One of the most competitive segments in the automotive landscape right now is the mid-size SUV. There are dozens of different models, all seeking to carve out a piece for themselves.
The 2023 Honda Pilot is one of those and a recent test drive left a positive impression thanks to the drive, spacious cabin, and overall capabilities of the five-seater.
The Passport is available in three trims – Sport, Trailsport and Touring – with our tester being the latter. Pricing for the model starts at $49,155, with our tester’s bill coming out to $56,664.75. The only options added on to it were a $300 charge for the Platinum White Pearl paint, as well as $509.75 for the Protection Package, which adds all-season floor mats and in the cargo area.
Powertrain: The Passport is powered by a very effective 3.5-litre V6 engine. It delivers 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, moved through a smooth nine-speed automatic transmission.
I found the power delivery to be quite good, with excellent response off the line and when called on for passing slower vehicles on the highway.
The Passport features an all-wheel drive system, combined with 8.1-inches of ground clearance should you use this vehicle for weekend getaways on rougher terrain.
And it can also haul a good amount of gear, with up to 2,268 kilograms of towing capacity when properly equipped (1,588 kg is standard).
The V6 is rated to consume fuel at a combined average of 11.3 litres per 100 kilometres, with my average coming in at 14.5 L/100 km.
Exterior: The Passport received a facelift for the 2022 model year and is unchanged as a 2023.
The design is nice but pretty conservative given some of the models on the market these days.
That is not to say it doesn’t have any appeal, as I did like the front end, and the two-tone styling of the 20-inch alloy wheels on the Touring is also quite nice.
The rear features a black accent trim across the hatch, which does a good job breaking up the sea of white, and the dual exhausts cap off the look.
Interior: The cabin is pretty spacious and comfortable. The design and layout are clean and modern, with neatly organized controls in the centre stack, and simple controls for the infotainment system that combine physical knobs with the touchscreen capability.
The leather-trimmed seats are heated and ventilated up front, while also offering a heated steering wheel.
There is a good amount of head and legroom for both the front and rear occupants.
One thing you notice right away when opening the rear hatch is the cavernous amount of cargo area behind the rear seats. It easily swallowed a pair of hockey bags with room to spare, so this seems to be an ideal vehicle for trips that require a good amount of gear. And on the Touring, access to the space is made easier thanks to a hands-free access power tailgate.
Infotainment: The Passport comes with an 8-inch, tablet-style touchscreen for its infotainment system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The interface features clearly delineated menus and good response times.
It comes with Satellite radio, navigation and wireless device charging as well.
The Touring trim offers a 550-watt premium audio system featuring 10 speakers, including subwoofer.
Drive: While the overall driving feel is not what I would call dynamic, it is no doubt competent and comfortable.
Steering response is excellent, and the suspension does an excellent job keeping everything in check. The cabin is kept quite isolated from exterior noise, which helps enhance the experience on the road.
Conclusion: Honda has a solid reputation in the crossover market, one earned from years of producing quality products that both look good and deliver a solid experience for consumers.
The Passport is another such model for the Japanese brand. While perhaps not as flashy as some competitors in this segment, goes about its business in a workmanlike fashion and is an enjoyable vehicle.
2023 Honda Passport Touring
Price as tested: $56,664.75
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.5-litre V6/ 9-speed automatic
Power/torque: 280 horsepower/ 262 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (73.8 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 11.3 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 14.5 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner
Website: Honda Canada