Yesterday I ripped Honda a bit for producing a 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport that seems light on actual off-road chops.
Some time afterward, I received press materials about a Passport TrailSport project vehicle that is supposed to actually preview the TrailSport’s future off-road abilities.
As much as I’d like to think that myself and/or TTAC have the influence to cause an automaker to scramble to prove it has bigger plans for a product, it was clear the release was written well in advance of my mewling about the TrailSport being a cynical badging play. That said, Honda, if I really do have that kind of influence, well, I am willing to talk about a product-planning or executive job. Have your people call my people.
Normally we’d probably skip over a one-off project car (unless it was a slow news day or a really interesting project), but Honda claims the Rugged Roads project Passport really does preview what TrailSport may someday offer. So in the spirit of fairness after ripping the TrailSport yesterday, and because we’ve already covered the TrailSport basics, I figured we could take a look at this one.
The custom appearance bits are one thing, but we’re looking at the off-road bits. These include 3 mm thick stainless steel skidplates for the gas tank and oil pan, all-terrain tires, a suspension lift kit (1.5 inches up front, 3/4 an inch in the rear), and front and rear recovery points.
Other functional items that aren’t necessarily off-road-oriented include roof crossbars, 18-inch wheels, fender flares, tow-hitch tire carrier, cargo tray, and unique badging.
This, of course, begs the question — if a Honda enthusiast can build a one-off project car that showcases the off-road goods that the TrailSport should already have, why didn’t Honda just do that to begin with? I guess I can understand that the lifted suspension might have taken more time to bring to market, but was it that hard to bolt on some skid plates and mount all-terrain tires? And a couple of tow hooks?
Well, at least we have an idea of how a TrailSport Passport — or Ridgeline — could look in a year or two.
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