Honda’s objective was two-fold during the last MAMA monthly meeting: to present the all-new Passport to journalists and share an industry perspective on the future of sedans, with the help and research backed by industry analyst Michelle Krebs.
Krebs predicts that sedans will see a 6 percent dip of market share in a few years (current sedan market share is 31 percent). That said, however, Krebs noted the importance of sedans because the majority of first-time new vehicle buyers purchase a car due to the affordability factor. In fact, sedan purchases jump to 70 percent with Gen Z buyers (compared to 55 percent of total buyers). Bottom line, according to Cox Automotive data, midsize and compact car segments remain in the top five spots for shopping and sales.
While sedans aren’t going anywhere any time soon, SUVs and crossovers continue to gain traction. Honda brought in the Passport’s Chief Designer Lara Harrington to discuss the brand’s newest crossover. Honda saw the opportunity to add to its crossover portfolio, as the Passport was designed to close the gap between Honda’s larger, three-row Pilot and its compact-size CR-V.
Appropriately named, the Passport aims to attract the adventure-seeker who may be looking for both a family vehicle yet one that offers off-road driving performance and towing capability. Harrington described the Passport’s exterior as “rugged yet modern,” noting its standard 20-inch wheels, an “aggressive” black grille and a more athletic appearance compared to the Pilot.
On the inside, the Passport continues to cater to its adventure-seeker audience by offering a large “basement” cargo area designed for storing dirty athletic gear or keeping purses and other valuables hidden. Its engine is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Passport comes fully-equipped with Honda’s latest technology and safety features including its suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. All trim levels come with a multi-angle rearview camera system, while EX-L, Touring and Elite models come with Honda's blind spot information system. Also available, for an upgrade, is Apply CarPlay and Android Auto integration, an 8-inch infotainment display and wireless phone charging.
Pricing begins at $31,900 for the Sport trim and rises to $43,600 for the Elite model.
Honda plans to bring both the 2019 Passport and 2019 Civic to the MAMA Spring Rally at Road America next week for more than 100 journalists to test drive.