2000 Honda Passport Review
Pros & Cons
- Rugged good looks, roomy rear seat, Honda dealers will give one away if you push hard enough.
- Lousy ride quality, suspension not capable of serious boulder bashing, front seats offer all the support and comfort of a lawn chair.
Edmunds' Expert Review
There are some good midsize SUVs available. This is not one of them.
Honda's Passport competes poorly against midsized SUVs despite being a powerful, attractively styled alternative to the market leaders. Offering one of the stronger engines in its class, Passport changes little for 2000. Bolder exterior features, a few new standards and a new, upscale EX-L model are the main differences from the 1999 model.
Honda has added aggressive-looking front and rear fascias, a modified grille and redesigned front combination lamps to the Passport. Four-wheel-drive models also get a standard limited-slip rear differential, providing greater traction to the rear wheels. All models come standard with 16-inch alloy wheels and tires. Last year's arguably useful hatchgate is now an option, as all spares can be stored underneath. The interior provides user-friendly ergonomics, but plastic trim feels somewhat cheap. Clamber aboard and head for the hills -- it's easy with push-button 4WD and standard antilock brakes that help you try to thwart nature's attempts to impede your progress.
All trim levels are offered with two- or four-wheel drive and come with a powerful 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine making 205 horsepower to whisk you along with verve. The new EX-L (luxury package) model distinguishes itself with eye-catching two-tone paint, color-keyed bodyside moldings, fender flares and leather-trimmed seats and interior door panels. An AM/FM stereo system with in-dash six-CD changer is available only on the EX-L. Finishing touches on its top model include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, woodgrain interior trim and, for when you're hopelessly lost on the off-road highway after dark, map lighting to find your way back to civilization and a safe covered parking spot.
Problems with the Passport exist. The location of the push-button 4WD switch is absurd, located directly next to the cruise-control button where it could be activated accidentally. Removable headrests, in lieu of the manual or auto-folding ones offered on competing models, don't have a place to go and could be a nuisance when you drop the back seats down for storage. Off-road, the Passport feels somewhat undersprung, but takes bumps and dips easily if speeds are kept down. Our final complaint is that the front seats are dreadfully uncomfortable.
The Passport appears to be a good blend of old-fashioned truck toughness and modern-day carlike convenience. Though already pleasant to look at, this Honda fails to please on a number of fronts. If you prefer the strong engine or the fancy EX-L, perhaps you'll even open your wallet for one. However, there are plenty of quality vehicles in this class. If you're shopping for a new SUV, look at the Passport, but we recommend that you check out others as well.