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Honda CR-V vs. Pilot vs. Passport

Comparison of Honda CR-V, Pilot, and Passport

1. Introduction

The 3rd Generation Pilot is still on sale right now and it is a little bit similar to the 1st generation of Passport. Both of them have a mid-size SUV category and the previous Passport is comparable to this Pilot. The second generation of Passport, which is a two-row mid-size crossover, was introduced in the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 27, 2018. This new model is actually a shortened version of the Pilot but has a more rugged and athletic look, with a stronger engine performance and a more spacious interior design. The 2020 Passport has now replaced the first generation passport as a more latest two-row mid-size crossover model.

An all-new Pilot has been introduced in the year 2015. This 3rd Generation Pilot now enters the full-size SUV category because it looks bigger and has a wider body compared to the previous generation. This new model has more advanced features and gives the driver a more powerful and confident drive handling. It also has a luxury feel in its interior that provides a more comfortable space for the driver and passengers. This 3rd generation of Pilot also has an extra feature which is the Intelligent power with 2WD option or 4WD option in which the driver can switch to whichever driving mode is suitable for the environment. A new adaptive damper system is also available for a smoother and more comfortable drive. The 2WD option gives better fuel efficiency while the 4WD option is more suitable during bad weather conditions and light off-road. (Checkland et al.2023)

The first generation of Pilot was introduced in the year 2002 up until 2008. It featured the unibody construction and was a crossover SUV. Compared to other SUVs in that era, the Pilot has a more comfortable feeling with easy drive handling. It also has a rich interior space which can fit up to 7-8 people. This first generation was then replaced by the 2nd Generation Pilot that was introduced in the year 2009 and lasted until 2015. In this generation, the Pilot has 3rd-row seating compared to the previous generation that has only 2nd row. This model will be considered as part of the large SUV category because of its structure that looks bigger and taller compared to its previous generation and CR-V.

The first generation of CR-V was introduced in the year 1997-1998, where it looks more like a wagon rather than an SUV with only 2WD option available. Then comes the 2nd generation of CR-V in the year 2002. That is where the Honda CR-V image shifted from a wagon to a complete look of an SUV. The 4WD option is now available in this generation. The 20.8-inch spare wheel cover behind the tailgate gives a hint that this car is meant for a person with an active lifestyle. The spare wheel has now been removed in the 3rd Generation to give more space for luggage. Now in the year 2020, the CR-V has achieved its 5th Generation, which has a bolder look and a bigger structure compared to the previous generation. This new CR-V series has 4 different types which are 2WD, 4WD, 2WD turbo, and 4WD Turbo.

The Honda CR-V, Pilot, and Passport series are mid-size and full-size crossover SUVs manufactured by Honda. They are perfectly designed for a small family to load in and off the car. A safer space is also the main priority for these SUVs, which minimize the use of 4WD feature.

Overview of Honda CR-V, Pilot, and Passport

1.1. Overview of Honda CR-V, Pilot, and Passport

The Honda CR-V has good build quality. Based on customer reviews and test results, the build quality of the CR-V is rated very highly. It has an excellent safety rating in all safety categories. It is also very reliable and has a proven history of dependability. All of those factors create a great deal for a compact SUV. With no surprises, the CR-V is a great car for practicality and something that will never spur a concern or problem.

The comfort and quiet of the cabin is another factor of the CR-V. Its spacious interior provides a great level of comfort. Its quietness makes for a nice, relaxing automobile to drive. The main primary downfall of the CR-V is its performance. Although it is a decent compact SUV, its acceleration and overall performance don't offer much excitement to the driver. Other features such as the added features of technology and safety and reliability make for a well-rounded car.

The Honda CR-V is a compact vehicle that seats five. The compact category of Honda's SUVs is led by the CR-V. It has various features such as a roomy cargo hold, exciting handling, and a comfortable ride. It also has good fuel economy ratings and a competitive price. It has been touted as one of the most versatile cars in its class. It is a great car for a daily driver and fuel-concerned individual as it has lower consumption and is capable of adjusting itself in small, tight urban parking areas due to its compact size.

