2024 Honda Passport TrailSport Review: Mildly Rugged

Key changes give the 2024 TrailSport more adventure-vehicle credibility.

Sonic Gray 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport parked on lightly snow-covered dirt path.Thom Blackett


I'm always amazed by the significant power of a seemingly small change. Something as insignificant as a new haircut, a fresh coat of paint, or adding a 30-minute walk to the morning routine can have an oversized impact on our perspective and perhaps even our attitude.

The 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport is a perfect real-world example of this concept at work.

The Passport is a five-passenger, midsize crossover SUV positioned between the smaller Honda CR-V and the larger three-row Honda Pilot. When we reviewed the 2022 Passport, the TrailSport was a new addition to the lineup, adding the appearance of a tamed-down off-road vehicle, but without the additional hardware you might need to reach an out-of-the-way destination.

With the 2024 Passport, Honda makes a few key upgrades that promise extra capability when venturing beyond paved roads. More than anything, they give the driver an extra level of confidence that says, "Yeah, we can go there."

Do these tweaks transform the family-friendly Honda into a Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, or Toyota 4Runner? No, but they breathe some new life into a vehicle that has seen little change since its 2019 debut.

2024 Honda Passport TrailSport grille badge.Thom Blackett

How Is the 2024 Passport TrailSport Different?

While most of us seldom find ourselves traveling roads too remote to register on a navigation screen, we nevertheless gravitate toward vehicles ready to ford streams and conquer rugged terrain to reach a particular trailhead or secluded fishing spot. Honda launched the TrailSport package, available on the Passport and Pilot SUVs and Ridgeline pickup truck in response.

Until now, the Passport's TrailSport treatment included a collection of appearance upgrades and little more. The updated 2024 Passport TrailSport still heavily relies on visual enhancements, including a unique grille and rear bumper design, colorful badges, embroidered front headrests, and orange contrast stitching to complement the black leather upholstery.

However, this latest version adds a set of General Grabber all-terrain tires to a new set of 18-inch alloy wheels and introduces an off-road suspension with revised springs and shocks. You won't find other special goodies, however, such as hill ascent control, hill descent control, or a locking differential. Even the approach and departure angles and the 8.1 inches of ground clearance are the same for all 2024 Passport trim levels.

Likewise, Honda keeps things simple under the hood with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission delivers that output to the ground via a standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.

Sonic Gray 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport parked on dirt road.Thom Blackett

Mediocre Fuel Economy, a Stiff Ride, but Enhanced Capability, Too

For this review, I drove a 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport throughout my stomping grounds in southern Maine, commuted to the Boston area, and enjoyed an excursion to New Hampshire's beautiful White Mountains. My test vehicle included extra-cost Sonic Gray Pearl paint and an optional heated steering wheel, bringing the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $46,888, including the $1,395 destination charge.

After hopping into this spacious crossover, I pushed the start button and the TrailSport came to life. The V6 delivers adequate horsepower and torque to make daily driving easy, and Honda rates the TrailSport for 5,000 pounds of towing capacity. But plant the accelerator pedal to the floor for a quick pass and you'll likely wish Honda had developed a more refined engine or packed this crossover with additional sound insulation. Thankfully, there's sufficient oomph for those situations.

Keep full-throttle exploits to a minimum and you might come close to the Passport's EPA fuel-economy ratings of 19/24/21 mpg in city/highway/combined driving. For roughly 500 miles, I did indeed record 21 mpg overall. Given the TrailSport's size and weight, I found that to be acceptable, if not impressive.

Since all 2024 Passports share the same powertrain, those impressions could apply to any trim level. The TrailSport's ride comfort, on the other hand, is unique. With its deeply treaded tires and retuned suspension, this version of Honda's midsize SUV exhibits noticeable levels of tire and suspension noise and, as you might expect, harsher impacts when driving over potholes or other road irregularities. None of this is overwhelming, and you won't risk rattling your fillings loose, but the effects of the changes can be felt and heard.

Sonic Gray 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport driving through water on trail.Thom Blackett

For some off-roading experience, I found a nearby dirt path presenting various challenges. As I slowly crept into foot-deep water to the sound of ice breaking against the running boards, was jostled along a stretch of fist-sized rocks, and attempted to steer clear of frozen ruts to avoid bottoming out, I realized I wouldn't attempt any of this in a base Passport EX-L.

That's not to suggest the more mainstream version couldn't do it. It likely could, since all 2024 Passports come with the same AWD system and selectable Mud/Sand/Snow modes (none of which provided a discernable advantage during my test). Instead, the TrailSport's new all-terrain tires made a big difference, and Honda's revised suspension tuning with claimed articulation improvements did, too.

More likely, the 2024 TrailSport's relatively minor enhancements gave me the confidence to tackle obstacles I would've otherwise avoided.

2024 Honda Passport TrailSport interior and steering wheel.Thom Blackett

TrailSport Specs and Features Are Nearly Identical to Other 2024 Passports

Aside from its tires and suspension, the 2024 TrailSport has only a few subtle changes from other Passports. Inside, it features orange ambient lighting and contrast stitching, embroidered front headrests, and rubber floor mats that help contain water and debris. However, it takes a lot of work to keep them looking clean.

Like the Passport EX-L and Black Edition models, the 2024 TrailSport comes with the Honda Sensing suite of collision avoidance and driving-assistance systems. Honda also equips it with a power moonroof, remote engine start, triple-zone automatic climate control, and more. Every 2024 Passport includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, but they're not wireless, so remember to pack a USB cable.

I was particularly impressed by the spacious interior and the comfortable driving position, bolstered by a new wide center armrest and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Honda is generous with its use of low-gloss, soft-touch materials, which, along with leather upholstery and trim, gives the cabin a quality feel. Despite the stiff suspension and being bounced around during my off-road adventure, the TrailSport's interior remained free of squeaks and rattles.

The cargo room is generous for the vehicle class, measuring 41.2 cubic-feet behind the back seat and 77.7 cu-ft with it folded down. The cargo area's high floor, however, made loading heavy items more difficult. Additional storage space is available underneath the load floor, to Honda's credit.

2024 Honda Passport TrailSport all-terrain tires parked in ice and slush.Thom Blackett

Added Capability Helps the 2024 Trailsport Compete in a Growing Segment

Any experienced off-roader will tell you a good set of tires can be the difference between getting stuck and moving forward. The 2024 Honda Passport TrailSport does feature revised suspension tuning, but the Grabber all-terrain tires give weekend warriors like me the confidence to trek farther away from the safety of the pavement.

Serious off-roading enthusiasts will still want a Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, or Toyota 4Runner. Otherwise, the Passport TrailSport's rivals include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento X-Pro, Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek, and Subaru Outback Wilderness.

Honda provided the vehicle for this 2024 Passport review.

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Thom Blackett
Everyone needs a few things to be passionate about in life. For me, cars are near the top of the list. I’m constantly searching the classifieds for that bargain-priced, one-owner Datsun 240Z barn find. I’m always up for seemingly endless conversations about the cars we wish our parents had kept, the benefits of EVs versus the lure of a thumping V8, or which reliable crossover SUV best suits your family and your dogs. Needless to say, I feel fortunate to spend my work hours analyzing vehicle data, test-driving the latest all-new or updated models, and sharing the knowledge and insights I’ve gained with readers.