Test Drive Notes Library
- Roomy. The Passport fits in between Honda's smaller CR-V and the larger, three-row Honda Pilot. While lacking the extra length of the Pilot and its third row of seats, the Passport nonetheless is wide and feels very roomy. There’s more than enough hip, shoulder, and elbow room to please the widest-bodied Americans. A high roof adds to the feeling of plentiful space.
- Smooth. The engine transmission combination is like buttah, as Linda Richman of Coffee Talk would put it. The nine-speed automatic transmission in paired with Honda’s 3.5 liter 280 horsepower V6. Power is readily available and the shifts are pretty much unnoticeable. Interestingly, Honda set up the gas pedal so that you have to really step on it to get the Passport to jump off the line. The significant upside of that is that starts are very smooth, which our passengers appreciated. You get some body lean on turns, but on the highway, the Passport cruises quietly and smoothly.
- Good ergonomics. With one exception (see below), the Passport’s ergonomics make life simple. There’s a clear heating and cooling set up, steering wheel controls, and Apple Car Play and Android Auto for the infotainment system. The touch screen starts a bit slowly, but works well and is well positioned.
- Interior. We like the wide interior, the thin A-pillars for the good visibility they provide, the well-padded doors and arm rests, and the usual Honda cornucopia of storage bins, nooks, and crannies. There’s a bin between the front seats that's deep enough to drill for oil.
- Safety. We love that Honda Sensing comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping, and a sophisticated rear view camera. We also love that blind spot detection comes on all but the lowest trim level.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Stiff ride. The shorter wheel base takes away some of the ride comfort you get in the larger Honda Pilot. While not uncomfortable, you do feel the rough pavement inside the cabin. Depending on what type of roads you drive on, you may notice it.
- Styling. To us, the Passport looks like a Ford Edge in its awkward, early adolescent period. It’s rather tall, which makes the wheels look small. But it’s designed to be roomy inside, which it certainly is.
- Transmission gear selector. Honda has switched over to a push-button gear selector, to which we see no advantage. It requires you to look at it when you’re choosing gears, which is a step backwards from a standard shift lever. We unthinkingly pulled the reverse switch a couple of times while parking and intending to go forward. While you’re probably not as dumb as we are, it still seems to require more attention than it should. It seems like an update without progress.
- Blind spot light. Honda inserted a black plastic plate at the bottom of what we used to call the “vent window” to house the blind spot alert light. First of all, the plastic piece is 10 times as big as the light, so it unnecessarily takes away from visibility. But more to the point, the blind spot light could be larger and brighter, and therefore more effective.
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