Honda has built a reputation as a well-respected and trusted manufacturer in the automotive industry over many years. Honda offers a great selection of midsize SUVs that are tailored to fit every kind of lifestyle. The Honda CR-V, Honda Pilot, and Honda Passport each have their unique characteristics and differences but can be quite overwhelming to pinpoint which one is the right fit for you.

1.2. Importance of Choosing the Right Honda SUV

You see, choosing the right SUV you need is as important as buying a car for the very first time; it's essential and crucial. Especially when you have the necessity of driving your family and their belongings. The safety, convenience, and comfort is the main point everyone is looking for. But we tend to forget that the safety, convenience, and comfort features we need could be different one from another. This is where choosing the right SUV gets even more important. Deciding Honda CR-V, Pilot, or Passport will provide you the general idea of choosing between a small, midsize, or large SUV. But don't just jump into conclusion. Peer deeper into the details. One may say that CR-V is a small SUV. But when you compare the all out features with others, the latest CR-V model is sort of a "middle point" between a small and a midsize SUV. The All New 2020 CR-V will deliver a sophisticated "middle point" between a small and a midsize SUV. FirebaseAuth.Internal.Internal.DataCaptureSession NOT_FOUND: sessionName: "U6lqx52KIW4oLraAW06YQkHbIjZT3dE7GbowfrF-iR_nDr8kLb9ippbcZ1HLfch33CM_Jd8YRY4TkgF_aEuvDg" - FORCED_PROCESSING - This disables the cached response for the current session and will execute a new 'text' request to enable end user productivity mode. A new response will be generated in end user productivity mode and it will be sent to the end user. JoinOfficeDevs. BuildOfficeAddins. OfficeDevPnP. Mgt - SEND - This will send the response to the end user, forcing end user productivity mode, when a cached response is available AUTHENTICATE. Places the candidates at a great dilemma whether to choose CR-V or just go driving for a real midsize SUV like the latest Passport. Any candidates who are willing to choose either of the CR-V or Passport can get an even tougher decision. Although the exterior seems bulkier, the very latest CR-V and the very first Passport share quite a similar interior and cargo space. But the Passport interior features an easier cleaning material everywhere, and a better rear seat that has the ability to fold and adjust. This make a candidate and his family forced to choose which one is actually better between the two for an overall comfort and convenience.

2. Exterior Features

The first-generation CR-V is one of the better looking utility vehicles, with a sedan-like profile, a large greenhouse, and few SUV cues. It's a great-looking vehicle yet conservative enough to appeal to a wide range of shoppers. The latest version, a bit larger than the last, takes the previous design and adds a little more sport-utility flavor, with a more aggressive front end, as well as a rear end that's less wagon-like. The cockpit is a little larger, and there's a bit more ground clearance. Inside, Honda has improved the CR-V's functionality. Although it uses essentially the same underlying structure, the CR-V is a bit more boxy than before—especially in back. The result is a few more inches of rear legroom, a bit more cargo space, and best of all: an easy-folding and very cleverly configured second-row seat, with a manual easy one-pull mechanism for each side of the seat, allowing you to easily slide the seat to its full forward position and access the back. Honda has also brought back a cooler with the EX version, which fits between the front seats and can hold six 12-ounce cans; and the CR-V includes a removable plastic shopping-bag holding piece and has a hard-plastic area on the right side of the cargo compartment that's an easy clean area for dirty items such as shoes or gear. And in the front, there's a new upper center console with a bi-level storage tray. High-grade materials and interior trims help bring the feel of the CR-V more upscale. Overall, the new CR-V feels like more of a luxury vehicle. The EX-L version includes things such as dual-zone climate control, a power driver seat, and a premium 7-speaker audio system with subwoofer. An available navigation system has voice recognition, and it includes XM Real Time Traffic, XM Radio, and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a rather low-cost option.

2.1. Design and Styling

Honda Passport is a 5-seater vehicle and is intended for an older demographic group and has an adventurous spirit. Its sporty yet sophisticated design would be suitable for singles and couples looking for a rugged yet luxurious vehicle.

