Our Honda Passport Earns Praise on the Open Road

Photo credit: Jonathon Ramsey - Car and Driver
From the car and driver
30,000 mile update
While our Honda Passport was quickly earning miles for road trips prior to our last update in March, living in quarantine has since cut its travel schedule significantly, as has been the case with pretty much our entire long-term fleet. Fortunately, we made up for our downtime with several trips to Northern Michigan and an overland trip to California and back as our Honda nears its one year mark with us.
As the miles piled up, the passport's logbook was again filled with praise for its huge cargo space and smart interior. "The pass is a master class in wrapping a vehicle," wrote Printing Director Eric Tingwall. "It feels a little bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside, and there's a corner, storage room, or container for any accessory, snack, or device you want to be close at hand." Editor-in-chief Ryan White put the versatility of Honda's midsize ute to the test by incorporating an impressive number of seemingly random items for a trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Including a half-inflated rubber lama, a film projector and a screen and a banjo.
Photo credit: Jonathon Ramsey - Car and Driver
The Passport's naturally aspirated V-6, an increasingly rare feature in a turbo-engine segment, continues to be valued for its flexibility and character. Tingwall wrote, "There's enough torque for town with a satisfactory crescendo in the tachometer when you put it on the ground."
You may remember that both driver doors of our passport were damaged in March when they were parked in the driveway of one of our employees. Although the repair only required cosmetic repairs, the drive to the body shop cost us $ 3605, and our Honda returned with a foul smell of car paint that required a heavy douse of Febreze to get out of the cabin.
Fortunately, that chemical smell was only a distant memory for editor Jonathon Ramsey as he embarked on a 4,800-mile hike from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to California and back to collect a tag of his belongings for his new home in Kentucky . His notes in the logbook reflect our previous grips with the driver assistance functions of the Passport. These included complaints about Honda's adaptive cruise control system, which can both slowly close gaps to cars in front and react lazily to slow vehicles. "In traffic, the adaptive cruise control drives as if it had just received permission from its learner driver and may have failed his driving test before," wrote Ramsey. "Instead of just rolling to its preferred gap, the pass crosses the buffer zone, then hits the brakes - resulting in rubber bands - and then has to accelerate to catch up."
Photo credit: Jonathon Ramsey - Car and Driver
All of our recent freeway trips have helped increase the Passport's average fuel economy by 1 to 21 MPG. It is equally important that our Honda continues to be reliable and painless to service. Since its last scheduled service at approximately 20,000 miles, we've switched the Passport back to its standard all-season tires and stopped at an Ohio dealer at 29,847 miles for its routine A12 service. The visit only brought us back $ 55 but this dealer was unable to perform all of the recommended service and instead just changed the oil. Upon returning to Michigan at 31,445 miles, our local dealer performed the remainder of the A12 service, which included tire rotation, engine and cabin air filter replacement, and a multi-point inspection for an additional $ 120. Our local dealer also handled several recalls, including a software update for the instrument cluster's control module, a revision of the safety section of the digital owner's manual and an update for the reversing camera.
With the pass stretching its legs again on the open road, we expect the remaining 6,779 miles to come quickly and without incident as long as no one else hits it while it is parked.
Months in the fleet: 11 months Current mileage: 33,221 miles
Average fuel economy: 21 mpg
Fuel tank size: 19.5 gal. Observed fuel range: 400 miles
Service: $ 475 Normal wear and tear: $ 0 Repair: $ 0
Damage and Destruction: $ 3605
Show technical data
20,000 mile update
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
In just over a month we've added a whopping 5,000 miles to the odometer on our long-term Honda Passport, and given our new socially distant lifestyle, monthly mileage is likely to be a high water mark in the near future. Most of those miles were accrued around our Ann Arbor home base, with a longer trip to Pittsburgh on Leap Day.
Our staff have had several practical wins for the pass, including praise for a glove box which staff editor Connor Hoffman found could hold a full bottle of wine and a center console wide enough to be the perfect perch for the review editor Becca Hackett to serve purse. The usable areas and the cubbies result in an interior that seems to be tailored to the details of everyday life. Should your social distance turn to camping, the pass will swallow equipment, provisions, people and pets.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
Comments will continue to be made about the seat position of the pass. Even for an SUV, the view to the front is panoramic, almost like a bus. Deputy Editor Tony Quiroga praised the "sweeping view," which helps with everything from parallel parking to navigating a narrow path. While some may find that getting into the Passport's elevated driver's seat requires a small jump, the position takes advantage of the large windows. In addition, the spacious greenhouse lets a lot of light into the cabin and creates a spacious feeling.
