Honda has been tremendously successful in the traditional passenger car segment in the US. The company’s been so successful, in fact, that together with fellow Japanese automaker Toyota, Honda has effectively pushed Ford out of the segment in North America, prompting the Blue Oval to nix its “traditional sedan” models there in order to concentrate more completely on the real moneymakers: trucks and utility vehicles.
Now, Honda is preparing to go after more of Ford’s market share in the crossover utility vehicle space, too, using an all-new midsize crossover that will compete directly with the Ford Edge. The “Honda Passport” – as it’s rumored to be called – was recently spied testing in the US; photos can be found on the Autoblog website.
The Honda Passport name, while unfamiliar to many, is not actually new. The nameplate was worn by Honda’s own badge-engineered version of the Isuzu Rodeo in North America, sold from 1993 to 2002 as SUVs first experienced their first true boom in the market. That utility vehicle featured an old-school body-on-frame construction, whereas this new one, based on the larger Honda Pilot, is a unibody design. It’s expected to share that model’s 3.5L V6 and six- and nine-speed automatic transmission options, while offering up to five seats rather than eight.
For 2019, the refreshed Ford Edge lineup has switched entirely over to the Blue Oval’s 2.0L EcoBoost I4 – save for the Edge ST, which gets a more potent 2.7L EcoBoost with an extra pair of cylinders. Sending that power to the wheels is an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. As such, non-ST Edge models ought to have the, erm, “edge” in fuel economy, but will be handily overpowered by the Honda’s 280-horsepower V6.
The all-new Honda Passport could break cover at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show in November, as either a 2019 or, more likely, a 2020 model. Be sure to visit Autoblog.com for the spy shots.