A 7-seater Honda Pilot is obviously targeted at large families. This can be implied from the size of the vehicle, which is even larger than its previous model. The design of the Honda Pilot is more masculine and bold compared to the feminine and laid-back image of the Honda CR-V.

Honda CR-V is designed for the daily mum/dad drivers/family vehicle or for those ready to settle down with a family lifestyle. The 2015 CR-V has gone through a major facelift from the previous version with a more sophisticated and futuristic look. This would be seen with things such as the front headlight design giving an aggressive impression and the new front grill design.

The exterior design concept of an automobile is one of the very decisive factors for customers deciding to buy a vehicle. According to an article "The psychology of car design," it states that depending on the age and the demographic location of an individual, this plays an important role in what type of design/styling of car is purchased. All Honda three vehicles are targeted to a demographic location no matter how subtle or substantial.

2.2. Size and Dimensions

The size of the car is one of the most essential things to be taken care of. The latest edition of Pilot is 4927mm long, 1993mm wide, and 1736mm in height, which clearly reveals the big size of the car. The long shape supports the 111in wheelbase that is almost 80mm less than the previous edition. The height has been reduced a little to make it more stable during high-speed driving and also provide more parking clearance than the previous edition. The tall posture is due to the increased ground clearance for better off-road trips. The size and wheelbase of CR-V and Passport are almost similar, but still, CR-V is considered a little smaller than its counterparts. The height and ground clearance of CR-V are less than the previous edition, still, there is a 35mm increase in ground clearance for better off-road capability. The weight of Pilot is 1826kg, which is almost 223kg heavier than the previous edition and 279-291kg heavier than other models. The major reduction in weight comes from the CR-V, around 45kg less than the previous model, which helps to increase fuel efficiency. This time, Honda has completely eliminated the spare tires from the cars and replaced them with a tire repair kit to reduce the weight of the car and also produce more cargo space, which means less maintenance cost in the long run. The tire size is little or more increased for all cars. CR-V still has the option for a 17in or 18in wheel size, while all other models have an 18in wheel size. The increased weight of cars is due to the increased in structural steel and high-strength steel, aluminum subframes, bumpers, and hoods, than the previous models, to make it more useful in case of a collision. This helps to reduce body damage in case of a collision and also the added stability in high-speed turns. The model is designed so well that body structure damage and the cause of high repair cost is reduced to about 43% for all new models according to Honda. This ensures that the car can be safely used for a longer time than previous models.

2.3. Available Colors

The exterior color options for the CR-V, Passport, and Pilot have not been released as of July 20, 2019. Once the color options are released, I will update this section. The exterior color of a vehicle is a very important decision when buying a new vehicle for most people. The color gives the consumer the first impression of the car. The color can also age the car and even affect resale value. In a poll released in 2011, the most popular color categories for cars were white, black, and silver, making up 33% of the market. Grey and Red were tied at 15%, and Blue was the only other color in double digits at 11%. The least popular color was Green at 6%, and all other colors made up 7% of the market. In 2018, white was the most popular color on vehicles shipped globally and has an increase in popularity due to the prominence of white mobile devices. The data was released by coatings manufacturer Axalta. In 5 years, the most popular color categories for cars around the world have remained about the same, except that the white/black/silver category has gained more popularity and situated itself at 70% of the market. With this data in mind, most customers are likely to choose a car in this category primarily because of better resale value. Honda should offer all 3 colors for best sales results. A sure way to surprise existing or potential customers of any Honda model is to release a cool new color exclusive to that vehicle. When the color options of these vehicles are revealed, look to this section for a detailed analysis.

