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Honda Pass Elite vs. Trailsport

Comparison between Honda Passport Elite and TrailSport

1. Introduction

As it stands, both models have a base 3.5-liter V6 engine. This efficient machine outputs 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This workhorse is capable of towing 3500 pounds on 2WD models, and an all-wheel-drive variant can tow 5000 pounds, making it the ideal choice for those wanting to tow a camper or boat. However, the all-wheel-drive model is not compatible with the TrailSport trim, as only the 9-speed automatic transmission gets the added option of paddle shifters, a heavy-duty transmission cooler, and a 2nd-gear start assist technology. All Elite and TrailSport models also receive a 25 mm increase in ride height, bringing better off-road capability. The final mechanical upgrade comes with an Intelligent Traction Management system with Normal, Snow, Sand, and Mud modes available on AWD models, reflecting the Passport's off-road and all-weather capabilities.

1.1 Overview of Honda Passport Elite

The Honda Passport Elite is an SUV that falls under the category of mid-sized. The Passport is available in a spread of tiers – Sport, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. The Elite is the top of the variety model and is topic to the maximum markup. It capabilities a V6 engine and is available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel pressure (AWD). The package includes a collapsible shipment tray and a practical hatch tent in addition to a ability liftgate. That is all of it provides to the standard version. The interior of the Elite is quite good enough by previous Honda models. This Elite comes as preferred with leather indoors which I locate easier to maintain easy, trendy on non-public jean clothing, and more secure because it does not get as hot throughout the summer. Within the cutting-edge technology of motors, there is a trend in the direction of technological gadgets and the Elite is no exception. Trendy is a digital dashboard, 10-speaker sound device, the best HondaLink system which enhances usability of apps in the automobile as well as an revolutionary walk away automobile locking device that makes use of proximity key to release and lock the auto the usage of status door touch or the push of a button on the manage panel. This pinnacle of the range model additionally comes with seating reminiscence sync with key fob and under seat lighting for the two front seats.

1.2 Overview of Honda TrailSport

In 2022, Honda is about to release their new vehicle series called the Honda TrailSport. The purpose for their release, according to gains, is that this is a vehicle specifically produced for folks who are spending their off-road journey with their family. Utilizing the increasing demand of the off-road car, Honda answers it by liberating the TrailSport sequence for the Passport and Ridgeline. "A lot of our Honda clients are outdoor enthusiasts who like to hit the trails and get away from the pressures of everyday life," stated Dave Gardner, executive vice president of national operations at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. He believes that the release of these new models will give peace of mind for the client and will increase their desire to do a family outing in an extra high-quality outdoor event. Now let's check the features and capabilities offered by the Honda TrailSport and see how it differs. The main series that will be pimped with the TrailSport trim is the Honda Passport. In this model, the TrailSport will bring more off-road functionalities by adding elevated ride height, more aggressive tires and wheels, along with the same i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system featured in Honda's top-selling SUV, the CR-V. These additional features will enhance the Passport's capabilities in light off-road terrain and snow. Additionally, for the Passport, the TrailSport series will encompass an all-new designed trail-oriented beak and a trail badge on the bottom right of the tailgate. These added performance and looks will increase the client's confidence to use the Passport on an off-road event and give a more rugged style than the regular Passport.

2. Design and Features

Moreover, another differentiation between the two trims mentioned is that the Elite model offers a more comfortable ride with the 4-wheel independent suspension. Although this provides more comfortable and sporty handling, we cannot ignore the fact that the 4-wheel drive option and the more rough terrained All-Terrain Tires exclusive to the TrailSport model will establish ride quality differences between the two vehicles. The intent of a consumer buying a larger bodied vehicle such as the Passport may be to leave the comfort provided by sedans, and take more trips to places surrounding nature, or vehicles that require off-road capabilities. In this case, the TrailSport model may be more appealing for a more adventure-driven consumer.

The major difference between these two trims has to be in the design and features section. When comparing these two trims side by side, the exclusive Premium Molded Step Running Boards on the TrailSport model will stand out as a unique feature only available on this trim. In addition to the sleek visual design it provides, it also adds more functionality for the consumer. The lack of running boards in the Elite model can leave passengers (shorter ones especially) struggling to get in and out of the vehicle. This will result in more wear and tear on the upholstery of the vehicle due to passengers sliding in and out of the seats. This wear and tear is preventable with the running boards on the TrailSport model.

