While Honda‘s reputation for creating strong selling vehicles with high build quality is pretty much undisputed, the Japanese car giant has never been known for venturing too far into the off-road segment. This is partly due to the company not offering formal body-on-frame models like an SUV or pickup that could take the punishment often associated with going off the beaten path. However, a leaked patent filing suggests that Honda is eying the trail very seriously with a new Trailsport moniker and is perhaps eying the bigger sales that come with it.
What Could Trailsport Bring To Honda?
Our first glimpse of the new logo comes courtesy of the United States Patent Office and is a follow-up to a prior patent that Honda filed with the agency last year. In recent years, various patent offices around the world have proven to be very leak-prone, and in this instance, it appears that this trait is providing an insight into which way Honda is going with the Trailsport moniker.
So what could the Trailsport package bring to the table for Honda models? While the company has chosen not to comment on this report, a glimpse at some of its rivals could provide a clue. Take Toyota, for example; its popular line of TRD badged models has proven to be a very lucrative venture. They all offer various levels of capability, especially if you go all in and get a TRD-Pro model.
We highly doubt that Honda is hunting for TRD-Pro equipped prey with this new moniker, but the chances are good that it’s eying lower-tier TRD models as well as Jeep’s Trailhawk badged fare. If that holds, Honda’s arrival would be a potent disrupting force and could allow the Japanese firm to take a large slice of the off-road market.
What Models Could Get The Treatment?
As the name and imagery suggest, Honda is most likely limiting the Trailsport name’s applications to more rugged members of the family, with none of its formal car models getting in on the act. Instead, we could see models like the Pilot and Passport getting the chance to strut their stuff with this new trim level. The Passport, in particular, was designed from the beginning to appeal to adventure seekers, and any opportunity it gets to receive off-road-focused upgrades would be a big blessing.
Another model could be the Honda CR-V. While the CR-V is normally focused on sticking to the pavement, a Trailsport equipped version could allow the popular Honda to expand its horizons while also giving Honda a formidable contender to go up against the Toyota RAV4 and its TRD Off-Road trim. With SUVs still proving to be a profitable gem in a pandemic fueled economy, Honda could greatly expand its profits with an expanded CR-V lineup.
A big triumph for the Trailsport name is if it makes its appearance on the Ridgeline pickup. The Ridgeline is the only pickup that Honda offers, and the company recently invested a considerable amount into making the Ridgeline a brawnier-looking beast. An all-new HPD package helps the Ridgeline get some extra style, but it’s not tailored to enhancing the actual performance of the Ridgeline.
A Trailsport model could change that, though, with the Ridgeline potentially receiving light tweaks to the suspension and other hardware to help it become more trail-ready while also allowing the design to better deliver on its promises of making the Ridgeline a serious contender in the pickup segment.
When Can We See A Trailsport Model Debut?
The real question here is when we can see the Trailsport moniker debut on a production vehicle? Honda, for its part, has not issued a statement that properly answers that question. However, look for one to perhaps appear sometime this year, with more information slowly trickling out over the next few months.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.