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Honda Passport Elite vs Touring

1. Features

The new Honda Passport has arrived with no major changes from the previous year. The two trims for this SUV are the Elite and Touring. The question many people have is "what are the differences?" This essay will summarize the two editions and what sets them apart. The biggest distinction between the Elite and Touring is the all-wheel drive system. The Elite comes standard with AWD, while the Touring has the option of FWD or the upgraded AWD. There are some minor differences in features when it comes to wheels, roof rails, and audio systems. Although these, as well as different color options, could distinguish one from the other, I will focus mainly on the AWD and other common features of the two trims. No single feature is a game changer, but the sum of the differences would influence someone to choose one over the other. (Allen & Weber, 2021)

1.1. Engine Performance

Although both systems are quite advanced, the 2022 Honda Passport Elite is equipped with a more traditional rear/front-wheel drive system.

The 2022 Honda Passport Touring features the same engine and is equipped with the same VCM technology and ability to tow. The major difference with the 2022 Honda Passport Touring is the drivetrain. This trim features an all-new "intelligent variable torque management all-wheel drive system." This system accurately applies torque to the rear wheels when acceleration is crucial for starting on snow or mud. It's also equipped with an intelligent traction management system for different terrain.

The drivetrain is an intelligent variable torque 4-wheel drive system that provides the driver with four different drive modes: normal, snow, mud, and sand for maximum grip and performance. This system uses Honda's fourth-generation real-time system with intelligent power and management. From side to side and front to back, the system directs power to the wheels with traction, helping keep the vehicle on course and maximizing power delivery when needed.

The 2022 Honda Passport Elite features Honda's top-of-the-line i-VTEC V-6, 3.5-liter engine equipped with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM). This engine delivers 280 horsepower at 6000 rpm, and torque is 262 lbs/ft at 4700 rpm. The VCM increases fuel efficiency by allowing cylinders to deactivate during cruising or coasting, conserving energy by not needing all cylinders all the time.

The 2022 Honda Passport Elite and 2022 Honda Passport Touring are the two highest trims offering the Honda Passport. Both capable SUVs, there are some differences in the engine performance as well as several other features to consider when choosing between the two. According to Cars.com, J.D. Power reports, and the Honda website, the major differences between the two begin with the engine and drivetrain, providing additional features depending on trim.

1.2. Interior Design

Elite and Touring designs both have top of the line interior features such as leather-trimmed interior, driver's seat with 10-way power adjustment, including power lumbar support and memory function, and front passenger's seat with 4-way power adjustment. Besides that, the Elite design has perforated, heated, and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats compared to the Touring design that only has heated front and rear seats. Also, the Elite design has a heated steering wheel which is not available in the Touring design. The Touring design has second-row seats with a one-touch walk-in feature which makes it easier to access the third-row seat. Both designs have a tri-zone automatic climate control system and a one-touch power moonroof. Step up inside the vehicle, and the differences in the designs become apparent. The Elite hue adds a slick-looking two-tone brown and black interior (EX-L and Touring have an all-black layout), and its soft, perforated leather gets an extra bit of ventilation up front (seatbacks included) that's not available on other models. The second row on the Elite, still a pair of captain's chairs, has heating capabilities for cold mornings, something sorely missed from the Touring model. Third-row passengers in the Elite get some extra convenience as well with heated seats, another feature skipped an Elite notch up. The Elite's parking prowess is paired with power-folding side mirrors which can come in handy in tight parking spaces. High-traffic family drivers will appreciate the Elite's ease of cleaning with second-row floor mats that have a channel to prevent liquids from getting to the carpet, and all seats feature a tough-wearing material that feels ready for abuse from kids and pets. Honda created the Passport as a smaller alternative to their three-row midsize Pilot. As a result, the Passport has more cargo space in the trunk with the rear seats up. The EX-L and Touring Passport both have a liftgate at the back that opens to reveal 41.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Elite and all-wheel drive models drop the number down a bit to 41.3 cubic feet. This is the result of Elite models having a compartment underneath the trunk floor for extra storage, but it necessitates the deletion of the rear liftgate, replacing it with a split door. Third-row seats take away a sizable chunk of cargo space, but that's not an issue with the Passport and its five-seat layout. The 60:40 split for the rear seats and availability of latches and tethers for child safety seats in all seating positions have family convenience all over them. Grouping the Elite's interior features together gives the feel of a top of the line package that's truly something unique in the midsize SUV segment, and it's well worthy of the $4,000 jump from EX-L to Elite. (Ferré Gras, 2023)

