It wasn’t too long ago that Honda focused on promoting reliability, practicality, and value with its utility vehicle lineup. While this certainly catered to a wide swath of buyers, that meant putting things such as off-road capability, trail readiness, and fun on the backburner. Thankfully, the Japanese auto giant is finally changing its tune on those latter three and has put a greater emphasis on promoting them to consumers. That includes the growing TrailSport lineup, but Honda promises these models are just the first act in a broader show. We got to see a slice of this on the motorsport side with Honda revealing a specially prepped Passport SUV competing in American Rally Association events.
Lightly Modified But Ready For Action
This particular Passport was created by a team of engineers at Honda’s Auto Development Center (ADC) in Ohio. The exterior styling of the Passport is unchanged when it comes to essential items like the front and rear fascia, but the SUV gets 31-inch mud or all-terrain tires (depending on the weather) and Braid 17-inch rally-spec wheels. The rest of the exterior is adorned in a very vibrant graphics package.
The remainder of the modifications were focused on safety versus performance, with extra covers being installed in strategic areas to help protect vital sites like the fuel tank and the SUVs’ other innards. Aluminum skid plates protect the transmission while the towing package’s oil cooler gets carried over to the racer. The interior is also slightly modified, but it’s also far different from what you would see in an ordinary Passport, with the steering wheel being replaced with a smaller unit. At the same time, the seats are upgraded to grippy sport seats. The rear also houses part of the extensive roll cage and has been reinforced for safety. As for the engine and suspension, both are unchanged from a stock Passport and are what you would see from the factory.
When Can I See The Passport Rally Car In Action?
As mentioned, this Passport will be competing in the American Rally Association, with the first race already taking place last weekend. But there will be other races in the rotation, and eager fans can check out the American Rally Association’s website to see where the Passport and the rest of the field will go.
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.