Honda’s TrailSport rollout is turning into something of a tennis match, what with all the back-and-forth. First, Honda announced the TrailSport trim level, its answer to Subaru’s Wilderness treatment: A combination of rugged-looking trim and functional additions, including all-terrain tires and increased ground clearance, for its SUVs and trucks. Next, Honda dropped the updated 2022 Passport SUV, the first Honda model to get the TrailSport treatment, albeit in name only—for now, it’s merely an appearance package without the functional off-road bits and pieces.
And now, a day after that announcement, Honda has revealed this Passport TrailSport Rugged Roads concept, which does have the functional would-be TrailSport upgrades. Wait, huh?
Honda intends for its TrailSport models to have actual off-road hardware improvements. The 2022 Passport TrailSport won’t have them, at least not at first, so this “concept” depicts what the full-on Passport TrailSport should look like. The concept SUV’s ground clearance therefore is increased 1.5 inches (to 9.6) via a Jsport suspension lift kit that notches the nose 1.5 inches higher and the rear by 0.75 inch; it has prototype skid plates to protect the oil pan and fuel tank; Firestone all-terrain tires; and prototype recovery hooks at the front and rear. So, this is basically the Passport TrailSport Honda sort-of promised us, then told us that we weren’t getting.
Actually, this concept car is a bit more than what the Passport TrailSport could-be-but-isn’t, or at least what it won’t be from the factory, per se: It also features a Sparrow XL roof-top tent, Dirt Complex swing-out spare tire carrier with an integrated table, and black wheels and fender flares. While the two former items are available on the aftermarket, the two latter add-ons—wheels and fenders—are Honda Performance Development and genuine accessories available from your dealer. Ditto the Honda accessory roof bars and cargo tray inside.
Thus you could built a Passport like this if Honda delivered the Passport TrailSport as originally outlined, which they have made it clear aren’t going to do—at least not right away. As part of the 2022 Passport announcement, Honda said that the mechanical upgrades would be available in future model-year Passports, so we don’t know if this version will arrive sooner or later than other TrailSport-ized Honda models that may or may not come with the upgrades that Honda might or might not have announced.
We’re not sure what Honda is doing here—promising off-road-capable TrailSport models, then announcing a Passport TrailSport that won’t have those capabilities, then showing us a concept we can’t buy that has them anyway—but since we don’t work in automotive marketing, we clearly aren’t qualified to understand these things. We’re just going to go watch Gaslight again. Come over and join us! We’ll make the popcorn. You can’t have any, but we’ll show it to you.
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