1.3. Safety Features

Although these models come standard with Honda Sensing, the Elite Model has a couple more added safety features and safety feature add-ons. The Elite comes standard with the following Honda Sensing Feature: Blind Spot Information System. This feature will very light flash on the side mirror if there is a vehicle in the blind spot on either side. If the turn signal is activated on that side while there is a vehicle in the blind spot, the light on that side will begin to flash and then finally stay solid. This addition to the already made Honda Sensing features is something that makes the Honda Passport Elite standout from the Honda Passport Touring. This feature is also available for the Honda Passport Touring. Another safety feature that the Elite model offers is the Parking Sensors. This is something that does not come standard on neither the Elite model nor is it something available for add-on for the Touring model. These are 4 sensors on the front and 4 on the back of the vehicle. When the vehicle is turned on, the sensor will beep if there are obstructions in front of even in the reverse gear. The beeping will quicken as the vehicle gets closer to the obstruction. This feature is very helpful when parking in tight spots, it is always nice to have that extra assurance to avoid any collisions when parking. Horsepower is something important that you need to look into for a vehicle. The Elite and Touring Models under the hood are both 3.5-liter V-6 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC Engine with Direct Injection and Variable Cylinder Management. This gives the driver good power. The Horsepower for the Elite and Touring Model is 280 hp at 6000 RPM. The Touring Model is offered in Front Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive and the Elite Model is only offered in All-Wheel Drive. The All-Wheel Drive system is an intelligent variable torque management system handling all weather and road conditions. This is an intelligent type of all-wheel drive and it is offering the best possible all-wheel drive system. With towing being an option and adding on to the power and all-wheel drive system, it is apparent that these models have a lot of potential for any types of trips under any conditions.

The 2019 Honda Passport Elite and 2019 Honda Passport Touring both cover the safety features basis. Every single vehicle gets standard them. Since Airbag Technology is something that is considered necessary in every vehicle to protect passengers' safety, Honda has made the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure and available Front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System. The ACE body structure is a Honda-exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in front crashes. The Front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System is a standard feature that utilizes sensors in the front passenger's seatback to determine if the airbag should be activated and at what force. If you have a child or small-statured adult that will be sitting in the front seat, this is a very important feature. An added bonus to these vehicles is the Honda LaneWatch. This camera is located on the bottom of the passenger side mirror and turns on when the right turn signal is activated or can be turned on by a button below the shift knob. This camera provides an 80-degree view of the passenger side roadway. This is very helpful with lane changes on the highway. When the Honda LaneWatch shows a clear roadway, the driver can safely and easily move into that lane. This is a big positive, seeing as though these vehicles are medium-sized and something that is important is being able to switch lanes on the highway without having to look back multiple times. Both the Elite and the Touring model come standard with this feature.

2. Technology

Regarding driver-assistance features, both models come well equipped. All Passports have the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assists, including adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane departure warning and assistance, and road departure mitigation. However, the Elite includes additional features such as park assist sensors and a blind spot information system (blow up on the right) which alerts the driver when congested and assists in tight detection situations. (Karner, 2021)

The Honda Passport Elite's infotainment system offers a significantly bigger, more diverse suite of features than the Touring's. The Elite trim's 8.0-inch touchscreen fits the Touring's 5.0-inch screen, and both come standard with SiriusXM satellite radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. But the Elite also adds in-dash navigation, a premium audio system with 10 speakers (versus the Touring's 7-speaker audio), and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Both models come with Bluetooth, HD Radio, and multiple USB ports, but these technology features go a long way in making the Elite feel more prestigious inside.