Earlier this winter we swapped the Passport's original all-season rubber for Yokohama IceGuard G075 winter tires and our first reaction was that they hum much more than the stock tires, which is to be expected. Fortunately, they have proven themselves more than once. The feature editor Austin Irwin vouched for his tough grip in muddy snowfall.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
With 19,887 miles, we brought the pass for his B1 service to our Honda dealer. A B1 service basically consists of six liters of 0W-20 oil, new oil and air filters, a tire rotation, a series of checks and a cleaning of the battery terminals. The Yokohamas were spun, the battery was serviced, and the dealer did a multi-point inspection that made us all $ 167. While we waited, the dealer added a sticker to the owner's manual describing the dangers of driving a large vehicle like the Passport. Apparently the required information was not originally included in the instruction manual. The observed fuel consumption is constant at 20 mpg.
Unfortunately, our trustworthy passport was recently damaged by a mishap in one of our employees' driveways. Apparently the view to the outside in the perpetrator's car was restricted and the driver did not see the passport. The incident left two large red scratches on the driver's doors. After a few days of investigating the neighborhood, the ridicule gave way. We still have to get it to a body shop. In our next update we will cover more about the estimate and repair.
Photo Credit: Andi Hedrick - Car and Driver
The driving dynamics of the Passport, the somewhat tidy size and the improved infotainment system win far more friends than the taller pilot. And its size is sufficient for camping adventures for solo travelers or small groups and to stock up on essentials at the local Sam's Club.
Months in the fleet: 6 months Current mileage: 20,519 miles
Average fuel economy: 20 mpg
Fuel tank size: 19.5 gal. Observed fuel range: 390 miles
Service: $ 301 Normal Wear: $ 0 Repair: $ 0
Damage and Destruction: $ 0
10,000 mile update
Photo credit: Brad Fick - Car and Driver
Our long-term Honda Passport has proven itself to be an accomplished and frequent traveler in the few months it has been with us, having passed the 10,000 mile mark on a number of trips across North America. More impressive is that this produced only a few nits for us to choose from.
Production designer Jeff Xu piloted the pass on its longest journeys. This included separate hikes from our home base in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Denver and New Orleans. After both, Xu praised the Passport's cargo space, the spacious interior and the numerous USB ports for charging multiple devices at the same time. His main criticism? "I found that all the cup holders were too small to hold larger bottles like Gatorades or Nalgenes," he wrote in the Honda's logbook.
Photo credit: Brad Fick - Car and Driver
A trip to Toronto led to a major complaint regarding the Passport's Lane Departure Warning, which flashes a warning in the track width and wobbles the steering wheel before the SUV's tire even crosses the center line. While this level of oversensitivity is certainly the result of Honda's proactive stance on safety, it quickly becomes angry when driving the freeway through construction zones with narrowed lanes and tightly clumped orange barrels.
We've seen similar complaints with Honda's collision avoidance technology in a few other models, including our long-term 2018 Honda Accord. Occasionally, however, our passport reads the open road as a potential obstacle and activates the vehicle's automatic emergency braking system for no apparent reason - much to the driver's surprise . And discomfort.
At just over 10,000 miles, the pass visited the dealer for its first scheduled service, which included an oil change, tire spin, and rear differential fluid change for $ 134. (The dealer changed the engine oil without changing the filter, per Honda's unusual service recommendation.) Our only other expense so far has been mending a stone chip on the windshield ($ 50). While we'll likely have to replace the windshield before our Honda's time is up, $ 50 is now much easier to bear than the $ 1000 that new glass will cost.
Photo credit: Brad Fick - Car and Driver
The rest of the comments in the Passport Log were mostly related to the full-size Yokohama IceGuard G075 winter tires that we fitted around 18,000 km away. Several employees found that the road noise they generate in the cab is far greater than what we found with the standard Continental CrossContact LX Sport for all seasons. This is common with winter tires and is generally not a major problem, but the Yokohamas appear to be particularly noisy. "They are noisy at highway speeds and yet traction on snow and ice is mediocre," wrote Dave VanderWerp, head of vehicle testing.
Unfortunately, the pass's fuel economy didn't benefit as much as we'd hoped from all of its motorway trips. Thanks to the gnarled winter tires and the heavy (heavy) commuters between trips, the Passport average is 2 to 20 MPG, or 1 MPG, below its combined EPA estimate. With 25,000 miles to go, our well-traveled Honda will definitely be back on the road.
