Refreshed 2022 Honda Passport adds TrailSport trim and burlier styling

The refresh given to the 2022 Honda Passport doesn’t include drastic changes, but it does introduce a new TrailSport trim level that is a bellwether for a more rugged look for future Honda’s other trucks and SUVs. 

The two-row Passport is the first of Honda’s vehicles to offer a TrailSport variant and will eventually spawn a whole new off-road line of vehicles. Honda representatives hinted that this would include what Honda calls its “light truck” lineup at first, which would presage TrailSport versions of the Pilot and Ridgeline. Whether or not that includes the more popular CR-V or the smaller HR-V remains to be seen.

Honda says that the TrailSport models will represent the “halo brand for Honda off-road vehicles,” but in its first iteration it doesn’t really add any capability and only offers aesthetic updates. There are reshaped front and rear bumpers, a unique grille design, 18-inch wheels with pewter highlights, and large can’t-miss TrailSport badges located inside and out. The closest thing there is to a performance upgrade is a 0.3-inch wider track front and rear, but no tire, suspension, or powertrain upgrades of note. 

These sorts of updates will be coming down the line on later TrailSport vehicles, Honda says, but for a debut this feels more like a whimper than a bang.

2022 Honda Passport TrailSport

2022 Honda Passport TrailSport

Honda did not offer complete trim level details for the 2022 Passport at this time so we don’t know where the TrailSport will fit in the model hierarchy but it is likely that the existing trim structure will carry over with the new trim joining the Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite models. We do know that the TrailSport will come with standard all-wheel drive, making it the only trim level to offer that along with Elite models. 

The TrailSport interior that I saw had leather upholstery, which in Honda parlance probably means it will come in above the EX-L and near the Touring on price, but below the Elite.

Other changes include reworked front styling for all models that is meant to more closely resemble the Ridgeline and its rugged look, versus the Pilots curvier and softer front. The nose is now more square and the grille’s edges have been flattened to make it look more imposing and upright. Out back there is a new rear bumper design that features larger cutouts for the rear exhaust pipes, which have been noticeably enlarged, though Honda says that the exhaust sound will not change. Darn. 

All of the Passport models also get new wheel designs, topping out at 20-inches in size on the EX-L and Elite. And if those updates aren’t enough, a new Honda Performance Development (HPD) appearance package will also be offered.

2022 Honda Passport TrailSport

2022 Honda Passport TrailSport

Rear seat and rear seatbelt reminders have been added as standard equipment, joining the Honda Sensing safety suite which includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. 

That rounds out the changes, the Passport will still only have one engine option, a 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 262 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on most trims, though AWD is at least offered on all of them.

Pricing will be available closer to the 2022 Passport’s on sale date, in late 2021 or early 2022.

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