With so many mid-size SUVs to choose from how do buyers determine which one best suits their overall wants and need? Well, if you can relate to this, you may find some compelling reasons to go with Honda’s Passport over the competition. It’s priced right, it has all the luxuries of a much more expensive SUV, and it gets decent gas mileage.
It has not been around for 17 years, having left the market after the 2002 model year. The original Passport was the result of a partnership with Isuzu, another Japanese manufacturer, which re-badged its Rodeo SUV as the Passport.
The other half of the equation was that Honda re-badged its Odyssey minivan as an Isuzu Oasis.
That first Passport was an SUV of its time, built like a truck with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, a five-speed manual gearbox and a 120-horsepower, 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine. A 3.2-liter V6 with 175 horsepower and a four-speed automatic transmission was optional.
Though there still are truck-based SUVs around, crossover sales have been exploding, dominating sales of traditional sedans. In 2018, crossovers achieved a 38-percent share of the vehicle market compared to 31-percent for cars. Crossover SUVs are built like cars, with unit bodies and, usually, front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive.
Though justifiably proud of its sedans, Honda is a captive of the trend. In 2018, the company sold 624,122 crossovers — the small HR-V, compact CR-V and three-row Pilot. The number does not include its Odyssey minivan or Ridgeline pickup truck, both classified as light trucks.
In the same year, Honda sold a total of 684,815 cars, including five models: the compact Civic, midsize Accord, subcompact Fit, hybrid Insight and the Clarity, available as an electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-fueled electric.
Honda claims supremacy in sales for its Civic and Accord. But unlike other makes, it counts only retail sales to individuals, not fleet sales to rental car and other multiple-unit buyers.
With the 2019 Passport, Honda’s offerings likely will soon tilt in favor of crossovers over cars, no matter how they are counted. That’s because the Passport plugs a gap in the company’s crossover lineup.
It’s a midsize, based on and slotted just below the three-row Pilot and above the compact CR-V and entry-level HR-V, which is marketed as a subcompact but is so roomy it would be considered midsize if it were a car. The U.S. government classifies cars by interior volume as subcompact, compact, midsize and large. Crossovers are classified by whatever you think.
Source: Providence Journal