Months in the fleet: 4 months Current mileage: 15,306 miles
Average fuel economy: 20 mpg
Fuel tank size: 19.5 gal. Observed fuel range: 390 miles
Service: $ 134 Normal wear and tear: $ 0 Repair: $ 0
Damage and Destruction: $ 50
Photo credit: Austin Irwin - Car and Driver
When Honda revived the Passport nameplate for the 2019 model year, our nostalgia for the Isuzu Rodeo-based body-on-frame that had sales hits in the 1990s was palpable. While we were hoping for a Honda competitor for the Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler, we received a shortened, two-row version of Honda's larger three-row pilot crossover instead. We previously had a 2016 pilot in our long-term fleet, but we thought it best to check out the smaller, livelier pass as well, especially after it won a two-tier midsize SUV group test.
The new Passport is likely to perform as well off-road as the original version, although front-wheel drive is now the default. Four powered wheels are optional on all fairings, with the exception of the Elite and Black Editions with top-class all-wheel drive. The new model's maximum ground clearance of 8.1 inches is just 0.1 inches lower than the 2002 Passport, the last model year of the last generation. While not as boxy in profile as the old school Honda, it looks more adventurous than the pilot, and its short front and rear overhangs allow more clearance for light trail chores.
Photo credit: Austin Irwin - Car and Driver
We opted for an EX-L mid-range model with all-wheel drive in Black Forest Pearl - a dark metallic green that looks black except in direct sunlight - with darkened 20-inch aluminum wheels. Although the EX-L model is only one step away from the basic sports equipment, it offers leather upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a sunroof and heated front seats with performance adjustments for the Driver. An electric tailgate, SiriusXM satellite radio, sunshades on the rear seats, heated exterior mirrors with integrated indicators, keyless entry, an automatically dimming rearview mirror and blind spot monitoring with a cross traffic warning at the rear. The final balance: $ 39,355.
The long-term pass starts a decent run from 6.1 seconds to 60 mph and makes it through the quarter mile traps at 95 mph in 14.7 seconds. We coaxed other passes a little faster, including the benchmark test, which hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Braking from 70 mph required a length of 189 feet, and the pass circled the skid pad at a modest 0.80 g, locked by stability control. High-G gadgets on the street aren't really the thing of the pass.
Photo credit: Austin Irwin - Car and Driver
Nevertheless, this Honda has been praised by the drivers for its stable and comfortable driving experience. "It turns out that a foreshortened pilot makes an excellent two-row, midsize SUV. Solid dynamics among peers, good body control, and natural steering weight," wrote Dave VanderWerp, Head of Vehicle Inspection, in the Passport's log. "This nine-speed has come a long way since it landed in the current generation pilot and is now a competent and largely invisible automatic."
The Honda also came in handy, with ample storage space throughout the cabin and cargo space large enough to carry photo gear and camping supplies for staff editor Austin Irwin and his girlfriend to spend a long weekend on the top with their dog Michigan Peninsula. "The center console bin is so big I put a coat in there," added VanderWerp. "The milk-gallon-shaped container in the hold is also practical."
Photo credit: Austin Irwin - Car and Driver
So far, the handles have been limited to ongoing frustration with Honda's oversensitive forward collision warning system, which is part of Passport's standard Honda sensing suite of driver assistance features. "The brake warning was displayed multiple times in the cluster as you were cornering on some country roads due to oncoming traffic," wrote Irwin. Kirk Seaman, associate editor of the Buyer's Guide, also reported that the pass was blocked on the brakes when mistakenly sensing an impending collision on one of Ann Arbor's suburban back roads.
Fuel economy has been decent so far, averaging 22 mpg, or 1 mpg, above the combined EPA rating of the Passport with all-wheel drive. We're excited to see if we can improve this average even further with a couple of long-distance road trips planned with the Honda in the fall. A four-wheel drive Passport Elite previously achieved an impressive 27 MPG on our 75-mile freeway fuel economy test, beating its EPA freeway estimate by 3 MPG. Since these road trips are planned, we will surely check in again soon as the miles are used up quickly.
Months in the fleet: 1 month Current mileage: 3266 miles
Average fuel economy: 22 mpg
Fuel tank size: 19.5 gal. Observed fuel range: 420 miles
Service: $ 0 Normal wear and tear: $ 0 Repair: $ 0
Damage and Destruction: $ 0
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