2.1. Infotainment System

For infotainment, we have a pretty similar system on both trims. Both the Touring and Elite have an 8-inch touchscreen high-resolution display. The Touring comes with a 215-watt 7-speaker audio system with a subwoofer, Honda Link, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The Elite comes with a 540-watt 10-speaker premium audio system with a subwoofer, Honda Link, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration. The benefits that the Elite system has over the Touring system is an improved audio system. Although both systems have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration capability, the Elite's system allows for wireless usage. Also congruent through all trims of the Passport is the Sirius XM Radio and HD radio. For the Touring trim, the Passport gets a mobile hotspot capability feature that gets enabled with a data plan. The Elite version of the Passport will get the mobile hotspot capability as well, but it is standard and will incur no extra charge to customers who purchase this trim.

2.2. Driver-Assistance Features

Honda Sensing is a suite of driver-assist features that provide both visual and audible alerts to help prevent collisions. This is an added feature that can be found on the Elite model of the Passport. One key component of Honda Sensing is the Collision Mitigation Braking System, which can trigger if it senses an imminent collision with a vehicle ahead. It will automatically apply brake pressure. Road Departure Mitigation is helpful for detecting lane markers and can provide steering assistance if the vehicle is about to leave the lane, and can also provide braking if the vehicle is about to leave the road. The system uses a small camera located on the upper part of the front windshield to detect if the vehicle is leaving the road. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) keeps a set following interval selected by the driver and will adjust the speed to ensure that interval is maintained. If the vehicle ahead brakes, ACC will reduce speed, and if the vehicle ahead is no longer detected, ACC will return to the last speed set by the driver. When coming to a stop, the ACC is capable of braking and can also hold the vehicle for a short period of time. The Honda Passport Elite driver can also benefit from additional rear seat belt airbags, which can help the occupants in the outboard seats. This variant also includes auto dimming, power folding door mirrors, a bird's eye view of the multi-angle rear camera, and a windshield wiper de-icer. All of these functions are very useful for those colder seasons or winter climates.

3. Pricing and Options

Honda Sensing and AWD are now standard on the Touring. This means that compared to the 2018 model, the premium added for the Touring model over the EX-L has gone down by $1,575. If you count the price increase of the 2019 EX-L over 2018 to be $800, then the premium paid for the added features on the 2019 Touring over the 2019 EX-L would be $775. Beyond these standard features, the first available package to the Touring is the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System for $1,000. This is the same standalone feature as in the Elite, just at a lesser cost.

On the other hand, the Touring has a base price of $39,280, which ends up being a $970 increase over the 2018 model. There are 5 available packages that are not pre-installed on the vehicle, which we will detail below. Like the Elite, AWD only increases the cost of the vehicle through standard taxation.

The Elite starts at $43,680 (plus destination fee), a $2,240 increase over the 2018 model. The only available packages are the $370 all-season protection package (which comes with all-weather floor mats, wheel locks, and cargo bins) and the $210 CarPlay/Android Auto update. The all-season protection package comes pre-installed on the vehicle that comes off the lot, so for all intents and purposes, there is only one available package for the Elite. Honda's AWD system is the same across all trims, so there's no extra cost for it. The only added cost will be taxes, etc. to the Elite's base price.

3.1. Base Price

This Passport is one of the vehicles in the Honda lineup that will come to the market in 2019. This Passport will build on Honda's award-winning light-truck lineup, which includes the HR-V, CR-V, Pilot, and Ridgeline. The Passport will hit dealerships early in 2019 as their newest light-truck addition. This may be the vehicle worth waiting for.

