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Available Passport SUV Models
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Last year, the Passport and the identical Isuzu Rodeo were completely redesigned, so there are no new changes this year.
Choices in the sub-$30,000 sport-utility class are numerous. Figuring out which truck best meets your needs almost always requires a compromise of some sort or another. The closest thing to perfect has been the Ford Explorer, and spectacular sales of this popular SUV prove that buyers find its combination of room, style and power the best in the segment.
The Explorer is a fine sport-ute, but there's another face in this neighborhood that deserves consideration. Meet the Honda Passport, which was completely redesigned a year ago. The new look is familiar yet contemporary and the Passport is one of the more ruggedly handsome SUVs available today.
Inside, the interior provides user-friendly ergonomics and plastic trim that feels surprisingly luxurious. Clamber aboard and head for the hills - it's easy with push-button 4WD and standard anti-lock brakes that thwart nature's attempts to impede your progress. A unique hatchgate employs flip-up glass and a gate that swings from right to left. The full-size spare tire can be stored under the vehicle or on the hatchgate.
Both LX and EX trim levels are offered with two- or four-wheel drive and come with a powerful 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine, with 205 horsepower to whisk you along with verve. EX is the upper-level trim, which adds a power moonroof, security system with remote entry, exterior-mounted spare tire, fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, wood grain trim and map lights.
Problems with the new design are minimal. The location of the push-button 4WD switch is absurd, located directly next to the cruise control button where it could be activated accidentally. Off-road, the new Passport feels somewhat undersprung, but takes bumps and dips easily if speeds are kept down. Our final complaint is that there are no rear cupholders for the kiddies.
The new Passport is an excellent blend of old-fashioned truck toughness and modern day car-like convenience. If you're looking for a new $30,000 SUV, the Passport should be near the top of your shopping list. But so should the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango and Toyota 4Runner.
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