Honda Passport vs Competitors
The booming SUV market added another truly strong contender for the 2019 model year: the Honda Passport. This tough and capable midsized SUV, which can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, brings back a nameplate that Honda had discontinued in 2002, when production of the original Passport – which was actually a rebranded Isuzu Rodeo – stopped. Today’s Passport is significantly improved, not just because of advances in automotive technology, but also because it’s now 100 percent Honda. Even though it’s the newcomer to the segment, it’s giving a lot of competitors a serious run for their money. Those rivals consist of the Subaru Outback, Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Blazer, and Hyundai Santa Fe. Let’s look more closely at who’s best at what and why.
Power and Capability
Out of the group just mentioned above, only one member of the competition outpowers the Passport: the Grand Cherokee, which has a 293-horsepower base engine, versus the Passport’s 280 hp standard engine (the Jeep carries a slightly higher base MSRP, though). The next-closest horsepower competitor is the Murano, with a 260 hp base engine. The base-trim Outback is the least powerful of the group, mustering just 175 hp out of its standard engine, and the 185 hp Santa Fe base engine isn’t much stronger. The Outback also comes standard with AWD, meaning buyers don’t have a choice (AWD is optional on four of the Passport’s trims and standard on the fifth). On the other hand, the Blazer does not offer AWD on its two lowest trims.
A high percentage of SUV buyers plan on towing – or at least they’d like to know that their vehicle is ready for it should the time come. The Passport delivers nicely, matching the Grand Cherokee with a base towing capacity of 3,500 pounds (in both cases, for the two-wheel drive versions). The AWD Passport and Highlander can tow up to 5,000 lb., while the 4×4 Grand Cherokee with the V6 is the only contender to better them, with a towing capacity of up to 6,200 lb.
Spaciousness and Safety
The Passport offers more superlatives with its cargo capacity, leading this bunch with 100.7 cubic feet with the second row folded down. The next-largest is the Highlander, trailing by a whopping 17 cu. ft. (83.7); the Blazer is the smallest in this comparison, with just 64.2 cu. ft.
The ’19 Passport’s base trim is well equipped with active safety equipment, with the Honda Sensing technology suite coming standard. It packs in adaptive cruise control, lane keeping system, lane departure warning, road departure warning, forward collision mitigation, and more. Although the Highlander comes close, no competitor offers as much standard crash-mitigation technology.