A Passport Trailsport makes sense to us.
The off-road territory is slowly getting crowded. Ford has a brand new body-on-frame Bronco to take on the segment leader, the Jeep Wrangler, and that’s something we’ve been waiting for years to happen. We even imagined General Motors entering the competition but it turns out another manufacturer could actually be looking at grabbing a piece of the pie.
If a new patent filing is anything to go by, Honda could be actively considering offering a more hardcore off-road vehicle. Or vehicles. Unearthed by CarBuzz, the application on the “Trailsport” name is obviously registered for use in "automobiles and automobile structural parts” but that doesn’t tell us a lot. Our source speculates the moniker could be used on off-road-focused machines with one or several models to be included in the range.
Gallery: 2019 Honda Passport Elite: Review
If we take a look at Honda’s current model lineup, the Passport strikes as the most obvious candidate for the new Trailsport treatment. In the past, the model shared a body-on-frame chassis with the Isuzu Rodeo and it is still being actively promoted as a “rugged midsize SUV.” It may not be on par with the Bronco in terms of off-road capabilities but a few suspension tweaks plus some design upgrades could make it a proper Wrangler rival.
As CarBuzz mentions, the closely related Ridgeline truck “would certainly make sense as a recipient of a Trailsport badge as well.” After all, with the Gladiator, Jeep already has a rugged compact pickup and there are rumors for a direct competitor based on the new Bronco.
Of course, these are mostly speculations at this point. Sometimes automakers often take that one extra step to protect a name without even having actual plans for it. Only time will tell whether that’s the case with Honda’s “Trailsport” filing.