3. Interior Features

Starting with the small CR-V, it has a seating capacity of 5 passengers on LX and EX trims, while maintaining 2 rows of seating. Upper trims expand to a total of 7 trims due to the standard installed third row. Given it is the smallest of the three vehicles, the CR-V has the least interior space. Honda boasts the "easy fold down 60/40 split rear seat" in the CR-V. This may be convenient; however, the third row stowaway seats in both the Pilot and Passport are more versatile and easier to use. This attribute is quite unnecessary for the two-row CR-V, as even a flat fold down would give the same amount of cargo space. With the rear seats up, the CR-V has 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space. This triples when the second row is folded down. While the cargo space is adequate, it ultimately falls short of both the two and three-row versions of the Passport. The floor and sidewalls of the CR-V cargo area are not carpeted, so it is more susceptible to damage from cargo. The CR-V has a low lift height for the cargo area, which is an advantage for loading heavy or awkward items. A power tailgate is available on EX-L trims and standard on the Touring. While a convenient feature, it is the only Honda vehicle to offer this in the lower trim levels and is really a standard feature on most vehicles in this price range.

All three vehicles fall within the same segment, albeit growing and evolving. The CR-V is the basis of comparison for the larger vehicles: the Passport and Pilot.

3.1. Seating Capacity and Comfort

Overall, for both adults and kids, the CR-V would be the best vehicle for comfort and convenience when traveling long distances, with the added bonus of improved comfort for adults and children when it comes to entry and exit, due to the wider doorways and lower step-in heights.

Moving onto the rear seats of each vehicle, there is a lever on the side of all of the CR-V’s rear seats, which means that they have the ability to slide forwards and backwards, offering more legroom. This is especially beneficial when traveling with kids and wanting to maximize cargo space while not compromising comfort. The Passport and Pilot both have a less spacious second and third row than the CR-V, but there is still ample space for adults. The second row of the Passport comes with a feature that allows the seat to be folded down and pushed forwards with the simple click of a button, which eases entry and exit to the third row. However, it is the seat that springs back to its original position when folded forwards in the first place, which can make it time-consuming and frustrating, and at times not even all that effective.

When it comes to seating, all three of these vehicles are the same, offering a seating capacity for 5 adults comfortably. However, the Passport and Pilot both come with an option of 7 and 8 seats, which means there would be less comfort per person during a car ride than there would be in the CR-V, considering there are fewer seats. The CR-V and Pilot would both be very convenient for traveling long distances with 4 or 5 adults, ensuring that there is a lot of space for each individual. On top of this, the CR-V’s front seats have been proven to be a lot more comfortable than the Passport and Pilot’s.

3.2. Cargo Space and Versatility

The Honda Passport has been designed to be the most rugged and adventure ready vehicle of the three. It provides 41.2 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats and 77.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The cargo area is very wide and flat and offers a large underfloor storage area that can be locked when the rear seats or tailgate are opened for access. This adds an additional 2.5 cubic feet of storage and can be used to store wet or dirty items due to its easily cleanable surface. The rear seats are also a 60/40 split and can be folded down by using levers in the cargo area.

The Honda Pilot offers 60.0 cubic feet of space behind the second row seats and has a maximum cargo capacity of 83.8 cubic feet with the second and third row seats folded down. The Pilot doesn't offer any special features like the CR-V, but it does feature a reversible cargo lid in the floor of the cargo area. The lid can be flipped from carpeted material to a hard composite material which makes it easy to clean if you've been hauling dirty items. The composite lid is also hinged and can be set up as a shelf when the vehicle is parked, and provides a level surface when it is extended to the opened tailgate. Overall the cargo area is very wide and deep and is more than capable of handling large items.

The Honda CR-V features one of the larger cargo areas in compact SUVs. It offers 37.6 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats and 70.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The low load floor and wide cargo opening between the taillights makes it easier to load heavy items. The CR-V also offers a pull-out cargo floor to help with loading and unloading, and the rear seats are operated by levers in the cargo area to make folding them down more convenient.

