Updated: Apr 1
You (the automotive public) get advertising. We (the automotive journalists) get press materials. Pages and pages of press materials. When I started doing this, there was a binder every year from every manufacturer full of press materials---pricing sheets, trim descriptions, specifications, comparisons with competitors. Now, it's mostly online or PDFs.
I mention it because, as part of its mid-cycle refresh of the Passport, Honda has a 27 page PDF that, in several places, pitches the Passport as a direct competitor of, and superior to, the Toyota 4Runner. Now, I recently (last October) drove and reviewed a 4Runner, and my first thought was "Naaah." The 4Runner is a body-on-frame truck-based SUV. The Passport is a car-based crossover that fits neatly between the Honda Pilot and the Honda CR-V in terms of size and price. And then I dug into the specs. It's not crazy. The Passport is only 1.6 inches shorter than the 4Runner, and it rides on a wheelbase 1.2 inches longer than the Toyota's. The Passport is a tenth of an inch taller and almost three inches wider than the 4Runner.
The Passport's 3.5-liter V6 has 280 horsepower. That's ten more than 4Runner. It has a nine-speed automatic---four more gears than the Toyota. It's considerably quicker to 60 because of that and because the 4Runner weighs almost 400 pounds more. And EPA fuel economy? 19 city/24 highway in all-wheel drive like our tester, vs. 16/19 for an AWD 4Runner.
There are two places where, stock, a 4Runner has a Passport beat---one is ground clearance---nine inches for the Toyota, 7.5 for the Honda.
The other is in rear cargo space, where the 4Runner's 46.3 cubic feet of space is significantly better than the Passport's 41.2.
Rear seat passengers will be a lot more comfortable in the Passport, with 39.6 inches of legroom to the 4Runner's 32.9.
Now, before we go any further, let's wrap up the comparison with a few what I hope would be obvious points: The 4Runner's extra ground clearance gives it advantages on approach, departure and breakover---critical in off-roading. And Toyota offers the 4Runner in some serious off-road configurations Honda doesn't, like the Trail, the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro. But for people who want an SUV for daily life, bad weather and the occasional soft-roading adventure, the Passport, especially in TrailSport trim gets a lot closer to the 4Runner than I ever would have guessed.
Plus, the Honda brings its own set of attributes---a contemporary interior, filled with thoughtful touches, clever storage solutions and solid ergonomics. The base price of the 2022 Honda Passport AWD Trailsport is $42,470 and that brings everything we've already discussed plus a leather-trimmed interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel, navigation, seven-speaker audio system, three-zone climate control, heated power front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, a moonroof and more, all standard.
And because of Honda's all-inclusive approach to trim levels, apart from $395 for the Sonic Gray Pearl paint, that's it. With $1,225 destination and handling, the as-tested price of the 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport is $44,090.
The bottom line is the 2022 Honda Passport, in TrailSport trim or not, is a remarkably capable crossover and Honda's right to draw attention to how well it competes with a legendary SUV.