The TrailSport’s unique grille distinguishes it from other 2022 Honda Passport models. (Honda)

The TrailSport’s unique grille distinguishes it from other 2022 Honda Passport models. (Honda)

TrailSport model gives 2022 Honda Passport an extra edge

The SUV’s design is more rugged this year, and this new model cranks up the ruggedness aura.

The five-seat Honda Passport mid-size SUV is redesigned for 2022 to give it a more powerful presence, increase the number of standard features, and introduce the new TrailSport model that cranks up the ruggedness aura.

Passport is now available in EX-L, TrailSport, and Elite trim levels. The EX-L comes standard with front-wheel drive and the option of all-wheel drive. TrailSport and Elite models are AWD only.

With a $1,295 destination charge included, pricing starts at $39,665 for a front-drive EX- L. Add another $2,100 for an EX-L with AWD.

The EX-L is not a subsistence base model. It includes every active safety, passive safety, and driver-assistive technology found on the extensive lists of the other two trims, and nearly every comfort and convenience feature as well.

The TrailSport comes in at $44,265 and distinguishes itself from the EX-L with a unique grille, aggressive bumpers, more rugged tires, all-season floor mats, integrated sunshades for the second-row windows, LED fog lights, heated wipers, power folding side mirrors, roof rails, navigation, special interior appearance treatments, and eye-catching orange TrailSport badging. TrailSport also has a wider track to provide a better stance and increased stability.

The Elite trim ($47,225) adds extras such as a hands-free power tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, heated outboard rear seats, and upgraded audio.

Infotainment equipment is the same for all models, and includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and SiriusXM radio, but the standard audio for EX-L and TrailSport is a 215- watt system with seven speakers, while the Elite rocks a 540-watt premium system with 10 speakers.

I drove the Passport TrailSport model and was lured by its rugged good looks. They’re enough to project a sense of off-highway adventure without approaching the overkill of a vehicle looking to brutalize an ecosystem.

The powertrain used on all Passport models, a 280-horsepower V6 engine joined to a nine-speed automatic transmission, is strong and smooth, but somewhat meek on fuel economy. EPA ratings are best for the front-drive EX-L: 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. The remaining three models with their AWD come in at 19/24/21 mpg. Regular unleaded is the required fuel.

TrailSport’s ride on the highway is solid but not uncomfortable.

Inside the Passport, styling is restrained but attractive, and everything seems built to last indefinitely, a testament to Honda’s reputation for excellent resale value. The assortment of stowage cubbies and bins is transcendent. The three-tiered setup on the front door panels includes four cubbies for the driver and five for the passenger. Rear seat passengers get two cupholders on each door, plus two other cubbies, and pockets on the front seatbacks.

The crowning glory is the center console bin, which is flat on top with a retractable cover exposing a deep bin with a removable sliding tray inside. The flat top makes the console eminently useful. Most automotive console bins are topped with cushioning, to serve as armrests and not much else. Passport still has armrests, but they’re mounted on the seats, to be raised, lowered or otherwise adjusted to personal preference, thereby leaving the important console spot available for other purposes.

Rear seat legroom is generous. Passport’s overall headroom is beyond generous.

With second row seats in upright position, the rear cargo area has 41.2 cubic feet of room. When those seats are folded, capacity expands to 77.7 cubic feet. The folding process is a piece of cake: just press a button in the cargo area. Hooks and tie-downs in the cargo area increase its usefulness.

2022 HONDA PASSPORT TRAILSPORT

Base price, including destination charge: $44,265

Price as driven: $44,660

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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