2019 Honda Passport long-term update: Tech, space and efficiency

So far we've found the Passport to be a worthy addition to the Roadshow fleet.

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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Swamp Thing! You make my heart sing!

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

We've had our long-term 2019 Honda Passport for a few months now and have put lots and lots of miles on this midsize crossover. Whether schlepping gear to our twice-weekly video shoots, moving folks into new apartments or just weekend cruising, the San Francisco-based Roadshow team has grown to love the trusty Honda we've nicknamed Swamp Thing, thanks to its "Black Forest pearl" paint job (which looks great).

So far we've driven 3,000 miles with an average observed fuel economy of 21.8 miles per gallon. Just for comparison, the 2019 Passport is EPA-estimated to achieve 19 mpg in the city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.

Watch this: 2019 Honda Passport: Sporty green machine joins Roadshow's long-term fleet

Helpful tech

Being based in San Francisco means sitting in traffic a lot of the time. Our Passport comes standard with Honda Sensing, the automaker's suite of safety systems that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring. That last one has been very helpful in keeping an eye on lane-splitting motorcycles, but the adaptive cruise control doesn't work below 20 mph so it's tough to use in stop-and-go traffic. Further, the lane-keeping assist doesn't keep you in the center of the lane, but merely ping-pongs down the road. Granted, you should never take your hands off the wheel and let the car steer itself, but other manufacturers do lane keeping better, using lane-centering tech that feels more natural.

However, what has really made the San Francisco team happy is all the charging options. The Passport has two 12-volt outlets, five USB ports, a wireless charging pad and a 115-volt AC outlet. Even with four people on a video shoot we can all charge our devices with room left over to get some juice into the GoPro cameras.

I have particularly enjoyed the Wi-Fi hotspot, as I absolutely must check Instagram every 15 minutes or my life is seemingly over. Even when we are filming in the middle of nowhere and my phone doesn't have a signal, the larger antenna in the Passport often plucks a signal out of the air to feed my nasty addiction.

Watch this: Check the Display Audio tech in the 2019 Honda Passport Elite

Lots of space

Our last production vehicle was a Mercedes-Benz Metris van, so we have indeed lost a lot of cargo space by switching to the Passport. However, behind the front seats is 77.5 cubic feet of space, which is plenty of room for all our gear. Heck, one of us even moved most of a studio apartment in one trip. We all dig the underfloor storage for little things that we don't want to lose and the center console is downright cavernous, with enough room for my bag and a few cans of Diet Dr. Pepper to get me through a shoot.

Passengers have plenty of room as well, with 40 inches of headroom and legroom. The seats are adjustable enough to accommodate the whole team, from our 6-foot, 7-inch senior producer Marc Ganley, to me, at a more reasonable 5-foot, 9-inch height. However, I would like to grab a more petite person from the office for a full adjustability test.

If there's one bit of frustration, it's about the rear hatch. First off, it doesn't open very wide and our tall producer is constantly ducking and hitting his head. Granted, he's 99th-percentile tall, but anyone over 6 feet might have a problem. Second, when the hatch is unlocked with the fob, the rear doors remain locked. It's easy to forget a second click is needed and with multiple people needing access to the car, it can be annoying to yell out, "Hey, Evan! Unlock the car!" when the hatch is wide open.

More to come

In a few weeks I'll take the Passport on a road trip to Colorado, stopping in Moab, Utah, on the way, where I should be able to get the crossover on the dirt a bit to test the all-wheel drive and terrain management systems. With any luck I'll get a good snowstorm, too.

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

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