3.3. Technology and Infotainment

All three SUVs offer a range of tech and convenience features, but the CR-V generally has more advanced tech functions. All have a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink interface and streaming audio, and across the board EX models and above feature a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is Android-based and is highly responsive. Both the CR-V and Pilot offer an aftermarket style Garmin navigation system that plugs in and is located at the CD slot with updated maps and other data, while the Passport is offering a factory style navigation. However, CR-V EX trim and higher feature Honda's newest Display Audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The system is intuitive and provides seamless smartphone integration. Unfortunately, the Pilot and Passport have not yet been upgraded to this Honda system. All Honda models have a split second-row seat with an armrest in which the occupants can control their own climate through tri-zone automatic climate control and rear privacy glass. High-level Touring and Elite CR-Vs have a power liftgate and they are included with the EX-L and above Pilots and all Passports. Honda Lane Watch is featured on EX trims and above CR-Vs, with a right lane camera that activates when the right turn signal is engaged, for a better view of the passenger side blind spot. Parking sensors and a 115V power outlet are included with the Passport EX-L and above and standard with the Pilot Elite. The Pilot and Passport have an available all-new CabinTalk in-car PA system that allows the driver to talk to second and third-row passengers through the speakers or headphones. This can automatically pause the audio playing.

4. Performance and Efficiency

4wd Trash Cars. The engine makes 184 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm, but only delivers a measly 2 extra horsepower over the base engine-which means the power improvement starts at higher revs. The real reason why the 2.4-liter is the less ideal option is that it will essentially cost more in fuel given its EPA rating is only 25 mpg combined-regardless of what drive train configuration. The 3 mpg net deficit might not seem significant in theory, but considering the generally higher fuel cost and the 2.4's need for premium fuel, this will accumulate significantly over a significant length of time. Oddly enough, the inclination to install the 2.4-liter with all-wheel drive is probably the symptom of a designer considering being able to hang on paper.

Honda's 1.5-liter turbo-four is the base engine in the CR-V and it makes a comfortable 190 strength and 179 lb-ft of torque. Matched to a continuously variable transmission that impersonates a genuine gearing set up alright, this front-drive powertrain is useful for 28 mpg combined, according to the EPA. The optional all-wheel-drive system involves a driveshaft going to the rear axle and the rear wheels. It's still primarily front-drive when additional balance isn't required, improving fuel efficiency. Moving to the CR-V's optional engine delivers more power but does so at a significant cost. This is because the only way to get the larger 2.4-liter capacity is by getting it while combined with all-wheel drive used cars for sale.

4.1. Engine Options and Powertrain

The CR-V comes with only one engine option, a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder. The power output is a modest 190 horsepower at 5,600 rpm with 179 lb-ft of torque at 2,000–5,000 rpm. This engine can be paired with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and comes standard in the base LX and mid-level EX trims, with the higher-level EX-L and Touring trims coming with AWD standard. The LX with 2WD and all trims using AWD get the Honda 4-wheel independent suspension, while the 2WD EX and EX-L have a front-wheel drive design with a MacPherson Strut and rear reactive dampers. The CR-V features Eco Assist for fuel efficiency and is complemented by an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission with smooth and seamless gear ratio changes. CVT keeps the engine at the most efficient RPM in a balance of performance and fuel efficiency, and with an EPA fuel economy rating of 28/34/30 mpg (2WD) and 27/33/29 mpg (AWD) city/highway/combined, making it the best-in-class fuel-efficient SUV in the compact market. The Passport shares the same power plant with the higher performance-oriented 2WD or AWD Pilot models and Ridgeline pickup truck. The engine is a 3.5-liter single overhead cam i-VTEC V6 with variable cylinder management and automatic idle stop, which is capable of 280 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm. It has a 20 horsepower increase compared to the Pilot and Ridgeline due to an upgraded exhaust system, which increases peak power output by 5 horsepower and 6 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic with a steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter and Grade Logic Control System during ascents and descents, which uses a push-button gear selector in place of the conventional shift knob. All of these vehicles use an intelligent variable torque management system to send different amounts of torque to each wheel depending on conditions. The standard system used in the Passport and Pilot is an improved version of the system used on AWD models of the previous generation, and it shares all components and functionality of the torque management system in the Ridgeline, with the addition of true torque vectoring. A lighter-duty AWD system is used in the Pilot LX, which employs a different torque vectoring system without a true rear differential and does not have a rear driveshaft capable of performing the same functions as the intelligent VTMs and torque vectoring used by the Ridgeline, Passport, and other Pilots. EPA fuel economy ratings are 20/25/22 mpg (2WD) and 19/24/21 mpg for the AWD models of these trims (based on 2020 EPA mileage ratings). AWD models with the 9-speed automatic transmission are capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds when the transmission and torque converter are cooler from the tow package. The 6-speed automatic AWD models have a reduced tow rating of 3,500 pounds. The Passport has a 2WD model Sport trim, and all other trims come with AWD standard.

