The 2019 Honda Passport vs. Honda Pilot – Which is Right For You?

May 25th, 2019 by

Gray 2019 Honda Passport on a Rocky Trail vs Black 2019 Honda Passport Next to a Football Field

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck, right? This philosophical question is up for debate when it relates to the Honda Pilot and its smaller midsize counterpart, the Passport. It may look very similar to the Pilot, and share the same chassis and engine, but the 2019 Honda Passport has its own distinct personality. Just what are the differences between the 2019 Honda Passport and 2019 Honda Pilot? You might be surprised! In fact, the Passport is like the Pilot, but is smaller in size, has more ground clearance, less seats and sharper exterior styling.

2019 Passport vs Pilot Differences Cargo, In Ground Clearance and Interior Space

Those numbers above aren’t the only differences between the 2019 Passport and Pilot, but they are some of the key ones that you’ll probably want to know about if you’re comparing the two vehicles.  The most functional difference between the Pilot and Passport is the seating capacity. While the Passport seats up to five passengers, the Pilot can hold a maximum of eight people, or seven when equipped with captain’s chairs in the second row.

In the first and second rows, you’ll get similar headroom whether you’re in the Passport or Pilot. It’s the same story for front legroom, although second-row legroom varies a bit between the two models, coming in at 39.6 inches in the Passport and 38.4 inches in the Pilot. Those in the third row of the Pilot have 31.9 inches of legroom. Although taller passengers may have a hard time, the third row can reasonably fit average-height adults. So for many, the Pilot’s extra seating capacity is more than just a superficial advantage on paper over the Passport.

The Passport is made for long vacations or trips to the outdoors, and it has the cargo space to back that up with up to 100.8 cubic feet of it once the rear seats are folded down. Even with the seats up, you’ll have access to 50.5 cubic feet of cargo space through the rear hatch. On the other hand, the 2019 Pilot is your go-to option if you need superior seating space, as the model can offer seating for up to 7 or 8 passengers with the right configuration. 

Then there is ground clearance, which is also an important metric when talking about the Passport. To better handle life off the beaten path, the Passport improves upon the Pilot’s ground clearance by being seated up to 8.1 inches above the ground. Either way, however, both the Passport and Pilot can handle off-road travel thanks to an available AWD system.

Performance

Under the hood, the 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Honda Passport share the same DNA with a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter i-VTEC® V-6 engine. Honda Passport entries pair the 3.5-liter engine with a standard nine-speed automatic transmission while the Honda Pilot offers a six-speed automatic for Pilot LX, EX and EX-L trim levels and the nine-speed automatic for Touring grade. The i-VTM4™ all-wheel drive system is an available asset for both the Honda Passport and Honda Pilot that can be equipped with Intelligent Traction Management to upgrade performance. When equipped for towing duties, the Honda SUVs are capable of hauling up to 5,000 pounds of cargo.

A fully loaded Passport tested from 0–60 mph in 6.2 seconds, while a Pilot hit the mark in 6.3 seconds. In the quarter mile, the Passport also performed just slightly better: 14.7 seconds at 94.0 mph (151.3 km/h) versus 14.8 seconds at 93.7 mph (150.8 km/h). In reviews, we’ve praised the Passport’s particularly sporty throttle and its ability to launch hard. Both models offer a nine-speed automatic transmission that can shift harshly at times. This unit is found in all Passports, and on upper trim Pilots instead of the model’s standard six-speed.

The Pilot has a few surprising advantages when it comes to performance. The larger model rounded the figure-eight in 27.6 seconds at an average 0.62 g, beating the Passport’s 28.1 seconds at 0.62 g. The Pilot was also able to brake from 60 mph to a standstill in 120 feet, a full 10 feet less than the Passport.

Off-Road Capability

The Passport has a raised suspension and slightly more ground clearance than the Pilot (up to 8.1 inches versus 7.3 inches). The Passport also has better approach and departure angles for off-roading: 21.4/27.6-degree approach/departure angles on all-wheel-drive Passports compared to 19.7/20.8 degrees for Pilots. Both models offer four different drive modes—Normal, Snow, Sand, and Mud.

“When driving over rocks, the suspension absorbed the movements in good fashion,” we said of the Passport in our First Drive review. But when it comes to on-road performance, it’s not as well damped as the Pilot or Ridgeline, as we noted in our First Test.

Safety

In government crash tests, the Pilot and Passport both receive four stars in the frontal crash category and five stars in side crashes. The Pilot gets four stars in the rollover test, and an overall rating of five stars, while the Passport has not yet been rated in these two categories. With Honda’s Full Sensing and Safety Suite, both models offer comparable safety features unique to Honda models.

The 2019 Honda Pilot was named a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS, but the Passport was not. The smaller model lost out because of its Poor headlight rating. However, both vehicles earned top scores in the following crash categories: small overlap front driver’s side, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints.

Summary

In summary, both the Passport and Pilot have taken a great strong hold in the SUV world and giving strong competition to other manufacturers. Depending on your  life-style, driving habits and cargo requirements, we feel both the Passport and Pilot will fulfill your Honda dreams. All we believe you should do is schedule a test drive for both models to see what you feel comfortable in. You can schedule your test drive at home, work or in-dealership here. 


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