Honda will resurrect the Passport nameplate on an SUV crammed in the space that separates the CR-V and the Pilot. The first Passport since 2002 won’t make its public debut until the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, but a brief teaser video gives us an early look at it.
“The new Passport is a more personal, powerful, and off-road capable SUV that hits the sweet spot between daily driving comfort and weekend off-road, all-weather adventure capability,” explained Henio Arcangeli Jr., the senior vice president of Honda’s American division. His statement suggests the Passport will offer more off-road prowess than the average mall-prowling soft-roader.
We don’t know precisely how it will hold its own on the trail yet. Insiders told Motor1 that the SUV will ride on a modified version of the platform that underpins the bigger Pilot, and added the two models will share a 3.5-liter V6 engine. The six will send 280 horsepower to the front wheels via an automatic transmission, but Honda will offer all-wheel drive on some trim levels. In that light, it sounds like Honda envisioned the Passport as a smaller, five-seater alternative to the eight-seater Pilot.
The teaser video does a stellar job of hiding the Passport’s design; it looks like it was shot to promote tourism in a scenic part of America. It doesn’t reveal the SUV’s cabin, either, but we expect the same touchscreen-based infotainment system found in the Pilot. The screen will put most of the buttons and dials normally found in cars out of work with one exception: The volume knob. Honda tried removing it and ended up bringing it back by popular demand.
The Pilot’s available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot could trickle down to the Passport. We also hope Honda will make the clever CabinControl technology available. It’s an app for Android and Apple devices that lets owners control an array of features including the audio system and the rear climate control system using their smartphone. They can send an address from their phone to the navigation system, too.
Honda stresses it developed the Passport specifically for the American market. Production will take place in the United States, and sales will begin early next year. Pricing information and full specifications will be announced as Honda unveils the model in Los Angeles on November 27.