This was the top of the line Elite trim with a bunch of dealer accessories stickered at $45K plus. 3.5L V6 280 hp @ 6000 rpm,262 ft-lbs. @ 4700 rpm,, i-VTM4 AWD, 19/24mpg, tows 5000 Lbs if equipped accordingly
Exterior: This is one chunky crossover. Looks jacked up and stout but then again this is but a lifted cut off pilot. The dark blue paint was excellent and one of my favorite Honda colors, I like the brown color on these as well. It is 190.5 inches long. That’s 10 inches longer than a CR-V and 6 inches shorter than the midsize Pilot.
Interior: From the driver’s seat is almost exactly a pilot. That’s it. Some gloss plastic here and there but materials quality and fit was excellent although wish some materials finish was better. Well that’s what Acura is for I guess. Seats are excellent, a little more firm at the bottom than the back. Love the adjustable arm rest like the ones you’d find in a minivan/truck.
Infotainment is solid. One screen only, Fast, easy to use, volume knob, finally! Good job Honda! This one was loaded so it had heated seats/ventilated seats/heated steering wheel all worked fast but the vented seats were loud in the highest setting. Mazda’s vented seats work better to compare a similar brand. As for safety tech it basically has EVERYTHING and I mean everything. I turned off the lane keep assist as it meandered between lines and aggressively vibrated the steering wheel a lot when I strayed beyond the lanes. This has the push button “shifter” and it’s weird a first but since the buttons are shaped and sized differently you get used to it. I went to pull back the shifter several times. 2 weeks tops to get normalized, the salesguy said. The gauges are kinda meh. Central display is very useful but design-wise could have gone full digital or full round and the 2 side gauges look cheap.
But beyond all that, what the Passport does best is practicality and Space, Space and more Space. That’s the advantage of building down from a 3 row. It’s got one of the biggest cargo spaces in the class, 41.2 CuFt and the seats fall flat down and it’s YUGE! Back seats are also comfortable and they recline. I had a lot of leg room at 5'11" and TONS of head space without all the coupe profile bullshit.
Driving Impressions: Drives like any other big crossover. It sits tall, but doesn’t feel too big lengthwise, but does feel wide. Visibility is actually very good because of the big windows, I liked that the side mirrors were also big. Overall very manageable.
On to the performance. The pedal is a little sensitive, and the engine has good response but you must bury your foot into it to get the best out of the V6, it revs smooth and strong. Car & Driver tested this at 5.8 seconds but I would say with Sport mode on and flooring it you’d do around 6ish which is very good. The 9 speed is excellent, unobtrusive and smooth and when you want it, it readily downshifts.
Handling is what it is, with body roll and all that weight, but I tell you what, the iVTM4 AWD system is excellent. I purposefully floored it from a stop into a turn and it performs beautifully moving torque controls understeer and wheelspin. I had the AWD display on all the time and I could see it do its thing in real time and feel it too. It handles well for the size but actual feel is absent but understand this is basically a Pilot, same wheelbase. Brakes pedal feels mushy but brakes work well. The steering is a let down, artificial and numb but it’s fine no one’s taking this on a canyon road even though I’m sure it will handle it. It’s quiet on the highway and the suspension is well balanced, not harsh nor sporty. Soaks up bumps well. From the reviews it does some “soft-roading” well but let’s stop kidding ourselves. All those offroad drive modes are for Snow and the occasional dirt trail up to a cabin/campground.
The biggest hit against this is the price. I think it’s overpriced and several reviewers said it as well. People might just opt for “more car for the money” and take a one level lower Pilot vs a higher trim level Passport. They better start putting some discounts on these things. However I may be wrong and this might be the perfect 2 row that people had been waiting for, for those who want a bigger V6 Forester perhaps? With the loss of the XT? The competition is Ford Edge, Santa Fe, Blazer (Another extremely overpriced 2 row, even more than this), Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee (in Honda’s words, LOL) perhaps an Outback.
This is not my type of vehicle even as a dadmobile, but if I were in this market I would still choose the Passport for the V6+ AWD system and space, but the EX-L trim at around $38K. It’s got most of the stuff you need.
Overall, everything was “Nice”, “Good” but nothing blew me away but that’s exactly what a lot of people want I guess. This is a solidly built, practical, good performing, potentially very reliable, spacious crossover with the tech and safety and nice V6 power with the excellent torque vectoring i-VTM4 from a trusted brand in a world of turbo 4, CVT, FWD till it slips AWD 2 row crossovers. I’d recommend it to anyone who can afford it.