2022 Honda Passport Review | Shorty still impresses

2022 Honda Passport Review | Shorty still impresses

See Full Image Gallery >>

There’s no getting around it: the 2022 Honda Passport is a sawed-off Pilot. This two-row midsize SUV offers a nimbler, more-compact (but still very utilitarian) alternative for buyers who want a midsize SUV for hauling lots of things, rather than lots of people.

While the Passport may seem like an objective downgrade from the three-row, elementary-school-drop-off-approved Pilot, the Passport still offers a positively cavernous rear cargo area that can be accessed all the time, rather than just when the rearmost row is folded. It’s also shorter length-wise, making it lighter, more efficient, quicker off the line and easier to park. For those who aren’t regularly called upon for soccer practice chauffeur duties, the Passport actually makes a great deal of sense.


It also stacks up well to its diverse group of competitors. It’s more on-road friendly and fuel efficient than the Toyota 4Runner, yet more rugged and utilitarian than the similarly sized Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. It also has more space than the admittedly more luxurious Jeep Grand Cherokee and sportier Chevy Blazer. In other words, it’s somewhat a midpoint between them all.

Interior & Technology | Passenger & Cargo Space | Performance & Fuel Economy

What it's like to drive | Pricing & Features | Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What's new for 2022?

The Passport got some styling upgrades for 2022, leaning into its more 4x4-esque nature. There’s even a whole new model to support this notion — the Passport TrailSport. This takes the already-vaguely-rugged two-row’s formula to a slightly more off-roady level, packing a more no-nonsense interior, beefier tires and some unique styling elements to set it apart from its more-pedestrian siblings. Unfortunately, the previous Sport model has been dropped entirely, significantly bumping up the Passport’s base price.

What are the Passport’s interior and in-car technology like?

If you're trying to choose between Passport and Pilot, the interior design won't be of any help: they are identical. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Both share a common look that's clean and functional, but hardly as visually interesting as what you'd find in a Chevy Blazer or Hyundai Santa Fe. Material quality is very strong for this segment and everything is put together exceedingly well.

Also shared with the Pilot is the exceptional interior storage. There are multiple door bins, two cupholders in each rear door, two areas to store a smartphone up front, and the giant center bin is big enough to hide a purse under its flat rolling cover. There's even more storage underneath the cargo floor, including a plastic bin that can be easily cleaned and drained.

Interior tech is less impressive. There is a lot of it standard, true, but the means in which it is controlled can frustrate. There are insufficient menu buttons, no tuning knob and/or direct tune function, and the process for going between Honda and Apple/Android interfaces is excessively annoying. Many of these issues were corrected for the vastly improved system in the Accord and Odyssey, but the Pilot/Passport/Ridgeline family soldier on with ye olde interface. If there's a reason to ponder something other than the Passport, this would certainly be it.

How big is the Passport?

For a midsize two-row crossover, the Passport provides an enormous, space-efficient interior. Only the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport comes close to its passenger and cargo space. The second row offers abundant head- and legroom, while also sliding considerably to bring kids closer to parents up front or to free up cargo space. Need to fit a rear-facing child seat? No problem. There's more than enough space between rows and lower LATCH anchors for all three positions.

The cargo area is not only the biggest in the segment, but arguably the most versatile as well. Besides expanding thanks to the sliding back seat, it also houses a large bin under the floor that can hide valuables or secure dirty items from the clean interior (it can also be removed to be cleaned). The cargo area itself is deep, wide, tall and offers 41.2 cubic feet of space — far more than anything else in the segment not named Atlas. The same can be said when the seats are lowered, with 77.9 cubic feet of maximum space. You'd have to step up to a longer three-row model like the Pilot to get more.

What are the Passport fuel economy and performance specs?

The Passport has only one engine and transmission offering: a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 paired to a nine-speed automatic and either standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. This engine is strong, smooth and according to the 0-60 times posted by various publications, acceleration can be the strongest in the segment. Fuel economy ratings are typical: 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with FWD, and 19/24/21 with AWD (including TrailSport). Confirming the highway number, we achieved 24.8 mpg in 340 miles of mostly rural highway driving.

The standard Passport can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is about average in the segment. The TrailSport bumps that to 5,000 pounds with its inexpensive utility package, besting even the AWD Chevy Blazer, which boasts up to 4,500 pounds of trailering capacity.

What's the Passport like to drive?

A lot like a Pilot! The springs are slightly stiffer, so the Passport doesn't bob and roll as much on the road as the more boatlike Honda Pilot. Its steering is also slightly sharper. Then again, it shows a reluctance to be hustled along a windy road, similar to its big sibling. In other words, despite being sportier-feeling than the Pilot, is still not a sporty vehicle overall (virtually the same thing can be said of the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport). Think of it as a more comfortable, refined and spacious alternative to the rugged, outdoorsy Toyota 4Runner. For those who are looking for that rugged edge, note that the TrailSport’s knobby 18-inch tires do contribute a bit more road noise but their taller sidewalls make for an excellent ride.

The only real wart is the nine-speed automatic transmission. Though improved from other iterations that always seem to be in the wrong gear or slow to engage the correct one, there are still moments of unusual behavior. There can be a little too much engine braking off throttle, for instance, as if you're in the wrong gear. The Sport mode also makes the transmission a bit silly in its aggressiveness — you can't use it around town without it herking and jerking you about. It also too-quickly overrides lower gears that have been manually selected by the included shift paddles. This is annoying on downhill grades. If the car is just going to take over, why include the paddles at all?