Tips, Tricks & Trends

Honda Gets Off-Road Ready with Trailsport Models

Clubs centered around overlanding and off-roading have experienced a lift in recent years. So have all the ancillary industries, such as side-by-side ATV/UTVs. Now, Honda may be looking to make a more serious attack on the offroad scene. It may join the likes of Rubicon and TRD Pro packaged vehicles.

A custom white Honda Ridgeline has had some offroad upgrades, like fender flares, a roof rack, and a lift kit.
Custom 2017 Honda Rubicon TRX500 SEMA pickup | Fox Marketing

Honda to take offroad game serious

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, when everybody was in lockdown, people still found a way to enjoy the outdoors without being in close proximity to the masses. That is even evidenced by the growth in RV sales during the lockdown. But, RVs are, for the most part, street vehicles. To get off the beaten path, consumers need vehicles that are better prepared. So, it is not unusual to see an off-road capable vehicle that has an uber-off-road package or accessories and equipment to make a vehicle even more capable of traversing different terrain. That is where lift kits, bigger tires, and other details are added to Jeep Wrangler Rubicons or Toyota TRD Pros. Now, Honda may also be getting into the more serious offroad game with its own Trailsport package.

According to our friends at Carbuzz, a patent application was submitted by Honda for the Trailsport name. It would be used for “automobiles and automobile structural parts.” The application did not provide much clarity beyond that. However, one can speculate.

RELATED: Off-Road UTV Market Won’t Slow Down Anytime Soon, Study Says

What will Honda do with the Trailsport name?

Honda already has several SUVs in its lineup. So, the likelihood of adding another one, a new model with the name Trailsport does not seem plausible. What seems more likely is that the Trailsport name would be added as a trim level to one, or across multiple models. This would me like the TRD trim on Toyota’s, or the Sasquatch package on the new Ford Bronco. Each of these trim levels takes an already capable off-road vehicle and upgrades the suspension to enhance its offroad capabilities even more. Sometimes the appearance of the truck is also enhanced, such as a hood scoop, or a snorkel, or different auxiliary lighting, and beefier bumpers.

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro | Toyota

RELATED: Watch a Jeep Gladiator Overlanding Extreme Build Review

There are a few vehicles that would stand out as recipients of the possible Trailsport package. Looking at the lineup, the Ridgeline pickup, of course, would be the first stand out. Honda has struggled for years to strengthen its inroads in the pickup truck community. A beefier, butcher Ridgeline might help grab some attention for the automaker.

A red Honda Passport runs through a dirt road.
2020 Honda Passport | Honda

RELATED: 5 Reasons Overlanding is Popular

The CR-V and the Passport

The Honda CR-V and Passport models are two other contenders for a possible Trailsport package. Each of them could use an upgrade to the rather bland styling. Minor lift kits, bigger tires, fender flares, and roof cages would do a lot to dress them better for offroad duty, even if they will still probably be considered by the hardcore offroad community as pavement princesses.

The bottom line here is that Honda will have a Trailsport name either on a dedicated model or as a trim package on one or more models. Speculation could go on for hours what exactly Trailsport will be. But, one thing the world now knows is that Honda is looking at trail capability more closely. Otherwise, the name would not make sense. Given that the patent application just went in, it is reasonable then that there should be an announcement coming forward within the next year or two to fully reveal what the company’s plan is.