2019 Honda Passport joins Roadshow’s long-term test fleet

Honda's second-largest SUV will haul our production gear and get out in the wilds during a full year of testing.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
3 min read
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Welcome to the fleet, big guy!

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Sometimes you need an SUV, but not because you have to haul your family. Here at Roadshow, for example, we're constantly in need of a useful, rugged utility vehicle to schlep our video production gear and head out into the wild. That's why we've added this 2019 Honda Passport to our long-term test fleet.

When we took an in-depth look at the Passport earlier this year, we found that it easily holds its own against the segment's heavy-hitters, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee or new Chevrolet Blazer. But a year-long test of this Passport will allow us to really dig into the nitty-gritty details. How's the cargo space? How's the fuel efficiency? How's the passenger comfort? How's it handle off the beaten path?

How we spec'd it

Honda offers the Passport in Sport, EX-L, Touring and Elite trims, all of which get the company's Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistance technologies. We decided to go with the top-of-the-line Elite, which adds blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert to the already-standard features like lane-keeping assist, automatic headlights and adaptive cruise control.

Our Elite tester has all the bells and whistles. The 8-inch Display Audio infotainment system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto , as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless phone charging. We're stoked to have both heated and cooled front seats, and so far the Passport's smattering of USB ports and 12-volt outlets have made themselves useful as mobile GoPro charging stations.

2019 Honda Passport: Rugged, functional and ready for the long haul

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Because there aren't any big option packages to add to the Elite -- just some dealer-installed accessories like running boards, fender flares, a tow hitch and more -- our Passport comes in at $44,775, including $1,095 for destination.

Getting to know you

We got our Passport this summer, so we've already had a couple months to get acquainted with Honda's midsizer, which we've lovingly named Swamp Thing because of its Black Forest Pearl (read: dark green) paint job and black wheels and accents. So far, we really like the Passport's 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Together, the powertrain smoothly delivers ample thrust, with enough torque for passing on the freeway and darting through San Francisco traffic. We're finding the Passport to be pretty fun to drive, too, with communicative steering and the added traction of all-wheel drive.

The 2019 Passport is EPA-estimated to achieve 19 miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. Right now, we're seeing 22 mpg, and are curious to see how this changes over one year with the trusty Honda.

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The Honda Passport offers ample cargo space. There is nearly 78 cubic feet of space behind the front seats.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

As far as production vehicle duties go, interior space is paramount. The Passport has 77.9 cubic feet of space behind its front seats, fitting all of our cameras and gear with lots of space left over. Plus, there are lots of cubbies to stash things like gaffer tape, hand sanitizer and -- on the advice of Managing Editor Steven Ewing's in-depth review -- a Costco-size box of Cheez-Its in the center console. (We always need snacks on the go.)

In addition to its duties as a production workhorse, we'll be getting the Passport plenty dirty in the coming months; the all-wheel-drive system has a terrain management function, with Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand modes. Plus, Honda offers a number of accessories for camping -- tailgate tent, anyone? -- so you can bet I'll be spending a few nights with the Passport out in the wilderness.

Stay tuned for more updates to see how our long-term Passport fares.