Fun yet practical, the 2019 Honda Passport is back!
Discontinued in 2002, Honda brought the Passport back in 2019 and made it better than ever. I found it to be the best midsize SUV for small families. Spacious and comfortable, the midsize 2019 Honda Passport is the little sister to the Honda Pilot. Sometimes good things come in smaller packages though and the 2019 Passport is one of those things. Though I took the Passport mostly to basketball practice and sitting in carpool, you can take the Passport off-road to tackle mud, snow, and gravel. I appreciated how I could swing it onto the highway to get a smooth ride and good fuel efficiency too. With the Passport, I zipped around town, and around corners, without skipping a beat (or missing out on tight parking spots) either. I love the sporty look and how you still sit up high, even though it is a smaller SUV.
I Like Big Trunks and I Cannot Lie
One of the things I loved most about the 2019 Honda Passport is the gigantic amount of cargo space. It’s another reason why this should be in the best midsize SUV for small families. The trunk capacity is an impressive 41.2 cubic feet. Need more? No worries. Fold-down the 2nd-row seat (which is surprisingly easy to do) and space expands to 78 cubic feet! I especially appreciate the large storage bin beneath the floor of the trunk. It is divided into two separate sections and keeps packages hidden or items from sliding around the cargo space. It was a great place to store my clay-caked tennis shoes. It could be good for muddy cleats, wet towels or whatever other dirty athletic apparel your family uses. It would be really simple to clean.
The 2019 Honda Passport is a midsize SUV that doesn’t skimp on space for passengers either. You can comfortably seat 5 people. You could fit 2 car seats and a booster seat in this rear seat. I only have 1 child in car seats now, but it was only 2 years ago when I had 3 in car seats and I remember those days. And the legroom is good too. My 5’10” daughter didn’t complain about legroom even once!
If you like to live life off the beaten path, the 2019 Passport could work well for you
Truthfully, the only time I went off the beaten path was when I drove on the shoulder of a road to avoid an accident. However, if you are a dirt road kind of girl or guy, the Passport is for you. It has several off-road drive modes as well as an all-wheel-drive system. You can shift from normal drive mode into Snow, Mud, or Sand modes, which adjusts how the SUV matches the surface you’re driving on. Depending on the mode you select, the SUV will alter its starting gear, traction control, shifting behavior, the amount of torque and where it is applied. While I probably won’t need to use all the different modes, I like that they are there. For those that live in the North and deal with changing road conditions, especially during winter, these modes could make a huge difference.
Further Reading: 2019 Honda Passport Fact Sheet
Just because you may go off-roading every once in a while doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be comfortable too. I liked that both the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat had electric dials to customize the seating positions. The Elite trim offers heated and ventilated front seats which came in really handy during the late Spring 90+ degree days we had in Atlanta!
Top Tech Features Put the Passport in the Best Midsize SUV Category
- The wireless charging pad
- Apple CarPlay/Android Audio with simplified integration
- Push Button Start
- Tri-Zone Automatic Climate System with humidity control and air filtration system
- Available embedded 4G LTE WiFi
- 8-inch touchscreen that lets you swipe, tap and pinch – just like on your phone. It took me a moment to master it but once I did I could see it’s usefulness.
- SiriusXM 2.0 which now lets you pause, fast forward and rewind songs among other features.
- Up to 4 USB charging ports, plus two 12-volt outlets
- All-new navigation system, developed with Garmin, that includes better graphics, speed limit display, and more. (Though I still used my phone more than anything else.)
The Standard Safety Features are Like Having a Second Pair of Eyes on the Road
As a mom, some of the most important features of the 2019 Honda Passport are the safety systems that come standard. These same items would significantly increase your costs if you wanted them in another mid-size SUV. The standard safety equipment includes:
Automatic emergency braking
If the SUV senses a slowdown ahead and you fail to brake, perhaps because you were already trying to break up a fight over who’s turn it is to use the tablet, the Passport will apply the breaks for you. This an emergency type situation though so do depend on using it every day.
Forward Collision Warming
Have you ever rounded a bend on a highway and abruptly saw that the cars were stopped? If you have a few extra seconds you can swerve to avoid them. That is what the forward-collision warning system does. It helps to mitigate the severity of a collision, using a loud beeping noise to alert the driver to an impending collision.
Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning
While many newer cars are now coming standard with Lane Departure Warning systems, not all of them also have the Lane Keeping Assist System too. For both of these items to come standard in the 2019 Honda Passport is pretty special. The Lane Departure Warning System alerts you when you drift out of your lane. The Lane Keeping Assist actually detects if you are straying too far from the center of a lane and allows the car to adjust accordingly.
Road Departure Mitigation
This high-tech system uses a small camera in the windshield to “see” if the vehicle is about to leave the road. It will activate and steer your car back into the lane to avoid going into a ditch or going off the shoulder of the road. This is a great emergency system I hope to never have to use.
Back up camera (with multiple angles)
The crystal clear backup camera helped me see if something, perhaps a kid’s bike is lying down behind the Passport because I can adjust the angles. I almost ran over a basketball my kids left out but saw it first thereby saving the Atlanta Hawks Jr. NBA ball from an untimely death.
Adaptive cruise control
I really appreciated this system when taking the Passport on the highway. This safety system automatically keeps you at a safe distance from the car in front of you despite the speed you’ve set for Cruise Control. No need to keep switching cruise control on and off. I found it really helps with fuel efficiency too.
What’s better value? Honda Pilot vs Honda Passport
When driving the Honda Passport, I was reminded time and again of when I last drove a Honda Pilot. These SUVs are so similar! Buyers really can’t go wrong with either one. It’s really a question of the needs of your family. For once, it really doesn’t even come down to price.
If you think you’ll have to pay more for the bigger car with more seating you would be wrong
At least on the base level, the Pilot, which has a 3rd row and seating for 8, is actually less expensive than the Passport. The Pilot LX costs about $1500 less than the comparable Passport Sport. The Passport comes with more standard safety equipment and much better off-road capability. However, if you are comparing the more expensive trim levels the Passport will cost you less. The Passport Elite will be about $4300 less than the Pilot Elite. The better value depends on the size of your family, your activity level, and the necessity for oversized cargo room. Since I have 4 kids, it’s a Pilot life for me.
Check out my Spotify playlist for some old-school, throwback, get-everybody-dancing-at-the family-reunion music! It’s the perfect playlist for the best midsize SUV, the 2019 Honda Passport!