Honda is known for making high-quality, reliable vehicles, and their SUVs are no different. If you are in the market for a new SUV, you are likely considering some Honda models. The Passport and Pilot are two of their most popular vehicles, and they are both great options. However, we will help you decide which is best with a side-by-side comparison of the Honda Pilot versus the Passport. We’ll give you an overview of each vehicle and compare each in several key categories. Let’s dive in and get started!
Honda Passport Overview
The Honda Passport debuted in the mid-size SUV market all the way back in 1993 as a 1994 model vehicle. It was produced until 2002, and then it re-emerged into the market in 2019. Any car that has been around that long must have some great qualities, and the Honda Passport has many things that keep buyers coming back.
The mid-size SUV market is quite crowded as nearly every car manufacturer in the world attempts to play in this space. The Passport is not as flashy or well-known as some vehicles in this market, but it performs well in nearly every comparison category. While it might not be the leader in any single category, its quality performance across the board propels it into the top tier of mid-SUVs on the market.
The 2023 Passport boasts a peppy V6 engine that makes this Honda SUV fun to drive. It has 280 horsepower, and that power is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This combination is good enough for a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. That’s generally more than enough for the average family or weekend warrior. Even with this amount of power, the Passport has an EPA fuel economy rating of 19 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway.
The interior of the Passport is fairly roomy, allowing for up to five passengers in two rows of seating. The Honda Infotainment system features touchscreens and Bluetooth connectivity with optional WiFi service in the higher trim levels. Drivers can expect up to 100 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row of seats folded down, which is not bad for an SUV of its size.
The Passport has obtained a five-star safety rating, and the warranty is on par with what you would expect from Honda. If you are looking for a high-quality mid-size SUV with above-average fuel economy, then the Passport might be for you. However, if you need something with more room, you might need to consider the Honda Pilot. We’ll discuss the details of the Pilot in the next section.
Honda Pilot Overview
If you are looking for a great Honda SUV with a little more room, the Honda Pilot might be the best choice for you. The specs on the Pilot are similar to the Passport in several areas, while there are also some key differences between the two. The Honda Pilot debuted as a 2003 model, and it has been a staple in the mid-size SUV market since then.
The Pilot boasts a 285hp, 3.5L V-6 engine. This engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission to provide smooth shifting at all speeds. Even with this power, the vehicle is rated for up to 27 MPG on the highway. In 2023, Honda also introduced a new trim level of the Pilot designed with more off-road capability.
One key feature of the Pilot that many owners cannot live without is the passenger volume. With its third-row seating, the Pilot can seat up to eight passengers. Interior seats can also be folded down for more cargo space. In addition, some models include captain’s chairs in the second row, while others allow for the middle of the second-row seat to be removed. There are several options and configurations available to allow for maximum seating and cargo.
Honda has added an Infotainment system to the Pilot, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Pilot offers many safety features (called Honda Sensing), like lane departure warning, blind spot detection, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. A standard Honda warranty is included, which is considered pretty average by most experts.
Honda Passport vs. Pilot: Key Comparisons
Now that you have an overview of each of these vehicles, it will likely be helpful to have a more detailed comparison between the two. When choosing a car, there are several categories that buyers often like to compare, like fuel economy, passenger capacity, and others. Here is a more detailed comparison of the Honda Passport and Honda Pilot.
— Overall Specs
At a high level, the Passport and Pilot are pretty similar. Both vehicles are considered to be in the mid-size SUV market. Both cars come equipped with a standard V-6 engine, and the horsepower output of the two vehicles is very similar. You may choose either 2WD or AWD in both the Pilot and Passport. It is worth noting that the 2WD version of the Passport seems to be going away after 2023, so the AWD may be the only option in 2024. The biggest difference between these cars is cargo capacity and passenger volume. The Pilot is quite a bit larger than the Passport, and this difference is the decision-maker for many buyers.
— Fuel Economy
Both the Pilot and Passport get relatively good gas mileage for a mid-size SUV. The specific fuel economy you can expect depends on the trim level you purchase. For instance, the front-wheel drive Passport is rated at 20 city / 25 hwy. However, the AWD models are rated at 19 city / 24 hwy. The Pilot, on the other hand, is capable of getting up to 27 MPG on the highway. Even though it is slightly larger in size, the 10-speed transmission and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system on the Pilot helps it attain slightly better fuel economy than the Passport.
— Engine Performance & Towing Capacity
The Pilot and Passport offer very similar engine performance and towing capacity, although the towing ability of each vehicle depends on the trim level and configuration. Both vehicles come standard with a V-6 engine, and the engines produce plenty of power for the size of these vehicles. The Passport is especially fun to drive, as the engine produces 280 horsepower. The Pilot engine produces 285 horsepower, and both cars produce 262 lb-ft of torque.
