Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Honda Passport Still Can’t Measure up To the Pilot

The Pilot is undoubtedly one of Honda’s most well-known SUVs, but the Japanese automaker is hoping to tempt some potential owners in with the Passport. It’s got a lot to offer for anyone who isn’t looking for a family vehicle, but some may wonder how it compares to the Pilot. Autotrader has the answer to this and more. 

What is the Honda Passport?

The Honda Passport is the younger sibling of the Honda Pilot, and was designed to compete with the likes of the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Nissan Murano. It is slightly larger than the compact Honda CR-V, but smaller than the Pilot.

According to Autotrader, the Pilot comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive comes standard on all model trims except for the Elite. For drivers who want Honda’s i-VTM4 AWD system, it’s optional. No matter which engine choice is made, a 9-speed automatic transmission comes standard.

The fuel mileage isn’t terrible. According to the EPA, the Honda Passport gets 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway/22 mpg combined on FWD models. For those who opt for the AWD, the Passport gets 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

Honda is upping its game a little by making an 8-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration standard on all trim levels, which might pull in some consumers that would otherwise choose to go with another competitor. The Honda Sensing driver aid system also comes standard.

For those looking to get out on the water on the weekend, Autotrader says the Passport can tow up to 5,000 pounds if equipped with the optional towing package.

The price range isn’t that bad for what you’ll get. It starts at $33,710 and goes up to $45,100 for the Elite trim. 

How does the Passport compare to the Pilot?

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Since the Honda Passport is based on the Pilot, there are a lot of similarities, with a few notable differences sprinkled in. The most major difference is the fact that the Pilot is a three-row SUV, whereas the Passport is only a two-row SUV.

According to Autotrader, “Shorter than the Pilot by just over six inches, the Passport is also wider and taller. The resulting higher ground clearance and superior approach and departure angles mean the Passport has greater off-road abilities than its 3-row sibling.”

The Pilot also gets better fuel mileage. It gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined for FWD engines. The AWD gets 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

Is the 2021 Honda Passport worth the money you’ll invest?

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One of Autotrader’s major complaints was that the drive quality of the Passport doesn’t measure up to what drivers get on the Pilot. The Jeep Wrangler is notorious for being a terrible daily driver, and it appears the Passport might be in the same category.

The Honda Passport isn’t nearly as bad as the Wrangler, but it definitely doesn’t stand up to the driving capabilities of the Pilot. Of course, the Pilot sets the standard pretty high, so that’s not too surprising. 

The other complaint Autotrader has was “The Passport’s only ergonomic mess-up is shifting between Park, Drive and Reverse requires pushing or pulling buttons on the center console. Even a rotary shifter is less confusing and requires less time to operate.”

Other than that, Autotrader didn’t really have much to complain about. With that being said, unless you simply don’t want a third row, the Honda Pilot is a much better buy.