The Honda Passport was reintroduced into the market for the 2019 model year after a 17-year hiatus. Previously a re-badged Isuzu Rodeo, the Honda Passport is now an all-original, five-passenger SUV that fills the void between the Honda CR-V and Honda Pilot. While it has served its purpose and celebrated some mild sales success in the past year, Consumer Reports gave it low rankings compared to other models in Hondas line up. Let’s see why.
Is the Passport a bad SUV?
The new Honda Passport debuted for the 2019 model year, which was the first year of this new iteration. As we have seen with many other first-year models of any new generation, they tend to have a few issues here and there. Just like any other new product, such as electronics, we usually recommend buying the second year or newer to make sure that all the kinks are worked out. So that’s not to say that the Honda Passport is a bad car, Honda just needs to fix a couple of things.
Overall, the Honda Passport has been well-received by critics in the past year. Car and Driver has taken their long-term Passport on multiple trips and only reported back that the driver-assist features can be overly sensitive at times. And U.S. News even gave the Honda Passport the “Best 2-Row SUV for Families” award, stating that they liked the cargo and passenger room as well as the excellent safety ratings.
Why did it score low?
The Honda Passport competes with the likes of the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. And while it’s technological features and handsome interior do serve up a healthy dose of competitiveness in its segment, it’s ride quality and marginal handling characteristics were pain points, according to Consumer Reports.
Overall, the Honda Passport scored a low 59 out of 100 as compared to its stablemates with the lowest-scoring category being reliability. It’s surprising, but a closer look reveals that Consumer Reports gave the Passport a 2 out of 5 rating in both “climate system” and “in-car electronics.” We found multiple Honda forum posts on the climate issue with a few current Passport owners stating that their air conditioning was low on freon despite the fact that the car was new. Luckily, others stated that Honda dealers were fixing it for free.
As far as the in-car electronics issue, we found multiple current owner complaints about the over-sensitive or finicky driver-assist features, just like Car and Driver found. The complaint included issues with the forward-collision warning system trigger during rainy days or detecting oncoming cars when driving on a two-lane road and braking unnecessarily.
Is the Honda Passport worth buying?
While the issues reported here took a heavy toll on the Consumer Reports ratings for the 2019 Honda Passport, we would still recommend the car. It has garnered great reviews and although it’s not without its hiccups, the issues seem pretty minor and can most likely be fixed under warranty.
If you’re still unsure, then we would recommend purchasing a 2020 Honda Passport, as your luck might fare better than those that purchased the first-year 2019 model.