If you’re looking to get behind the wheel of Honda’s entrant in the two-row midsize crossover segment, be prepared to open your wallet a bit further than last year. A first blush, it might appear as if Honda jacked prices skyward by five grand but the reality is actually a lot simpler – they simply binned the base model.
In the 2021 model year, it was possible to find an entry-level Passport Sport (PasSport?) wearing a sticker of $32,790. If you were able to slum it with the poors and endure the ignominy of cloth seats and a manually-operated hatch, it may have been a good fit. For 2022, the Passport EX-L now represents the entry point of Honda’s 5-passenger rig, priced at $37,870.
The company asserts this decision is “reflecting customer demand” which generally means no one was buying the cheapest model. However, we will point out the Sport had several unique bits, including those cloth seats mentioned earlier. Surely economies of scale dictate that installing the same seats in all Passports will be pleasing to Honda’s pencil-necked beancounters. There’s no need to order manual tailgates from the supplier anymore, either.
To be sure, there is a price hike to the tune of about $1,000 across the board, but that’s par for the course these days. Inserting itself into the Honda lineup, and ostensibly replacing the Touring trim in the Passport pecking order, is the new TrailSport. That variant is designed in the image of machines such as the Outback Wilderness, adding 0.4 inches of track width and more aggressive-looking front and rear bumpers. Ground clearance is exactly the same as other all-wheel-drive trims, however, at 8.1 inches. All Passports wear new clothes ahead of the A-pillar for 2022, incorporating a fresh squared-off nose and more upright grille. If you think it’s attempting to shake a minivan-ish image, you’re probably right.
Every ’22 Passport is equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine making 280 horsepower, hooked to a 9-speed automatic (no CVTs here, thankfully). American-spec models have the choice of front-wheel drive on the EX-L only, where all-wheel drive is a $2,100 option. TrailSport and top-rung Elite trims have power going to each corner as standard equipment. Passports are good for 5,000 pounds of towing, making them one of the burlier options in this segment, at least without adding extra-cost equipment.
In this topsy-turvy year of car sales, Honda has shifted 45,733 Passport through to the end of October. That’s better than Ridgeline, but well off its best-selling CR-V which found 315,533 homes over the same timeframe. The more expensive Pilot was good for 124,147 sales.[Image: Honda]
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