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2019 Honda Passport already rolling off the assembly line in Alabama

It goes on sale early next year, so don't start camping out at the dealer just yet.

Must be nice, being able to go outside in early December without four layers and three hats.

The 2019 Honda Passport is essentially a mix of the Ridgeline and the Pilot, so it makes sense that it would come from the same facility that builds both those models, as well.

Honda announced this week that the 2019 Passport has already entered production at Honda's facility in Alabama. It's barely been a week since the vehicle was announced at the 2018 LA Auto Show, but with its early-2019 release looming, it's time for 1,500 workers at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama to kick into high gear.

That factory is also responsible for assembling the Ridgeline midsize pickup truck and the Pilot three-row SUV. All three vehicles ride on Honda's Global Light Truck platform, so it's no surprise that they're all built under the same roof.

Under the passport's hood is the same engine that powers the Pilot and Ridgeline -- a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive will be available, both of which will mate to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Passport rides higher than the Pilot, and the bulky body bits borrowed from the Ridgeline give it a bit more off-road cred than its siblings.

If tech is what you're after, there's plenty to enjoy in the Passport. Higher trims will get an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen infotainment system with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to wireless phone charging and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Honda Sensing, the automaker's suite of active and passive safety systems, is standard across the lineup. Its price will likely land between the base price of the smaller CR-V ($24,350) and the larger Pilot ($31,450).