Honda Passport

While most manufacturers are downsizing their engines and adding turbochargers, Honda has opted to fit the Passport with a large 3.5L V6 engine which produces 280 horsepower. This engine ensures that the Passport feels powerful at the full RPM range. Power is sent to the front wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive is a $1,900 option. All this means that the Passport is quicker than most people would expect from a mid-sized SUV, and while the Passport doesn't come out and claim to be a sports car, it does provide relatively sporty driving characteristics when compared to most of its direct competitors.

There are four available trim levels: Sport, EX-L Touring and Elite. All but the Elite come with front wheel drive standard, while the Elite gets all-wheel drive as standard.

The Passport is richly equipped, so even the entry level trim comes extremely well equipped. The first thing most people will notice are the black-painted 20-inch wheels, which are standard on the Sport trim. Other features include a remote starter, automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights, Honda Sensing safety suite, dual-zone automatic climate control, an automated garage door opener, rear seat air vents and a power driver's seat.

The EX-L trim adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a mobile hotspot for Wi-Fi, a large moonroof with a tilt feature, blind spot monitoring, leather seats with heating, a leather wrapped steering wheel, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, a powered tailgate, SiriusXM satellite radio, an auto dimming rearview mirror and a larger 8-inch touchscreen in the dash.

The Touring trim includes additional convenience features, such as adding a hands-free version of the powered tailgate, that can be opened with just the wave of ones' foot. Other features standard on the Touring trim include a satellite linked navigation system, a 10-speaker sound system, heated outboard rear seats, roof rails, LED headlights, parking sensors, USB ports for the rear seats and additional ambient interior lighting.

The top of the line Elite trim comes standard with all-wheel drive in addition to adding even more interior goodies. The seats are made from perforated leather with both heating and cooling functions, while the steering wheel is heated as well. The Elite also comes with rain sensing wipers and power folding, auto-dimming side mirrors.

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Editors' First Take

We've had our long-term Honda Passport for almost a year now. And while I've driven it in the snow, taken it on road trips and spent lots of time in the Passport when we used it as a production vehicle on video shoots, I've not yet had the chance to take it out where I'm most comfortable: the dirt.

It's easy to load up the Passport. For this trip, I took two 7-gallon water containers, two Maxtrax recovery boards, a sleeping bag, a cot, a tent, a pillow and about 27 million bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper. With a total of 77.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded, plus an extra 2.5 cubes in a hidden cubby under the floor, the Passport still has a ton of room left over. I could have easily fit a camping refrigerator, a portable kitchen and installed a sleeping loft if I needed to. 

Which reminds me: If you plan on taking your Passport into the wilderness on the regular, Honda offers a number of adventure-ready accessories, including a roof basket or box, attachments for a bike, kayak, surfboard or snowboard, and even a six-person tent that attaches to the hatch.

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