CHATHAM, Mass. – I was happy when the 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport showed up recently for review, a perfect vehicle to combat potential New England winter weather. Luckily, I did not have to fight anything more than near-freezing cold during the rewarding time behind the Pilot’s heated steering wheel, sitting in the leather-covered heated seats.
Powerful V6 the heart of this Honda
Honda equips all three trim levels of its Passport mid-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with its 3.5-liter, 24-valve, single-overhead camshaft i-VTEC® V6 engine. The i-VTEC indicates variable valve timing which improves airflow, part of the engineering which allows the engine to produce 280 horsepower and 262 foot-pounds of torque. (Enough to pull a trailer of up to 5,000 pounds.)
This power flows through an automatic nine-speed transmission (with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters supplementing the console-mounted pushbutton transmission selector) into the Honda i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system which is standard on all versions of the 2024 Passport.
According to Honda, “optimized for foul-weather and off-road situations, i-VTM4 uses its torque vectoring to distribute power to all four wheels” as conditions and driver actions dictate.
Furthermore, i-VTM4 uses input from the push-button-operated Intelligent Traction Management system to further refine the operation through four different modes: Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand.
Off-road suspension works well on-road
As mentioned, I luckily had little opportunity to evaluate this system’s capabilities in very inclement weather, but tackling twisting roads in Wellfleet and Truro, Massachusetts was drama free, even during driving rain. I pushed the 4,229-pound SUV down the curving mountain road from the Atlantic Ocean into Wellfleet without any concern.
This action came while comfortably riding on a suspension system tuned for off-road prowess. The components are like those of other Passports – MacPherson-type struts, stabilizer bar up front, multi-link, stabilizer bar at the rear – but feature revised spring rates, enhanced damper valve tuning and optimized stabilizer bars for increased articulation and improved off-road ride quality.
The 18-inch aluminum wheels are shod with 245/60R18 105T General Grabber™ all-terrain tires, the first application of A/T rubber on a Passport.
All 2024 Passports come with Honda Sensing® advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) including: Collision Mitigation Braking System™; road departure mitigation system; forward collision warning; lane departure warning; lane keeping assist system; adaptive cruise control; blind spot information system; cross traffic monitor; auto high-beam headlights, and parking sensors (front and rear).
Technology, amenities fill the interior
Honda does not call the 2024 Passport TrailSport a premium or luxury vehicle, but the quantity and quality of the amenities, conveniences and technology features standard in this model makes this seem like an oversight.
The power-adjustable front seats (10-way plus lumbar and memory for the driver; four-way for the passenger) and second row (split 60/40) are leather trimmed as is the heated steering wheel which has tilt/telescoping adjustability.
An automatic three-zone climate control system with humidity control and air filtration, working with heated front seats, tackled the New England winter well.
At the top, center of the dash sits the eight-inch color-LCD touchscreen, the heart of the navigation-included infotainment system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming are included in the system’s audio sources which is pumped through seven speakers (including subwoofer) by a 215-Watt amplifier.
The Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with voice recognition and Honda HD digital traffic works very well and provides four somewhat unique and helpful bits of information whenever the map is shown:
- The name of the next intersecting road
- Position relative to sea level
- Road being traveled
- Direction of travel
Also, standard is a power moonroof with manual sunshade.
USB-A, USB-C and 12-Volt power outlets are distributed throughout the cabin and storage areas to power mobile devices, connect mobile devices to the infotainment system and power accessories.
One nice, unusual feature is the two levels of storage compartments on the front inner panels (photo in carousel) which include a convenient bottle holder (supplementing the two center-console cupholders). The door storage is in addition to a wider center console than previous Passports, large enough for two large smartphones to sit side-by-side in a space ahead of the gear selector switches (with the left side including a wireless charge pad).
Solid mid-size SUV value
Living with the Passport TrailSport was quite enjoyable. Fuel economy during my time with the Honda, 22.6 miles per gallon, exceeded the federal Environmental Protection Agency rating of 21 mpg overall (19 urban, 24 highway).
Price is obviously a significant part of any value proposition. Honda offers three flavors of Passport for 2024. The EX-L is the entry-level version but with standard equipment like the V6, AWD, Honda Sensing suite, tri-zone automatic climate control, 215-Watt audio system, and leather-trimmed seats: the $41,900 price brings a comprehensively equipped vehicle.
At the top of the range is the $47,970 Black Edition which adds ventilated front seats, a more powerful audio system and other features when compared to the $44,500 TrailSport like I drove. The TrailSport described in this report had no options – all the features and equipment detailed came standard, thus further evidence of the vehicle’s value.
No vehicle is perfect, regardless of the sticker price, but the 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport provides excellent SUV value at a more than competitive price.