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Honda Absolutely Needs to Build This Overlanding Passport Concept
Need any more proof that 2019 is the year of the adventure vehicle? Probably not — but that’s not stopping Honda from serving it up in the form of the cumbersomely-named Honda Passport Adventure Lifestyle Project. Just think of it as the Passport you’d create if you were given a blank check to build a crossover-based two-row overlander.
The carmaker revealed the adventurous Passport Elite on Thursday at the 2019 Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona, along with a bevy of other outdoors-y gear, such as motorcycles like the new 2019 Africa Twin Adventure Sports and the CRF250L Rally and power equipment like the EU3000i Handi generator and WX10T Water Pump. (Sexy, right?)
While the powertrain goes unchanged — there’s still a 3.5-liter V-6 making 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque under the hood, connected to a nine-speed automatic and an all-wheel-drive system — the Passport Adventure Lifestyle does score a few mods designed to pump up its off-roading powers. A Jsport lift kit adds 1.5 inches of height up front and 0.75 inches in the rear to provide more clearance over terrain, while a skid plate provides protection against the errant piece of said terrain that looms up higher than the rest. 18-inch Nitto RidgeGrappler off-road rubber mounted on Jsport KMC XD wheels serves up more grip for all types of surfaces, while an outboard-mounted full-sized spare sits astern in case one of the Nittos succumbs to an unseen sharp rock or stick.
Of course, overlanding is about more than just driving past where the pavement ends. To make sure there’s room for the extra gear needed for such pursuits, a Jsport Plateau roof rack sits atop the rig, along with minimalist side steps from the same brand to make accessing the roof easier. Since those hitting the trails for a few days will need to lay their heads down eventually, said roof rack is equipped with a Roofnest Sandpiper tent, which not only offers a 3-inch foam mattress and retractable aluminum ladder, but also offers a mini-rack on top that can accommodate up to 100 pounds of gear itself. Rounding out the package is a beefier front bumper ready to mess up any shrubbery in the Passport Adventure’s way, along with off-road lights front and rear from Baja Designs.
For those who prefer a little more cargo space in their country-crossing vehicle, Honda also unveiled a similarly adventure-minded custom Ridgeline pickup truck alongside the Passport. The Honda Ridgeline Adventure Lifestyle Project comes with a soimilar suite of off-road optimized accessories — roof tent, skid plates, dirt-grabbing tires, et cetera — but adds on a Mesa bed rack and Honda’s own EU2200i generator, which offers up to 2,200 watts of power and can run for more than eight hours on a tank.
The good news? Any overlanding enthusiasts who like what Honda’s doing here can more or less recreate these builds; the carmaker points out that the Ridgeline mods are all available for purchase now, and replicating the Passport’s tweaks shouldn’t be too difficult. The better news? Honda says there’s a chance we at Gear Patrol may be able to lay our hands on this Passport before long. If we do, you can bet we’ll be telling you all about it shortly thereafter.