2.1 Exterior Design

The 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport excels as an off-road vehicle. It offers capable torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, a higher ground clearance, and a more aggressive front approach angle, all of which improve off-road performance. This new grade also comes with standard Intelligent Traction Management with specific drive modes for Snow, Sand, and Mud, adding even more capability. Honda's REALIVE torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system has been enhanced with a new system architecture and more rear torque bias for improved off-road performance, along with new Drive Mode options including Normal, Snow, Sand, and Muddy that tailor the performance characteristics of TrailSport. The Intelligent Traction Management Drive Modes make changes to the performance of the torque vectoring all-wheel drive system, transmission, throttle, and brakes to optimize performance and drivability. REALIVE has an improvement in rear torque bias in normal mode and further still in Sport mode, the torque scarf is even greater with almost 70% of the torque being sent to the rear wheels. The Drive Modes toggle the settings for the torque vectoring all-wheel drive system. In Snow, the emphasis is on providing confidence-inspiring traction and control. Sand mode aligns with the lower traction threshold for sand, and Mud is aiming to reduce wheelspin and understeer, ensuring better-controlled progress. Drive mode selections will also change the throttle sensitivity and reduce steering angle for the off-road work to improve control. Lastly, the TrailSport will have an additional ground clearance of 10.6 inches and be the only passport with a more aggressive 18.9 degrees front approach angle.

2.2 Interior Design

Contrasting with the sporty and rugged road trip of TrailSport, the Honda Passport Elite is fashioned to tread towards luxury and sophistication. This is clearly exhibited in the interior design. The Passport Elite features a leather-trimmed interior with ample space and legroom. An additional feature of the Passport Elite is its heated and ventilated seats, catering to your desired choice of warmth. Its heated steering wheel and luxurious 2-person memory driver's seat are the cherry on top to tailor towards driver comfort. The TrailSport is not to be looked down upon as it follows suit and serves as a versatile vehicle by furnishing quality interior amenities such as versatile leather-trimmed seats that help repel moisture and provide comfort. The TrailSport has its differences by providing orange contrast stitching to the seats, steering wheel, and door panel. This, in turn, becomes a smart-looking decision as Honda has executed the color to be associated with endurance and strength, which directly relates to the lifetime and capability of a trail-rated vehicle. And ultimately, amongst both vehicles, customers end up making a decision based on the space, and this is where the Passport Elite holds a key advantage as it provides space for an 8-inch subwoofer that contributes to the sound of the vehicle. This may have some customers feeling disappointment as the TrailSport is only provided with an area allocated for a subwoofer.

2.3 Technology Features

The Elite includes a 10-speaker audio system with a subwoofer and 590 watts of power, a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The TrailSport has a 7.0-inch screen, both smartphone integrations, and just six speakers. Again, you can outfit most any Passport with the smaller touchscreen and the rest of the omissions via the ill-named Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System. Unless you need or want the larger screen, it’s the same suite of electronics. Every Elite has a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and a CabinControl app. The former is available in the TrailSport only with the purchase of a subscription (after an initial free trial) and the latter isn’t available at all, which we find odd. However, most won’t notice or care. Honda’s advanced safety kit is standard on every trim and includes driver assistive features such as adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, and road departure mitigation. Note that the base price for the Elite ($42,000) is $2,050 more than the AWD Touring and just $800 less than a loaded Pilot AWD Touring, and that it’s possible to option a Pilot to a price that considerably exceeds that of the Elite. Meanwhile, the TrailSport is a mere $600 extra versus an AWD Touring and right in line with a loaded Passport that’s optioned with the same items that it comes with standard. Overall, the Elite has quite a few bells and whistles that account for its elevated price, while despite its cool special styling and premium paint, the TSP doesn’t offer much over an equivalently priced Passport.

