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The Honda Passport is a handsome, versatile midsize SUV. But is the 2023 Honda Passport a good off-road SUV? Let’s find out.

The Honda Passport is a crossover with light off-road capability

The 2023 Honda Passport TrailSport climbs an off-road obstacle in a desert landscape.
2023 Honda Passport TrailSport | Honda

The Honda Passport isn’t a truck-based SUV like some of its competitors. While rivals like the Toyota 4Runner use a body-on-frame design for durability and off-road capability, the Passport uses a unibody design. Unibody architecture is lighter and more rigid than body-on-frame but typically isn’t as strong as an off-road platform.

Does the Honda Passport have four-wheel drive?

No – the Honda Passport does not have four-wheel drive.

According to MotorTrend, Honda offers the Passport with an available all-wheel drive system. This type of system is usually better for on-road use and handling typical daily driving obstacles like snow and rain. While it can be helpful off-road, all-wheel drive isn’t as rugged as traditional four-wheel drive.

How does it perform on real trails?

According to one test, the Passport TrailSport fares decently on off-road trails but falls short of truck-based competitors.

Automotive journalist and YouTube creator Ben Hardy took the Passport TrailSport onto a decently rugged trail to test its off-road meddle. The video shows the trail consists mainly of light-to-moderate all-terrain sections with dirt and rocks.

Hardy demonstrates that the Passport TrailSport handles the lighter stuff with ease. However, when he gets to steeper sections, the SUV starts to struggle.

A couple of factors are at play here. For one, the Passport’s independent suspension setup means its wheels can’t articulate as well as a rig with a solid axle. That means getting wheels on the ground at weird angles is harder.

The Passport also struggles at more strenuous obstacles due to its all-wheel drive system. It has no locking differential or low range to help force torque to the wheels. Instead, it relies on electric torque vectoring. The system can’t cope like a traditional four-wheel drive system.

Is the Honda Passport worth it?

The Honda Passport is worth driving if you’re looking for an SUV that serves as a good all-rounder.

It’s far from the best off-road SUV on the market. Still, the Passport TrailSport package has more capability than the average crossover and the platform’s inherent comfort and convenience advantages.

The strength of the Honda Passport is in its versatility. Whether hauling the family around town or traversing snowy roads, it’s an SUV that does a bit of everything well. The Passport could be a great alternative if a Grand Cherokee or Subaru Outback isn’t your cup of tea.


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