Honda Passport Rumored to be Revived in 2019
Isuzu will have nothing to do with this one.
The very first name in Honda SUVs is rumored to make a comeback in 2019. That’s right, Automotive News reports that “according to people familiar with the plans,” the Honda Passport will be revived as a new midsize crossover slotted between the compact CR-V and the three-row Pilot. "Anything surrounding the name 'Passport' at this point is speculation at this point, though we’re always open to exploring the viability of products in new segments for the Honda brand," said a Honda representative in an email to The Drive.
The new Passport is expected to be a five-seater competing with the smaller players in the midsize crossover segment like the Ford Edge. Apparently, Honda dealers have been pressing management for a crossover like this as they lose potential sales to the likes of the Nissan Murano and the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.
This would be quite a departure from the original Honda Passport sold from 1994-2002 which was a badge-engineered Isuzu Rodeo. Sold in two distinct generations, the Passport did not exactly carry the Honda reputation for quality and reliability. In 2010, second-gen Passports were recalled due to severe frame rust problems. Despite the shaky reputation of the original Passport, the name is expected to live on.
It’s easy to see why Honda would expand its crossover lineup. U.S. sales of the HR-V, CR-V, and Pilot all increased over 5 percent in 2017 while Honda’s car deliveries fell 2.5 percent in the same time frame. We can’t imagine another midsize crossover to be anything but a sales hit in a market that’s been increasingly favorable to crossovers over the past few years.
Automotive News speculates that the new Passport will be built on a revised version of the platform shared between the Honda Pilot, Odyssey, Ridgeline, and Acura MDX. This would presumably put manufacturing in Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant.
The new Honda Passport will reportedly debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show this November and go on sale in early 2019. This would bring Honda a step closer to the growing industry trend of offering more crossovers and SUVs than cars.