In the market for a new midsize SUV? If you’re looking for one that’s safe and reliable, you can’t go wrong with Honda. For decades, the automaker has churned out popular models renowned for their dependability. And if you have more passengers or cargo than a sedan can comfortably carry, consider the 2022 Honda Pilot and Passport.
A look at the 2022 Honda Pilot
The 2022 Honda Pilot is a solid performer for a midsize SUV. Its nine-speed automatic transmission pairs with a 3.5-liter V6 engine generating 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy is respectable at 20/27 mpg city/highway. Precision steering and rapid acceleration mitigate the occasional harsh gear shifting, but overall, Pilot drivers and passengers will enjoy a smooth ride.
Inside, however, owners might find the Pilot a bit lacking. The interior hasn’t seen a refresh since 2016, and the latest version doesn’t offer many cosmetic changes. Still, despite its dated interior, occupants will enjoy the roomy cabin. In fact, the Pilot can comfortably seat up to eight passengers.
And the cargo hold offers 16.5 cubic feet of space, growing to 46.8 cubic feet with the third row folded down. Hauling only gear? Drop the second row, too, and enjoy 83.8 cubic feet of cargo room, according to Honda.
The Pilot’s base model comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. A seven-speaker sound system also comes standard, as do advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic emergency braking.
Those features, along with the Pilot’s sturdy design, have earned this midsize SUV a perfect five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Overview of the 2022 Honda Passport
However, if you don’t need a three-row SUV and are looking for a lower price point, the Honda Passport is a viable option. Reintroduced for the 2019 model year after an initial production run from 1993 to 2002, the Passport is a shorter version of the Pilot.
It shares the same 3.5-liter V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission and generates the same horsepower and torque. However, its fuel economy is a bit worse, at 20/25 mpg city/highway. It also doesn’t handle as well as the Pilot, given poor body control.
Like the Honda Pilot, the Passport provides ample cargo space. In fact, it offers more than any other SUV in its segment, with a cargo hold measuring 41.2 cubic feet. With the back row down, that grows to 77.9 cubic feet. However, expect considerable wind and road noise inside the Passport’s cabin.
Like the Pilot, the base Passport comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a seven-speaker audio system. There are also many advanced safety features, though if you’re looking for rear cross-traffic alert or blind-spot monitoring, you’ll need to upgrade to a trim level higher than the base model. The Passport also earned a five-star NHTSA rating.
So, which Honda SUV is better?
Whether you’ll find the Honda Pilot or Passport better depends on your needs. For example, if you have a large family, you’ll find the three-row Pilot the better option. The Passport might be adequate for a couple of children, but any more than that, and road trips (kids plus luggage) might be an ordeal.
Further, though the Pilot and Passport received perfect overall ratings from the NHTSA, the Pilot earned top scores on all six of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crashworthiness tests. However, the Passport got top scores on only five of the six.
The Pilot and Passport share the same powertrain. However, the Pilot gets more miles per gallon on the highway than the Passport. And if you’re looking for road performance, pick the Pilot, which handles better than the Passport. But the latter is a bit less expensive, starting at $32,790, than the Pilot’s $36,830.
Plus, unlike the Pilot, whose design has remained the same for the past few years, the 2022 Honda Passport has undergone an exterior refresh that updates its bumpers, grille, and wheel designs.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a less expensive, more rugged-looking SUV, the Passport is a solid pick. But if you have a bit bigger budget, need more passenger and cargo space, and prioritize performance and safety, opt for the Pilot.