If you plan to tow something, these new Honda SUVs are more than capable. Both vehicles provide a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds in the two-wheel drive model, while the all-wheel drive models provide a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. If you need to pull a small trailer, ATV, or other toys, both of these Honda SUVs will be able to do it with ease.
— Interior Features
Since you spend most of your time inside your vehicle, a comfortable interior is one of the key deciding factors for many individuals. Both vehicles come equipped with standard cloth seats, although you can upgrade to leather seats in the higher trim levels. The front seats in both serve their purpose, but neither is extremely comfortable. You can select an optional power moonroof in both the Pilot and Passport. As expected, both vehicles have a premium audio system, climate control, and other standard features.
When it comes to entertainment and connectivity, you won’t find too many differences between the Passport and the Pilot. Both vehicles feature standard equipment that you would expect from a modern car, including USB and Bluetooth connectivity. An optional wireless phone charger gives the Pilot a slight edge here, and the big difference is the available rear entertainment system in the Pilot. This system features a Blu-Ray and a streaming player with two sets of wireless headphones to keep the rear passengers entertained during travel.
— Vehicle Size & Cargo Space
The biggest difference between the Passport and the Pilot is legroom and extra space. The Passport only has room for five passengers and two rows of seating. However, the Pilot includes an extra row of rear seats and can seat up to eight passengers. You can expect captain’s chairs in the first row, either captain’s chairs or bench seating in the second row, and a bench seat in the third row.
If you are tall, then the Pilot is probably the right choice for you. The Pilot is six inches longer than the Passport and also provides a little extra headroom for you. The Pilot allows for up to roughly 153 cubic feet of passenger room, while the Passport only has 115 cubic feet.
The Pilot also outshines the Passport in terms of cargo volume. Putting down the rear seats allows for 109 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Passport only has about 100 cubic feet. If you have a bigger family or need to carry supplies or other materials, then the choice here will be fairly obvious.
Honda is known for its great reliability, and both of these vehicles prove that point. Both the Pilot and Passport have traditionally received great reliability scores from industry experts. Although the Honda HR-V has had some problems, Honda, along with Toyota, is typically known to be one of the most reliable vehicles on the road. There is no reason to expect the 2023 models of the Passport and Pilot will be any different.
If you do have any problems, you might need to turn to your warranty coverage for help. Honda includes a standard 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty on both the Passport and Pilot. This is an average warranty for the industry, although some manufacturers are starting to up their game when it comes to warranties. For example, Hyundai includes a 5-year, 60,000-mile basic warranty with most of their vehicles today. It might be time for Honda to consider increasing or extending their warranty on new cars.
The decision on which type of car to purchase often comes down to cost, so how do the Passport and Pilot stack up against each other regarding pricing? The Pilot has a much wider MSRP range than the Passport due to the number of trim levels available. A base LX model Pilot starts around $37,000, while the Elite trim level Pilot can cost over $54,000. On the other hand, the basic Passport is the EX-L model, and the pricing on it starts at roughly $42,000. The Elite passport tops out at around $48,000. We will discuss the differences in trim levels in more detail later in this article.
Honda Pilot vs. Honda Passport — How To Choose The Right One
Both of these vehicles excel in the mid-size SUV market, so how do you choose which one is right for you? These vehicles are similar in many ways and have very similar specs in many categories. In terms of engine performance, towing capacity, and interior features, there are not many differences between the Passport and Pilot.
However, there are a couple of key areas that will likely make the difference. If you need more room or extra space, the Pilot is the obvious choice. It offers more cargo space and more passenger room. The Pilot can seat up to eight passengers. Since the Passport can only seat five, it is not an option for families of more than five people.
The other factor that might affect your decision is cost. If you want the absolute lowest cost vehicle, the base model Pilot will be your pick. However, if you have a little more money to spend, the entry-level Passport offers more features than a similar Pilot in the same price range. If you are unsure of which vehicle to choose, you should test drive both of them. Test driving the vehicles will give you an opportunity to see firsthand how much room they each have, and you can decide whether the extra features are worth the extra money.
New Honda SUV Trim Levels
Honda offers several trim levels on their SUVs, including the Honda CR-V, HR-V, Passport, and Pilot. You will see trims, such as the LX, EX-L, Touring, and others, across almost their entire SUV lineup. Typically, the LX trim level is the base model. You will generally find cloth seats in the LX lineup, and no extra features will be included. The LX usually includes a smaller Infotainment screen with no extras.