The Sport is starting from $33,035, the EX-L is starting from $36,410, the Touring is starting from $39,280, and the Elite is starting from $43,680. An all-wheel drive for each trim level will cost an additional $1,900, excluding the Elite. For the Elite, AWD is standard. This Passport is also committed to the price given by the Honda as the Real Time Offer from the Honda Dealer with no mark-up price. So, the customer doesn't need to worry or be confused to ask for the best price for this Passport.

The Honda Passport is a unique and premier Honda mid-size SUV that will hit the market with the beginning sales at the beginning of 2019. Honda provides a Passport with four trim levels: Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Every trim level will provide different features starting from the standard one until the high end. Here's the good news for all of the customers who have been waiting for this Passport for a long time: this Passport is likely to be priced a little below the more established Pilot, which starts from $32,445 to $48,915. This means a good value for all buyers who want to grab this Passport for their home. The price is quite competitive and worth the features that you will get.

3.2. Additional Packages

The Elite carries two packages, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System and the Popular Package. With the Touring's standard features, the Elite adds its separate luxury branding with Acura's Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition and the HandsFreeLink. Both of the navigation systems have their advantages, and to give a final call on which one is better is usually up to the consumer. What puts the Elite just $670 over the Touring is the Popular Package. This package consists of a variety of items such as the black running boards with chrome accents, the roof rack with crossbars, the auto day/night mirror with compass, and the all-season protection package. The mirror with compass is a feature that's very rarely seen on vehicles these days, but the key reason why a consumer would only desire this package and to possibly invest in the Elite over the Touring is for the all-season protection package. This package consists of installed splash guards, high wall all-season floor mats, and the folding cargo tray. The installed splash guards and cargo tray are very standard items with no distinguishable differences between the two, but the mats are what put the icing on the cake for this package. Mats are by far the best all-season mats in its class, a step above the norm all-season mats that Honda usually includes in its vehicle packages. This is a major advantage for individuals who live in areas with heavy snowfall and rainfall. With its included compressor/AWD torque management system, the Honda Passport already proves itself as a capable snow day machine. The additional $670 for these items that add a bit more luxury and protection to the vehicle can be seen as a worthwhile investment.

3.3. Available Upgrades

Available upgrades for both trims include the entire spectrum of accessories, but what customers need—depending on their desired use of the vehicle—are the optional packages. With an MSRP of $39,278, our long-term Elite AWD is more money than many three-row crossovers. But that trim's $44,180 for a package that adds a trailer hitch, harness, roof box, and crossbars is cheap for what it includes. The Touring is the only Passport with access to the Urban Package, which adds front and rear underbody spoilers, unique 20-inch wheels, and chrome accents. Cosmetic add-ons aside, customers who buy a Passport primarily for trips into wildernesses will want to spend at least $1,300 for the all-wheel-drive system, which gets them Honda's excellent i-VTM4 torque-vectoring AWD with a rear differential that can move up to 70 percent of the engine's torque to a rear wheel, and 100 percent of that torque to the outside wheel. This should greatly improve all-weather traction and add capability in more severe off-pavement environments. A $2,800 Adventure Package for the AWD Touring gets more aggressive with 1-inch greater ground clearance via smaller sidewall wheels and fatter tires, stainless-steel front and rear underbody protection, and a roof basket and crossbars.

