The Passport is also wading into a pretty large field of competitors who’ve been in this segment for quite some time. People seem to need (want) SUVs these days in a similar way that we need water, so Honda is smart for bringing this potential cash cow to the market. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary or segment-changing about what it can do, but it’s a Honda, so expect people to want it. We decided to stack up a few of its competitors — the Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Murano — in this comparison to see where it lands post-reveal. A few key numbers are still missing, such as fuel economy and price, but it’s safe to assume those will both be in the same ballpark as these SUVs as well. Cue the chart.
The Passport only has one engine option, and it’s a good one with Honda’s trusty 3.5-liter V6. You can find this engine in both the Pilot and Ridgeline, meaning it’s more than powerful enough to handle anything you might throw at it in this smaller SUV. It might have been interesting to see the 2.0-liter turbo from the Accord stuck in there, but we won’t complain about a smooth V6. Its competitors use V6s too, but Ford went down the turbo road as it is wont to do.
Jeep has the most power out of everyone, but it’s more of a truck compared to these vehicles. You get better towing ability with 6,200 pounds at minimum, but fuel economy suffers for it. We’d expect Passport fuel economy to offer a slight improvement over the Pilot, which is rated 20 city and 27 highway. If it hits 30 mpg, we’ll be impressed.
While the Passport has a nine-speed automatic transmission, the rest of its competition do with eight forward gears, and the Nissan gets a CVT. We don’t imagine the extra gear will bring much benefit to the Passport, but it compares nicely to those closest to it. Honda transfers the power through either a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive system. No advantage is procured there except for the Jeep, which has a true four-wheel-drive system to put the power down. None of the others here would be able to best the Grand Cherokee off-road, but you’re most likely not buying this vehicle to hit the trails. Honda claims, however, that the Passport will be better than its previous vehicles when traversing treacherous terrains. We’ll see how serious it is when we go to drive the SUV for the first time.
Passenger and cargo space
In terms of pure passenger volume, the Passport takes the cake in this competitive set here with 115.9 cubic feet. All of these cars are five-seaters and measure up similarly. The Passport is the tallest, though, which appears to give it pretty stellar cargo volume. With the rear seats up or down, it has significantly more space in the back. The larger exterior dimensions are to thank for all the extra interior volume — more space is always welcome for families who are the likely buyers for a vehicle like this. If that’s what you’re after, the Passport will definitely be one you should put on your to-drive list.
We’ll see how some of these vehicles compare with a few key standard features. One of the big ones on the Passport is the standard Honda Sensing suite, which includes adaptive cruise and lane keep assist. Ford also made its suite of driver assistance features standard, but adaptive cruise is not included in this feature set. We wouldn’t expect the Jeep to be similarly equipped, and it is not. Hyundai makes nearly all of its driver assistance features standard at its base price too, but like the Ford, adaptive cruise is not part of it. The Rogue offers far more than the Murano does as far as features like lane keep assist and others similar to it. Honda beats Nissan here with the new Passport. Honda also makes an overhead view camera standard for all trims, a luxury-like feature on a cheaper vehicle.
It’s hard to say one of these vehicles is better than the rest on paper, since we still don’t have pricing or fuel economy. However, it is safe to say you’ll be winning on interior space in the Honda compared to the rest of them. We can safely assume fuel mileage will be right on par with the rest when it’s released, and Honda will likely price it competitively, too. As of now, the non-Isuzu-based Passport is looking pretty darn good.