Plus, it’s only marginally roomier than its CR-V sibling, which starts from $26,270.
The Passport is a fair, albeit vanilla, option for buyers seeking a V6-powered crossover and need all the room they can get. For buyers wanting a rig with more off-road chops, the 4Runner and Bronco are far better off the beaten path. The 4Runner also has a more rugged look to match these off-road abilities. Buyers seeking something more upscale will find it in the Grand Cherokee.
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