2021 Honda Passport Touring

The standard naturally aspirated V6 still remains a gem.
The standard naturally aspirated V6 still remains a gem.

by Jon Pangindian | December 14, 2021


Middle Child Syndrome is defined as the belief that middle children are excluded, ignored, or even outright neglected because of their birth order. When it comes to the 2021 Honda Passport Touring, this definition is pretty much spot on. Slotted between the CR-V and Pilot which are well regarded in their respective segments, the Passport could easily get lost. When was the last time you ever saw an advertisement for this sport utility vehicle?

This is a shame because in truth, the Passport does hold some redeeming qualities that make it a better SUV than the CR-V and its immediate competitors. One thing that the current lineup of Honda sport utility vehicles will never be called is “sexy” or “exciting”. Its anonymous design allows it to pass through traffic with barely a glance from those around. Some friends had mistaken the Passport for the larger Honda Pilot since the look is quite similar. Touring models include LED fog lights to the standard LED headlights and taillights.

The boxy design allows for large usable cargo space and more than enough room for five adults. 1,430 liters of space is available behind the rear seats and when folded down, overall cargo space expands to a generous 2,852 liters. Compared to the CR-V, this alone is one good reason to pick the Passport. Rear passengers are treated to reclining seats that also slide back and forth.

The interior design and layout is typical Honda. Quality materials are good and fall in line with other mainstream brands. The controls are easy to use and well placed, ergonomically, just don’t look for any high definition screens or gauges found in some of the competition. Buyers looking for an old school layout will feel right at home, while those that need the latest tech will need to look elsewhere.  Hey, at least Honda made sure Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present on all trims despite the dated, clunky infotainment system.

Our Touring model had the upgraded sound system that pumps out 550 watts through 10 speakers with a subwoofer. Also included is Wifi hotspot capability and ventilated front seating, both features not offered on any lower trim levels.

Power thankfully comes from a good old fashioned naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Unlike forced-induction siblings from the Acura brand, there is no turbo lag to deal with. This engine has the silky smoothness expected from a Honda, and the VTEC change-over is absolutely noticeable when driven with authority.

The standard all-wheel-drive system is good at putting power to the asphalt – heavy rain and wet surfaces weren’t even a challenge for the Passport during our test week. It typically sends the majority of power through the front wheels, but when circumstances arise, up to 70% can be sent to the rear wheels. Honda has also implemented torque vectoring to switch power from left to right as needed, but body roll is still evident due to the proportions of the SUV.

Honda has rated the Passport at 12.5L/100km in the city and 9.8L/100km on the highway, for a combined estimate of 11.3L/100km. Surprisingly, our test resulted in numbers slightly better than the ratings, for an average of 11.1L/100km. This included plenty of spirited driving taking advantage of the audible VTEC changeover. Like most of its rivals, the Passport happily accepts regular 87-octane fuel.

Honda Canada prices the 2021 Passport at $43,670 for the base Sport model. The Touring sits at the top of the lineup at $50,670, and adds the upgraded stereo, ventilated front seats, wireless charging, Blind Spot information system, and a rear cross-traffic monitor. At this price point it sits above most compact crossovers and below the three-row variants, making it a bit of a tweener.

Major rivalry comes from the Hyundai Santa Fe, which is also available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations. Other competitors include the new hybrid Toyota Venza, Chevrolet Blazer, and Nissan Murano. The Passport does the best job as an outdoorsy vehicle focused at a younger demographic, and that helps it stand out.

A few years into its life, the 2021 Honda Passport Touring is getting long in the tooth, especially with new rivals coming in with hybrid power and better infotainment systems. Thankfully, the standard naturally aspirated V6 still remains a gem, and Honda is still the king of interior packaging. Add Honda’s renowned reliability and resale values, and that’s enough for the average consumer.

See Also:

2021 Toyota Venza Limited

2021 Ford Edge ST Line

2020 Honda Passport Touring

Vehicle Specs
Engine Size
Horsepower (at RPM)
Torque (lb-ft.)
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Jon Pangindian

Staff Writer

An experienced detailer and diehard car guy, Jon brings a creative eye to his new vehicle road tests. Aside from writing, Jon spends most of his time tinkering with new detailing products and experimenting with ceramic coatings.

Current Toy: ’13 650i Gran Coupé