Does the Honda Passport ring a bell to you? This was the first ever SUV that was sold by the Japanese automaker, but it was not that successful compared with other Honda models. Now the Japanese automotive company is planning to give the second life to the Passport.
The first SUV of Honda was sold from 1993 to 2002, which was clearly a tuned version of the Isuzu Rodeo featuring a 3.2 L V6 engine that can produce up to 205 hp. However after a dismal performance in the global market it was eventually replaced by the bigger Honda Pilot. By far this was not the only talks of different automakers vying to revive new trademarks of their once famous SUVs. Chevrolet is going to give the Blazer trademark another chance, also the American company Ford will also introduce the Bronco name again to the global market.
Lately there were talks that the Passport will have a second chance of redemption. Car and Driver stated in its blog that the Passport name was submitted by the Japanese automaker with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by last December. The application made a specific reference to the original trademark made for the Passport that dates back from May 11,1993.
This fits well with the previous rumors that a smaller version of the Pilot would be introduced with only 2 rows - a vehicle that would fit like a glove in between the Honda Pilot and the current CR-V. This vehicle will be competing with the likes of Nissan Murano and Ford Edge.
The production of the brand new shorter Pilot (presumably the new Passport) is rumored to commence at the Japanese automaker's Alabama factory in September of next year. If Honda's plan will proceed as scheduled, then the new automobile will likely be debuted next fall or early winter. The possibly new SUV will cost lesser than the recent Pilot, which has a starting price of about $31,535 and a $940 destination.
However, it is expected that it would be more expensive than the modern CR-V, which bears a base price of around $24,985. What the Japanese automaker is targeting is to offer a larger room space that the CR-V but without the weighty price increase to the larger pilot. This pricing/sizing strategy is closely similar to that of the Hyundai's Santa Fe and the smaller Santa Fe Sport.
The vehicle's powertrain options will have no significant change, it will still be built with a 3.5-liter V6 which can produce around 280 hp (208 kW) and 262 lb-ft of torque (355 Newton-Meters). The engine can be attached to either a 6 or 9 speed automatic as a base option. For now, there are still limited details surrounding the new Honda Passport: will the trademark even make its way to a production unit? Or is it just a concept car? Time will tell if this strategy will work out in the long run.