For the 2022 model year, Honda gussied up the Passport in a new TrailSport trim level to cater to off-road enthusiasts. At least, that’s what the Japanese automaker would like you to believe. After all, the “TrailSport” moniker indicates that this revised Passport is ready to tackle the roads unknown. But is it, really? Is the Honda Passport TrailSport worth the extra money over the base model?
2023 Honda Passport TrailSport | Honda
The 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport is the model’s new mid-grade trim level
2023 Honda Passport TrailSport | Honda
If you’re unfamiliar with the 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport, don’t worry, there’s not much on it to get you up to speed. There’s no added lift kit to raise it above the standard 8.1 inches of ground clearance. There’s no skid plate to protect the undercarriage from rocks and debris. There isn’t even a transmission cooler to keep the gearbox under normal operating temperatures during heavy off-road driving.
Why doesn’t the Passport TrailSport have these things? That’s because it’s not meant to be a modified off-road rig like you would find in a Subaru Outback Wilderness. Instead, the “TrailSport” trim level is merely an appearance package.
By choosing this mid-grade trim level, buyers will receive orange-stitched seats with “TrailSport” on the headrest. There are also all-weather floormats with the same badging and a faux skid plate up front. The front fascia is revised for a bolder look, and the five-seater SUV rides on a set of 18-inch all-terrain tires wrapped around alloy wheels. Additionally, the
Admittedly, we like the way the Honda Passport TrailSport looks with this package. However, we don’t think it’s worth the extra $2,500 over the base EX-L trim level.
How does the Honda Passport TrailSport drive?
2022 Honda Passport Trailsport | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit
Considering the Honda Passport TrailSport lacks any significant changes to its engine, suspension, or transmission, we can’t say it drives any differently than the other two trims in the Passport line. It feels well-composed over road irregularities when driving in the city, and it’s stable when on the highway.
The biggest surprise is that the Firestone Destination LE 2 all-season tires aren’t loud, and they’re more comfortable than we thought they would be. Most of the time, tires with larger shoulders and knobbier treads can lead to more in-cabin noise. But that wasn’t the case with this somewhat trail-ready Passport.
As a huge bonus, the tires also hooked up well on the snowy roads that we tested the car on. They even gripped well during hard braking, and there was only a slight skid when accelerating heavily from a stop.
Unfortunately for Honda, any Passport shopper could easily purchase an entry-level model and put the set of tires on it after. So, it’s hard to justify the added cost of the mid-grade trim.
The Subaru Outback Wilderness could be a better substitute
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit
If you’re in need of a more rugged off-road crawler, we recommend the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness. For less than $40,000, this off-road-worthy Outback comes with a lifted suspension for 9.5 inches of ground clearance, a set of Yokohama Geolander tires, and a potent turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
We tested the Outback Wilderness earlier this year. We highly recommend it to anyone looking for a practical and capable family hauler. It handled well in the snow, and its taller ground clearance and grippier tires made quick work of the slippery white stuff.
Compared to the Passport TrailSport, the Outback Wilderness felt more like a purpose-built off-road vehicle, which is what we feel that Honda was going for with this special Passport trim.
Overall, we think it’s a better buy than the Passport TrailSport. However, if you must have a Honda Passport, we recommend going with the base EX-L trim level and upgrading the tires to get the same effect as the TrailSport model.