What if you could have a vehicle suited for families but was also capable of off-road adventuring? Meet the 2022 Honda Passport, a mid-size SUV that garners everything you’d expect from a newly-released vehicle, but it goes beyond this in fascinating ways. For drivers with families aboard, the SUV portion of the Passport will give you the space, comfort, and safety features designed to get everyone to their destination safely. However, today we’ll be focusing on the capabilities of this year’s Passport because we feel this is where Honda’s popular SUV truly shines against much of its competition.
Getting a better understanding of the 2022 Passport’s capabilities requires digging deeper into a few things. The performance of the SUV itself is an important piece of the puzzle, but underlying components specializing in off-roading, of which there are many, is the second piece. Combined, this blend of performance and versatility pushes the Passport much further than many of us could have anticipated. As a relative newcomer onto the scene, the Passport still may have something to prove for aspiring shoppers, but being new doesn’t inherently mean it’s riddled with early-adopter problems; quite the opposite. The first thing to note, however, is the 2022 Passport starts at $37,870, but if you’re serious about off-roading, the TrailSport should be your trim of choice, thanks to its entire design philosophy surrounding the mastery of your favorite trails. Are you ready? Good, let’s get started.
General Performance Is Generally Stunning
SUVs are no stranger to generally admirable performance, but for an SUV such as the 2022 Passport, with its goal of sufficient off-roading, it needs a powertrain to suit the bill. The best part is the 3.5L V6 engine not only suffices in this regard, but its capabilities translate over to the six other trim levels too. That’s right; every trim level will come with the same engine, which makes the base level Passport a far more appealing offer than competitors with weaker engines. In most cases, a turbocharged I-4 can’t keep up with the Passport’s V6, more surprisingly, even fuel efficiency in some cases.
The 3.5L V6 engine inside the Passport is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission, which plays nicely with the V6 to give you a smooth, yet punchy driving experience during general traversal. Avoiding the bland contemporary feeling associated with many automatic vehicles, the Passport includes paddle shifters for the driver to manually adjust the gears as they see fit. With that said, drivers can expect to see 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque with this engine, plus you’ll be getting a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. This is important because the Passport offers a few amenities for drivers looking to tow with their SUV, such as tow hooks, for example. Interestingly, this is the same setup for the 2022 Pilot and its TrailSport trim, so it may be familiar to some of you, even if you’ve driven a Passport from within the last few years.
A large part of capability is undoubtedly fuel efficiency. What’s the point of an adventure if your vehicle will run out of gas halfway there? Or, better yet, why should you be constantly seeking gas stations while out and about? Normally speaking, mid-size SUVs aren’t always well known for their fuel-efficient abilities, likely due to a misconception linked to the size of the vehicle. The 3.5L V6 inside of the 2022 Passport gives drivers the kind of efficiency you’d normally find in a smaller sedan. FWD models will fare better with 20 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway, but if you’re hoping to do far more with your vehicle than commuting, then AWD will be your best choice, and you’ll still be getting excellent EPA-estimated ratings of 19 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway.
Off-Roading Done Right
Off-roading takes more than just a powerful engine – it requires a modest set of features designed to go off the beaten path and onto the road less traveled. The Passport has this feature set, and it all starts with AWD. Because each wheel can act independently as needed, the randomness of the trail will fare better for controlling the vehicle at all times. While some drivers may have preferred 4WD instead, AWD transmissions have advantages and will likely fare you better in a variety of off-roading moments. This means as long as you’re not scaling a mountain, the Passport should do everything the average driver with occasional adventuring in mind would want and need it to do.
No matter where you take your 2022 Passport, it’ll be equipped to handle the terrain. If the moment calls for it, the Passport allows drivers to toggle between four drive modes instantaneously. These traction modes include Normal, Snow, Mud, and Sand. While it may seem rudimentary on the surface, it’s when you think of the potential use cases for each one where the versatility of the Passport and its Intelligent Traction Management becomes immediately noticeable.
Normal mode travel is self-explanatory, but it can get quite snowy in certain parts of the country, which is where you will want to switch to Snow mode. Combined with AWD, the Passport is a vehicle you can trust with your life when it’s snowing out, which is of crucial importance when driving the kids to school, yourself to work, etc. The Mud and Sand modes are useful for off-roading scenarios, whether you’re driving through a wet dirt trail or you’re driving on the beach during summer vacation on a beautiful August night.
There are two more aspects of the Passport that help it perform considerably well when off-roading. First, its exclusive 18-inch rugged-style tires are designed for just about anything. Whether it be gravel, snow, sand, mud, ice, and of course, hail, or rainfall, these tires ensure you’re always in control of your vehicle. Because of their articulate design, they aren’t half-bad looking either! These tires will come standard on the TrailSport, which is the icing on the cake for that trim level. The second aspect is its 4-Wheel Independent Suspension, which essentially means the obstacles of one wheel won’t affect the others. So if the rear-right wheel goes over a rock, the rear-left wheel won’t react to the sudden incline. This is crucial for off-roading of any kind.
Capability Is Crucial
Capable is what SUVs strive to be, but it doesn’t always work out for every manufacturer. However, Honda is showing that their ambitious plans have come to fruition with the capable 2022 Passport. This is a vehicle with a hunger for adventure, but entirely sufficient for everyday usage, with enough room for families too, is nothing short of ambitious.
The Passport may only be in its third year on the market since its return – the original model was discontinued in 2002 – it’s looking like an old pro at this point, and it has firmly nestled itself between Honda’s wide catalog. Upon its revival, results have been nothing short of incredible. Both fans and critics alike have expressed interest in the Passport, and Honda has already made several noticeable changes since its return to the dealership lot. For the most part, each year brings along something new, and innovation is the driving force between everything Honda plans to do with this SUV, which has new life breathed into it. Honda has made it clear – this is the SUV for just about anybody, and if you’re thinking about purchasing a new Honda vehicle, then the Passport is the one for you.