3. Performance and Capability

The Elite has only one option, which is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. It has 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This engine is known by many and has been used in various Acura and Honda vehicles that have been very reliable and good performers. The Elite comes standard with Honda's i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system and, as previously mentioned, torque vectoring control. This system can send up to 70% of the engine's 262 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels and up to 100% of that torque to either the left or right rear wheel. This system, combined with the torque vectoring control, will give the Elite a pretty good off-road performance for a unibody crossover. The TrailSport will come with the same engine as all the previously mentioned Honda vehicles, but with some tuning to increase the torque at lower RPMs. No exact specifications have been provided so far, other than a 10 mm increase in ground clearance and some suspension changes. However, looking at any forum where people drive off-road with Honda Pilots/Ridgelines with iVTM4 torque vectoring all-wheel drive (such as this forum), I think it is safe to say that the increase in lower-end torque, ground clearance, and suspension changes will turn this vehicle into something much better than the regular AWD Pilot/Ridgeline. A quick internet search will show Honda/Acura's i-VTM4 system with torque vectoring really shines when it has some good all-terrain tires to put the power down. At first glance, these two vehicles look identical, and at a second glance, they still look quite similar. But the TrailSport Passport is actually a very modified version of the regular 2nd gen Honda Passport. The Elite is a unibody crossover and a modified version of the 3rd/4th gen Acura MDX and Honda Pilot, which were all built on a car platform. Funny enough, the regular Passport actually has more in common in terms of frame and running gear with the Isuzu Rodeo/Honda Passport from the late 90s-early 2000s than it does with the Pilot and MDX. But we will focus on Honda's newest unibody 3rd row crossovers.

3.1 Engine and Powertrain

Elite comes standard with a 3.5L V6 making 280hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The same motor found in the Pilot and Ridgeline. So far no mention of if it will have the variable cylinder management but safe bet it should. The TrailSport is getting a unique power plant. The 2.0L turbo 4 from the Acura RDX/TLX making 4hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. This is a bit of a detuned version of the motor found in the Type S making 66hp more. What is exciting is that it will come mated to a 10 speed automatic. Although some CVT haters will still be scratching their heads as to why it could not have the 6 speed manual that is currently available. The 10AT is a superior transmission in every way and will no doubt be a great performer off road and in inclement weather. Honda's iVTM 4 system will be standard on all at trim levels. This is an intelligent variable torque and management system that will be putting more power to the rear wheels in normal conditions and diverting it to the wheels that need it the most when slip is detected. In layman's terms it should perform just as good as a traditional 4x4. The iVTM 4 system is a superior system over the standard AWD system found in the CR-V, HR-V, and the Pilot. These models use a reactive AWD system. Honda has not specified if the system will be any different in other models of the Passport. This will be the biggest differentiator in performance between the Passport and Pilot/Ridgeline. Part of the reason that I didn't consider the Pilot. I already own a Ridgeline. I find the performance to be adequate. With the Passport I'm looking for a little more grunt and I will happily sacrifice MPGs for extra power. The direct competitor for the Elite would be the 4Runner SR5. It is using the tried and true 4.0L V6 making 270hp and 277 lb-ft. When compared to the Elite, my bet is that the 4Runner feels a bit more sluggish with the additional weight and an MPGs will be considerably less. It is a good motor but overdue for an update. No mention of future Land Cruiser Prados for the US Market so I will not comment on Diesel engines. Overall the Elite will be a good performer in every day driving, while the Trail Sport should still be adequate with the torquey 2.0L and iVTM 4. The TrailSport may be a better value for a daily driver with the weight of the vehicle and fuel efficiency. For comparison, the Subaru starter models of the Outback and Forester are currently using only 2.5L H4 and CVTs and have the standard AWD systems. Although power will be less, the Passport should perform competitively with these models. The Outback is a popular vehicle in New England including my wife's old 13' 2.5L with a CVT. I find the direct Power and AWD comparisons with the 2.0T and iVTM 4 TrailSport to be superior and the stepless gear shifting of the 10AT to be a significant advantage. I will talk a bit more about the Outback in the Off Road Capability section.

3.2 Off-Road Capability

Both the Elite and the TrailSport models come standard with Honda's i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. This system is essential for off-road travel and inclement weather situations. The torque vectoring allows for a more athletic ride and confident handling by apportioning more torque to the outside rear wheel. This generates more precise and accurate turning. The rear axle can even be disengaged for better fuel efficiency. Honda's VTM-4 can send up to 70% of torque to the rear wheels and can transfer 100% of that torque between left and right rear wheels. The Elite, however, comes with an all-new all-wheel drive system called i-VTM4 with intelligent traction management. This system is probably the best all-wheel drive system that Honda has developed. With Normal, Sand, Snow, and Mud modes, the intelligent traction management can be adjusted depending on the driving conditions. The Elite also comes standard with Intelligent Variable Torque Management system, a much advanced all-wheel drive system that manages torque between the front and rear axles to further improve the overall performance and efficiency. With these new drivetrain changes, we all know that Honda creates some of the best all-wheel drive vehicles in the market. Owned and operated several over the past two decades, I must emphasize this car is worth the upgrade just for this reason alone.

