Honda, long known for excellent “commodity” cars and a few truly brilliant sport-compacts, is leaning into the adventure market with the TrailsSport moniker. The new trim level bundles some added practicality with a slightly more rugged personality, and it’s available on two of the automaker’s most popular offerings – the Pilot and the Passport.
After two full weeks behind the wheel of a 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport, I came away pretty impressed, but not really by anything the supposedly rugged package adds. There are a few cosmetic upgrades and standard rubber floor mats, and the smaller, 18-inch wheels pair with a taller tire sidewall for some added confidence when driving down a rutted road – 20s are standard elsewhere in the Passport lineup. But the TrailSport still makes do with all-season (rather than all-terrain) tires, and there isn’t a suspension lift or added underbody shielding.
Honda is righting some of those wrongs with the forthcoming 2023 Pilot TrailSport, which will boast off-road–specific shocks, springs, and sway bars, as well as all-terrain tires and a lifted stance. The Passport, however, is merely a stylish upgrade of the admittedly comfy and spacious mid-size crossover, as I learned after nearly 2,000 miles behind the wheel.
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|Quick Stats||2022 Honda Passport TrailSport|
|Output||280 Horsepower / 262 Pound-Feet|
|Efficiency||19 City / 24 Highway / 21 Combined MPG|
|Price As Tested||$44,660|
The Passport got a pretty attractive facelift for 2022, following the lead of the 2021 Ridgeline with a higher hood and squarer front grille, as well as a new rear bumper with an aggressive pair of round exhaust outlets. The TrailSport enhances that look further with faux skid plates front and rear, those aforementioned 18-inch wheels with a stylish silver-gray color scheme, and gloss black badging (with orange accents on the trim-specific logo). The wheels also contribute to a 10-millimeter-wider track, and although the tires are mere all-seasons, their sidewall design is a bit more aggressive and stylish.
Inside, changes are minimal. The TrailSport trim brings a whole lot of orange to the otherwise-black interior, with citrus-tinged ambient lighting, contrast stitching for the seats, and TrailSport logos embroidered into the front headrests and embossed into the rubber floor mats. Otherwise, this is the same dated-looking but very convenient cabin we’ve appreciated in the Pilot, Ridgeline, and Passport since 2016.
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If there’s one thing the Passport gets absolutely right, it’s passenger comfort. The front seats are luxobarge-cushy, which is usually a recipe for absolutely terrible long-distance support. But even after eight hours behind the wheel, my hind parts never fell asleep and the adjustable lumbar kept my spine in check. The sliding rear seat allows you to prioritize passenger or cargo space, and with it all the way back, there’s a prodigious amount of legroom – with a reclining seatback and plenty of toe space under the front seats so you can really stretch out. Measurements for both rows fall near the top of the segment.
|Headroom F/R||Legroom F/R||Cargo Space, Seats Up/Down|
|Honda Passport||39.5 / 40.0 Inches||40.9 / 39.6 Inches||41.2 / 77.7 Cubic Feet|
|Chevrolet Blazer||38.0 / 36.8 Inches||41.0 / 39.6 Inches||30.5 / 64.2 Cubic Feet|
|Ford Edge||40.2 / 40.3 Inches||42.6 / 40.6 Inches||39.2 / 73.4 Cubic Feet|
|Hyundai Santa Fe||39.5 / 37.8 Inches||44.1 / 41.7 Inches||36.4 / 72.1 Cubic Feet|
|Kia Sorento||40.3 / 39.1 Inches||40.3 / 39.1 Inches||38.5 / 75.5 Cubic Feet|
|Toyota Venza||38.6 / 39.0 Inches||40.9 / 37.8 Inches||28.8 / 55.1 Cubic Feet|
Cargo space, on the other hand, is decisively best-in-class. With an SAE-verified 41.2 cubic feet with the second row up or 77.7 with it folded, there’s tons of space back there for big goodies – like an extra-large dog crate, a week’s worth of puppy chow, and enough human cold-weather gear to survive a family vacation to the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. What’s more, Honda also includes a clever underfloor storage cubby for muddy gear, bringing the total cargo space to 50.5 cubic feet with the rear seat upright and scootched forward.
There’s also plenty of room for smaller stuff, with a cavernous center console storage area that made a great place to stash hats, gloves, and road snacks. I counted 12 cupholders of varying sizes, along with door pockets that are segmented to keep your wallet and phone from sliding about and getting lost. The Passport is an incredibly useful machine.
- Center Display: 8.0-Inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 7.0 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: No
The Honda Passport features a tried-and-true electronics package that breaks no new ground for the segment. The 8.0-inch center touchscreen and 7.0-inch driver gauge display are adequately sized, but nowhere near best-in-class. The infotainment screen is decently responsive, and the on-screen icons are reconfigurable to put your most commonly used functions in their proper place. The graphics look dated, however, and the low-res rearview camera leaves something to be desired. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both require a USB connection as well. At least audio quality is good, and the tech suite is easy to use on the fly.
The 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport is a thoroughly average performer, with 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet coming from its naturally aspirated V6. The nine-speed automatic transmission dispatches shifts reasonably well, keeping the Passport in the meat of its somewhat narrow torque band, but you’d better expect plenty of high-rpm cruising if your freeway route includes hills. At least the engine sounds refined and muscular – Honda just knows how to tune V6s properly.
Apart from that plaudit, there aren’t many compliments or gripes I can lob at the Passport. The steering is too light, but it’s accurate, and the comfort-tuned suspension can still handle a curvy road without much protest. Few customers will have anything to complain – or brag – about.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
- NHTSA Rating: Five Stars
- IIHS Rating: Rated, Not Ranked
The Passport comes standard with Honda Sensing active driver assistance, bundling adaptive cruise control, lane departure prevention, forward collision monitoring, and automatic emergency braking. It also gets blind spot monitoring standard. However, the adaptive cruise only works at speeds above 19 mph or so, meaning you’ll have to step in to bring the crossover to a complete stop. And the lane centering technology is both oversensitive with its warnings and lackluster in its operation – I turned it off because I didn’t feel like it was doing enough work to justify the constant bing-bonging if I so much as looked at a lane line.
A marginal side-impact score prevents the Passport from achieving the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick rating, but otherwise, it aced the agency’s crashworthiness tests.
The Honda Passport’s fuel economy ratings come up short, both against other V6-powered competitors like the Chevrolet Blazer and Jeep Grand Cherokee and against the turbo-four and hybridized challengers from Ford, Toyota, Kia, and Hyundai. For what it’s worth, I had little trouble achieving the combined rating of 21 mpg, but my most efficient freeway tank was only 23.1 mpg – down a bit on the EPA’s estimate.
The base Honda Passport EX-L starts at $39,665 with destination and includes features like a leather interior with heated front seats, a power moonroof, and Honda Sensing active safety. Getting competitive power and features from the Santa Fe will demand at least $40,000, although the Kia Sorento is more attainable at just over $37,000 comparably equipped.
Step into the TrailSport and your minimum investment is $44,265 – $44,660 if you want my tester’s attractive, pearlescent Sonic Gray paint. That’s a fair amount of money considering the lackluster fuel economy and dated cabin styling. At the same time, the Passport is still one of the most comfortable vehicles in this segment, with a smooth ride and impressive space helping compensate for those aforementioned sacrifices.
Gallery: 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport Review
2022 Honda Passport TrailSport