The EX-L model is the mid-tier lineup. The EX-L is still fairly cost-effective, while it also adds some more features that you won’t find on the LX. For instance, the EX-L usually includes a larger Infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, a power liftgate, and wireless phone charging. If you are looking for a great combination of features and cost, the EX-L is probably the right choice for you.
Other trim levels, like the Touring and TrailSport, add even more features. The Trailsport, for instance, adds some special off-road capabilities, like upgraded wheels and tires. Finally, the Elite is the top-of-line trim level. The Elite usually offers almost every upgrade available, but it is also at the top of the price range. If you enjoy luxury and want all the additional features in a vehicle, then the Elite trim level is the one you want to buy.
Benefits Of Owning A Honda SUV
One of the biggest benefits of owning a Honda SUV is its reliability. Honda is generally considered to be one of the most reliable vehicles on the road, and most people drive their Honda for thousands of miles without any issues. If you do encounter problems with your Honda, it is a reputable brand that will stand behind its product.
There are thousands of Honda dealerships across the country, so even if you are traveling, you should be able to find a dealership not too far away. In the absence of a dealership, many independent shops are able to service and repair Hondas. Having peace of mind knowing that service is available in the rare instance you do have problems is a big benefit.
Tips For Getting The Best Deal On Your Honda SUV
If you have decided to purchase one of these new Honda SUVs, you probably want to know how to get the best deal. There are a few tips you should follow to get the lowest price possible on your purchase. First, always shop around! Contact multiple dealerships to see if they offer any special deals. You might find vehicles that are very similar in features yet thousands of dollars apart in price. You would be surprised that some dealers are willing to negotiate while others are not. Always shop around and explore your options.
Also, do your homework before visiting the dealership! Perform some research using vehicle valuation tools to get a good idea of what the car you want is worth. You can even find some tools that allow you to see what similar vehicles are selling for your area. Being prepared with this data will help you greatly during the negotiation process.
Next, be willing to consider last year’s model. Some dealerships may still have prior year models sitting on their lot, and they are usually willing to make a good deal to get rid of them. This is especially true as new models start to arrive. The dealer needs to clear space for the new vehicles, and you might be able to get a great deal on a brand-new vehicle.
Lastly, if you simply can’t afford a new car, consider buying a used Honda SUV. Used car prices are usually quite a bit less than new car prices, even for very gently used cars. We have already mentioned that Hondas have great reliability, so you should not be concerned about purchasing a Honda SUV that already has a few miles on it. While it could take you a little longer to find a used car with all the specific features you want, the deal that you get on it could more than make up for the wait. You can also use retailers like Carvana and CarMax to search thousands of vehicles for the right one.
The Bottom Line
The Honda Passport and Pilot are similar in many ways, although the size and interior space are the biggest differences. Both SUVs are reliable and offer many great features, like intelligent traction management, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay. However, if you need a vehicle with a third-row seat, the Pilot will be the only choice for you. The Passport only offers two rows of seating. However, for those looking to do mild off-roading, the Passport TrailSport might be the best choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Honda Passport being discontinued?
No, there are currently no plans to discontinue the Honda Passport. The vehicle was not produced for many years, although it was brought back in 2019. Originally debuting in 1993, the Passport was produced until 2002. There was a 17-year break in production, and the Passport came back onto the scene in 2019. As of now, there are no plans to discontinue the Passport going forward.
Is the 2023 Honda Passport bigger than the Pilot?
No, the 2023 Passport is not bigger than the Pilot. In fact, the Pilot is about six inches longer than the Passport, and the Pilot offers more interior room. The Passport is limited to only two rows of seating, while the Pilot accommodates a third-row seat and up to eight passengers. The Pilot also offers more headroom and cargo space behind the first row of seats. If you have a bigger family or frequently carry cargo, the Pilot will be the best choice for you.
Is the Honda Passport more expensive than a Pilot?
The answer depends on the trim level of the specific vehicle. When comparing the base model LX Pilot to the base model EX-L Passport, the Passport is more expensive. However, the EX-L Passport typically includes more features at this price level. When comparing the top-tier models, the Elite Pilot is more expensive than the Elite Passport. So, pricing comparisons really must be made on a very specific basis so that you can compare apples to apples when it comes to features.
Is the Honda Passport better than the Pilot?
The Passport and Pilot are both great SUVs, and which one you choose between the Honda Pilot vs Passport usually comes down to your personal needs. If you need a larger SUV, then the Pilot will be the obvious choice. However, if you want a smaller SUV capable of doing some light off-roading, then the Passport TrailSport is probably the right choice. These two SUVs serve different purposes and markets; therefore, it is difficult to say that one is better than the other.