Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,900 – $5,000*


1998 Honda Passport


2000 Honda Passport


2000 Honda Passport


2001 Honda Passport LX


2001 Honda Passport EX

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Road noise

Like the Rodeo, Honda’s SUV emphasizes the “sport” in sport-utility. But Isuzu’s version has outsold the Passport by almost 3-to-1. Lack of outstanding features sets neither one above the competition, and high prices are an obstacle.

Overview

Following on the 1994-97 Passport, Honda introduced a second-generation version for ’98. Similar to Isuzu’s Rodeo, the midsize SUV was slightly larger than before, and delivered more V6 power. Passports were built at a Subaru Isuzu plant in Indiana, right alongside the nearly identical Isuzu Rodeo. Passports differed mainly in model choices, cosmetic details, and available features.

Two models went on sale: LX and upscale EX, each available with rear-drive or on demand 4-wheel drive. An improved version of Isuzu’s 3.2-liter twin-cam V6 engine, packing 15 more horsepower and 26 more pound-feet of torque than before, went under the hood. An automatic transmission was standard on EX and an option on LX, replacing the standard 5-speed manual gearbox. The 4×4 models had a 2-speed transfer case with separate low-range gearing, but 4WD now engaged electrically via a dashboard button instead of using a mechanical lever. As in prior Passports, 4WD was not for use on dry pavement, but it could be shifted between 4-High and 2WD at any speed up to 60 mph.

Wheelbase on this Passport shrunk by 2.1 inches, but the vehicles measured about an inch longer overall. It was almost 4 inches taller and 1.4 inches wider. Curb weight rose only slightly. Engineering changes included standard antilock braking and a sturdier, newly designed frame. Rack-and-pinion steering ousted the less-precise recirculating-ball setup, while a new coil-spring rear suspension replaced the previous leaf springs.

In the LX, the spare tire stowed under the rear cargo floor. With an EX, the spare sat on a swing-away external carrier. The tailgate now was hinged at the left, below a separate glass liftgate. Styling was evolutionary, and rivals included the Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Explorer, and Toyota 4Runner. A Passport could tow up to 4500 pounds, when using electric trailer brakes.

Yearly Updates

1999 Passport
Only minor changes were evident in the reworked Passport’s second season. Rear cupholders were new, but other revisions were focused on trim and colors.
2000 Passport
Minor appearance alterations, front and rear, could be seen on the 2000 models. Interior trim also was slightly revised. New luxury EX-L versions had standard leather upholstery, 2-tone paint, color-matched fender flares and bodyside moldings, and an in-dash 6-disc CD changer. The 2-wheel-drive LX gained standard 16-inch tires.
2001 Passport
EX-L models got a 4-way power driver’s seat and 4WD versions got limited-slip differential for 2001. All models got floormats, rear child-seat tethers, 8-speaker audio, and UV-reflecting front-door and tailgate glass as standard equipment this year.
2002 Passport
There were no significant changes for 2002.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Power came from a 3.2-liter, dual-overhead-cam V6 engine that delivered 205 horsepower. Either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic might be installed.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/193
Engine HP 205
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 214
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
18/20
16/20
15.8

Road Test

A shorter wheelbase, lighter weight, and more power helped make the latest Passport more nimble, but it set no new SUV standard. The suspension produces a generally stable ride, without pitching or bouncing. Small bumps and imperfections register in occupant consciousness, but don’t intrude, though the ride can get choppy at times–not exactly a surprise in this class. Larger bumps and potholes are not absorbed nearly as well as they should be, resulting in a rather harsh experience. Among the more agile midsize SUVs, Passports suffer plenty of body lean and tire squeal in tight turns.

The V6 engine delivers brisk acceleration and good passing power. Passport’s automatic transmission shifts smoothly and downshifts quickly. A 4-wheel-drive LS averaged 15.8 mpg in mixed driving, which is about on track for this league. Isuzu-engineered part-time push-button 4-wheel-drive is convenient to use, but most current rivals offer 4WD systems that don’t need to be disengaged on dry pavement.

Passenger space is good, except for a shortage of rear toe room. The driver enjoys a commanding position, even though the seat is not height-adjustable and its positioning does not suit everyone. The firmly-padded driver’s seat earns high marks, however. A simple dashboard layout is marred only by undersized audio controls–recessed and positioned a bit too far away for no-distraction use by the driver.

Step-in height is a little lower than the midsize-SUV norm, making it reasonably easy to get in and out. Back doors allow passengers to slip through easily, but narrow openings hinder exiting. Forward visibility is excellent, thanks to a low cowl and hood, but the optional outside spare tire interferes with the rearward view. The side-opening tailgate demands cumbersome 2-handed operation. To open it, you must first raise the window; to close, you must reach into the hinge area and release a bare-metal lever to free the door.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 Honda Passport LX 2WD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 44

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.4 177.4 70.4 67.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
81.1 21.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.9 38.3 42.1 35.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Passport 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 104
Injury 110
Theft 147

Trouble Spots

Mirrors
Description: The outside mirror cracks when the rear-window defroster is turned on because the heated mirror is not evenly heated. (1998)
Audio system
Description: Speakers crackle or cut in and out from a broken wire or bad ground (1998-99) and whine when using the cassette player because of a misrouted power wire (1998).
Rough idle
Description: Intake gasket cracks may cause rough idle and check engine light to illuminate. Fix requires installing a revised gasket. (1998-02)
Steering noise
Description: The steering wheel makes a scraping noise because the wiring harness for the airbag rubs on the wiring reel. (1998)
Vehicle noise
Description: The dash squeaks because the clear lens for the instruments rubs on the panel. (1998)

Recall History

1998
Description: Improperly crimped ground connection terminal in engine-wiring harness can eventually cause stress fracture, causing powertrain control module to receive an erroneous signal that may result in “no-start” condition or possible engine stalling.
1998-99
Description: Insufficient paint hardness on rear axles, due to uneven application, could result in loosening of nut for lower link bracket bolt, possibly leading to separation of link from axle.
2001
Description: Passenger-side airbag modules were shipped without enough generant and missing a necessary component–a check-valve pin. The airbag will not inflate properly.
2002
Description: In five specified states, if fuel has been contaminated with silicon, small pinholes may develop in fuel pump feed port; leakage could lead to fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.