4. Comparison and Verdict

First and foremost, the Elite has a 3.5L V6 engine, getting 20 city/26 hwy mpg and coming standard with AWD. The Touring comes with the standard V6 or a 2.9L 4-cylinder turbo engine. The Touring is FWD and gets 20 city/25 hwy with the standard V6 and 19 city/24 hwy mpg with the 4-cylinder turbo engine. The Elite wins this battle if you are looking to off-road or need the extra storage with the added towing capacity from the AWD, given that the mpg difference is not all that great. If you do not need the extra towing and off-road capabilities, you may find that the Touring's fuel costs end up being a less expensive option in the long run since the 4-cylinder engine has very comparable power and torque to go along with better gas mileage. There are a couple of pretty interesting differences in the safety features of the 2 trims. The Elite comes with the standard suite of Honda Safety Sensing, along with Blind-Spot Monitoring and Parking Sensors. The Touring, while also coming with Honda Safety Sensing, adds on the addition of rain-sensing front windshield wipers and auto-dimming side mirrors. Both of these are undoubtedly great safety options, so the choice comes down to if you are more interested in the parking aids offered by the Elite or the ease of the Touring with the added luxury of the automatic wipers and dimming mirrors.

4.1. Pros and Cons

Cons: The main downfall of the Elite is its higher price point. With an MSRP of $44,180 going up to around $48k with AWD, the Elite is almost $10k more than the Touring. The Elite is also heavier than the Touring by around 60-100 lbs depending on what options you go for. With a little less power to weight ratio and worse AWD capability, this could make the Elite feel a bit slower and more sluggish than the Touring depending on the driving conditions. Even though the extra features in the Elite are nice, some can argue that they are unnecessary and don't justify the higher cost compared to the Touring.

Pros: The Elite has the more powerful motor of the two, coming in at 280-hp vs the 260-hp of the Touring. It is a slight difference but there is no downside to having more power. Another thing the Elite has going for it is the All Wheel Drive system. You can also get the Elite's AWD to work at all speeds by putting it into the i-VTM4 Intelligent AWD setting. This gives the Passport more off-road capability to make it over obstacles like snow, ice, or mud and much for more effective off-road power in general than the Torque-vectoring AWD the Touring offers. All the extra features that the Elite offers are a plus as well.

The Honda Passport Elite

4.2. Final Recommendation

Now for the reality suggestion. Wait for the inevitable big incentives and clearance pricing as a 2020 model. The $35K-$38K price will be an absolute value steal on either trim level, and if you are still leaning towards the Elite, that price discount is going to make it a more tempting purchase. Prices like that turn away RAV4s. Buyer's remorse is a non-factor. Quality Honda products? Non-factor. This is Honda telling you to think with your wallet. Hard to argue with that.

For those looking for an affordable vehicle that's geared more towards something they fear parking in a garage full of soccer moms at the local Whole Foods but still has plenty of features, the Touring is going to be the sleeper hit. With a handful of Acura owners silently despising the wallet-pressing decision to purchase the Honda, it offers a good mix of AWD capabilities and features with its just-right $40K price tag before potential dealer haggling. Take the difference between the Touring and Elite and figure out what not having that extra $3000 could prevent you from doing and/or having over the next 5-10 years. It just may be the tie breaker to your decision.

Regarding the Passport Elite vs Touring, there really isn't a bad decision. Both are a solid effort by Honda to rattle the cages of the segment. If you place more weight on creature comforts and driving around in an exclusive ride, then look no further than the Elite. It compares well to the AWD Pilot Elite that costs within a stone's throw of its $44K sticker and doesn't give up much to the larger vehicle. The heated rear seats and armrest cooler box are features borrowed from the discontinued Acura MDX, and the ventilated front seats add extra luxury touches. It makes a strong case for justifying forking their once-a-year home depot run onto unsuspecting friends with six packs to help.

Before doling out the final recommendation, it seems prudent to take a moment to remember that the Honda Passport is derived from and in most eyes is a Honda Pilot, the 'tweener of the group. It's larger than the CR-V and HR-V, but smaller than the 3-row Pilot. Thus, if you think the Passport is too much like a Pilot, you are better off with the more established vehicle.


Allen, J. & Weber, J. (2021). The Four-Wheeler's Bible: The Complete Guide to Off-Road and Overland Adventure Driving, Revised & Updated. [HTML]

Ferré Gras, M. (2023). Desarrollo de una web segura. ub.edu


Honda Passport Elite vs. Touring

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