4. Pricing and Options

Pricing on these advanced all-wheel-drive SUVs is inextricably intertwined with features and capabilities, with significant cost increases to get the full suite of AWD technology and a particularly vast new array of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). Honda bills both Passports as premium off-road versions of the Pilot, with the TrailSport taking the same position relative to the Passport Elite in a more overtly rugged style. At each step through this comparison, we'll note feature availability to indicate how closely pricing aligns between the 2WD model and the advanced AWD versions, and we'll consider cabin ambiance, comfort, and road noise separately from off-road capability, which will be elaborated in Part 2. The Passport Elite is a fully outfitted all-weather 6-passenger explorer with tri-zone climate control, power adjustable steering column, rain-sensing wipers, hands-free power tailgate, heated rear outboard seats, and parking sensors for $44,000 in 2WD form and $46,000 with torque vectoring AWD. Moving to the TrailSport involves a significant $4,000 step down in ruggedness with a slight price drop coming to $45,000 in base AWD form; the margin widens further with a planned in-between SE version for 2023.

4.1 Price Comparison

The main advantage of the Elite trim, other than all features mentioned above, comes down to what terrains the buyer will be looking to tackle with the vehicle. If the buyer requires a vehicle to navigate to some tougher terrains such as hill/mountainous terrains or deep sand/mud, the all-wheel drive system of the Elite trim is top of the line and most suitable for those terrains. If the terrain consists of normal driving on paved roads or some light dirt or snow, the all-wheel drive system of the TrailSport is the best option. The two systems can be compared, and the Elite all-wheel drive system would be categorized for the i-VTM4 mechanical torque vectoring type for tough terrains, and intelligent drive torque for all other types of terrains where the TrailSport torque management system would dynamically send power to the rear wheels when acceleration is required.

- Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) All-Wheel-Drive System - Standard Intelligent Traction Management - Remote Engine Start - Hands-Free Access Power Tailgate - Ambient Lighting - Roof Rails - 590-Watt Premium Audio System with 10 Speakers - Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System - OTA Map Updates - Heated Steering Wheel - Ventilated Front Seats - Heated Rear Seats - Perforated Leather-Trimmed Seats - LED Headlights with Auto-On/Off - Panoramic Moonroof - Rain-Sensing Wipers - Wiper-Linked Headlights

Both the Honda Passport Elite and Honda Passport TrailSport have similar price points and features. The Elite version of the Passport has an MSRP of $45,100, where the TrailSport version of the Passport has an MSRP of $36,000. There is a price difference of $9,100 between the two trims. Some of the standard features of the Elite are as follows:

4.2 Standard Features

The Passport Elite comes with a fresh set of standard features. In addition to all the features on the Sport AWD, it includes a hands-free power tailgate, a convenient lockable Smart Entry and Walk Away auto lock to automatically lock the vehicle when you get to an additional 8 cubic feet of space, a 1.5 amp USB charging port for the 2nd row, interior ambient lighting, an acoustic windshield, Blind Spot Information system with Rear Cross Traffic Monitor system, leather-trimmed interior, power adjustable passenger seat, a 2 position memory driver seat, front heated seats, and a moonroof. The MSRP for the Passport Elite is $43,780. The redesigned 2019 Honda Pilot Elite comes with more features than before. It includes a panoramic roof, wireless phone charging, second row seat heaters, power folding mirrors, LED headlights with auto on/off, and a 2.5 amp USB charging port for the 2nd row. The MSRP for the Pilot Elite is set at $48,020. At only a $4,280 difference between the two MSRP's, the Passport Elite seems like the way to go to get a decent amount of fully loaded features at a lower price.

4.3 Optional Packages

Honda provides customers with the following optional packages to upgrade the general driving experience. All-wheel drive is included with any of these packages. The base Honda Passport model does not offer any extra optional packages. With the Passport Elite model, consumers have the choice between two different optional packages that add a little more luxury to the SUV. The first optional package is the HPD (Honda Performance Development) Package, which features a unique grille and should be available this summer. The second package is the Utility Package, which includes holders for bikes and skis. These two optional packages are an additional $2,500. With the new TrailSport Honda Passport model, the Adventure Package is available and adds a roof basket, crossbars, a trailer hitch, and all-weather floor mats. This package is a modest $1,232 and will be available once the vehicle is released. All of these packages do not affect the safety ratings of the vehicles.