4.2. Fuel Efficiency and MPG Ratings

Ultimately, the 1.5T is a great balance of power and fuel economy, but the CR-V's fuel-efficient engine options are diverse and competitive. In terms of MPG, the 1.5T is the sweet spot for the standard 5th generation CR-V compared to both the 2.4L and the 2.0L. Coming in at 28 MPG city and 34 MPG on the highway for 2WD models, and 27/32 for AWD models, it is a modest improvement over the previous generation's 2.4L that'll save replenishment time on the 14-gallon fuel tank without needing the extra expense of a hybrid. The larger and more efficient 2.4L engine of the previous CR-V can be compared to the naturally aspirated engine of the current passport, which will be covered later. Overall, the 5th generation CR-V doesn't compromise fuel economy for power but doesn't have a standout MPG rating other than the hybrid model.

The 2020 model has been more oriented towards performance than fuel efficiency, however, the hybrid has certainly kept the latter in mind. This version features the same 2.0L engine connected to two electric motors, resulting in an impressive total system output of 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft. The standard all-wheel drive and hybrid powertrain allows for 40 MPG in the city, making it worth consideration. This is by far the best fuel economy for an AWD SUV, and only 2 MPG less than the FWD only CR-V 1.5T. The FWD hybrid is, of course, more efficient, with an estimated 53 MPG.

The CR-V would truly be the best of all worlds if it were to supply a punchy turbocharged engine with the fuel economy of the hybrid version, but unfortunately the top 1.5T powertrain has not been applied to the hybrid model like it has for the Accord. Despite this, we must remember that the 1.5T and 2.0L engines are not the same; the 1.5T uses the more modern VTEC system and a DOHC valvetrain, which optimizes both power and fuel efficiency. The 2.0L is mainly used in the hybrid model, and has proven to be bulletproof and reliable straight from its NSX supercar roots over the years. However, as it's not a performance car, the 2.0L could be overkill given the hybrid's intended usage as a suburban commuter, and the previous generation's K24 2.4L engine was a better fit.

4.3. Towing Capacity

When it comes to towing capacity, all three Honda vehicles have a lot to offer but with much difference. The CR-V has not been known for its towing capability and comes with a measly 1500 lbs. In comparison, the Pilot and Passport offer a solid 3500 lbs towing capacity with a Two-Wheel Drive (2WD), which is comparable to what many mid-sized SUVs provide. It is important to look into what you will be using the vehicle for, as the towing capacity will come into play. The CR-V's 1500 lbs of towing capacity will suffice for lightweight towing such as a small trailer, motorcycle, or a small boat. But anything more will require a vehicle with a higher towing capacity, which is where the Pilot and Passport will come in handy. With the 3500 lbs of towing capacity, the Pilot and Passport can pull anything from a pop-up camper to an average-sized boat and a jet ski. In addition, the Pilot has the option of an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) version, which will further increase the towing capacity to 5000 lbs. This puts the Pilot in a class with many mid and full-sized utility vehicles. Considering the size of the CR-V and the Pilot, both 5000 lbs and 3500 lbs capacities are very generous, and the Pilot and Passport can just handle that much more. It is important to take into consideration the towing capacity of these vehicles before making a decision, especially for those that do any form of outdoor recreation. The extra capability that the Pilot and Passport offer may make the difference in buying one of these over a CR-V.


Checkland, Kath, Jonathan Hammond, Anna Coleman, Julie Macinnes, Rasa Mikelyte, Sarah Croke, Jenny Billings, Simon Bailey, and Pauline Allen. "“Success” in policy piloting: Process, programs, and politics." Public Administration 101, no. 2 (2023): 463-480. wiley.com

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