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SUVs are a hot commodity these days as people are finding they need more space to haul families and items along on a regular basis but want good fuel economy. And these are all demands that Honda meets with both the 2020 Honda Passport and its little sister, the 2020 Honda CR-V.
These are both two totally capable vehicles, but given their size differences, they perform a bit uniquely from one another. Still, the one thing you should expect is the ol' Honda reliability. For families with kids, these two vehicles are probably pretty attractive.
But which one will best fit your needs? Does one have a better powertrain? Does one have better drivability factors than the other or, for that matter, better safety ratings? Which one offers the most overall value?
The 2020 Honda CR-V has a standard 1.5-L 4-cylinder engine that puts forth plenty of power, and for its segment, the CR-V is quite spacious. You just have to put up with a finicky touchscreen that does not have a separate tuning knob. The 2020 Honda Passport also offers a ton of space, and its seats are incredibly comfy. You also get a lot of the same clever storage spaces that come in the CR-V. However, the adaptive cruise control only works at 20 mph and above, and the driver's seat is positioned a bit too high up for some people.
Read on through to the end of this comparison review and see which Honda we think has the best value and is most worth your hard-earned money. We will go into detail about their powertrains, how they drive, how comfortable they are, how well-designed the interiors are, the tech features, storage, and safety features and ratings. Pay attention to these different factors so that you can determine which Honda might be the right one for you.
As we already mentioned, the 2020 Honda CR-V is powered by a standard 1.5-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It gets paired up with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which helps it generate 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. Front wheel drive (FWD) comes standard, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is an option. There is also a hybrid powertrain available for those seeking an even better fuel economy.
The 2020 Honda Passport receives its power from a beefy 3.5-L 6-cylinder engine that is matched up with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Together, they generate 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The Sport, EX-L, and Touring trims all come with standard FWD while the line-topping Elite trim gets AWD. However, AWD is an option on the three lower trims if you do want to equip it.
Drivability is more than just how a vehicle drives, although that plays a role in it too. Drivability also encompasses how comfortable a vehicle is, how its interior is built, how its technology works, and what kind of utility it possesses. And when it comes to Honda, the vehicles meet - if not exceed - most people's expectations.
The 2020 Honda CR-V has that nifty little 1.5-L turbo engine that provides a good amount of power to get the vehicle up and moving. The Honda CR-V shows itself to be entirely capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 7.5 seconds, which is a good time for this class. The brakes show remarkable control as they modulate well even when needing to make a panic stop. The CR-V provides a nice balance between sporty handling and ride comfort. It smooths out all kinds of road surface irregularities and can easily handle curvy mountain roads. The steering provides a good amount of feedback and has quite a bit of precision too.
The 2020 Honda Passport has a lot of power as well with its punch V6 engine and smooth shifting from the 9-speed automatic transmission. It can get from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is one of the quickest times for this class. Its handling is also better than average, and the steering feels well weighted and is responsive, taking turns light and easy. The brakes do get a little squishy when you press down on them hard, but they are otherwise easy to modulate.
The CR-V has a driver's seat that is comfy for people of all sizes, and the backseat is cozy for long rides. The CR-V remains composed while going over all types of road surfaces, and whenever you do feel a bump, you will only experience it once. The CR-V smooths them out without a problem and keeps reverberations at bay. There is some wind and tire noise that make it into the cabin, but you will only hear the engine when you press down hard on the gas (and even that is not so bad). The automatic climate control does not always maintain the temperature you set it at, which is really the only drawback when it comes to comfort.
The Passport has a bit of a stiff ride quality, stiffer than the Honda Pilot and the CR-V for sure. However, the body is very controlled and does not let bumps get into the cabin. Wide front seats are comfy despite not having a whole lot of bolstering, and the rear seats have a reclining feature that makes for a lot of extra relaxation. The cabin is always quiet with very little in the way of wind and tire noise making its way in.
The CR-V's interior is well-designed with wide front and rear door openings that make it easy to get in and out. The driver's seat and tilt and telescoping steering wheel are highly adjustable, and the big cabin rivals others in its class with plenty of space in the rear for two adults to fit in.
The Passport's interior is also well designed with a lot of head and leg room all throughout. Three adults can easily fit in the rear, but there might be some difficulty getting in and out because the ride height is kind of high. However, the large door openings lower the difficulty level. Also, you get a commanding outward view from your position in the driver's seat.
Technology is very similar in these two vehicles. The CR-V and Passport both have smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and they get Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming. The CR-V has a navigation screen that feels a bit clunky, as do the voice controls. The Passport has a fantastic audio system upgrade that is worth the cost of buying the Touring or Elite trim level. Its navigation system is updated from what you get on the CR-V and is quick to respond to inputs.. Other features include WiFi hot spot connectivity and 4 USB ports.
Of course, we cannot neglect to talk about the storage space that these two vehicles have. The CR-V has 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space available with all seats left in place, but if you take them down, that number maxes out at 75.8 cubes, putting it at the top of its class. There is exceptional small item storage spaces with a deep center console configuration and a sliding tray that can cover up your valuables. The LATCH anchors are easy to access but the center seat's tether is in the roof so it obstructs rear visibility for the driver when it is in use.
The Passport has 41.2 cubic feet of cargo space available behind the rear seats, and that number gets boosted to 77.9 cubes when you take the seats down. There is a high load height that can be a bit difficult, but the LATCH system is easy to use. Also, the rear seat has plenty of space for bulky rear-facing child seats. There are a lot of well-crafted small item storage areas, with large door pockets, a convenient center console, and plenty of shelves and cubbyholes. The AWD can tow 5,000 pounds but requires you to buy the towing package.
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Safey is obviously a big deal when it comes to buying a vehicle. And it is something that Honda takes very seriously. With Honda, you get the Honda Sensing bundle of driver aids in all vehicles, including the Passport and CR-V. This includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. In both vehicles forward collision warning can be a little too sensitive and send false warnings. Also, adaptive cruise control only works down to 20 mph, whereas some rivals have it working right on down to 0. If you get some of the Honda's higher trim levels, you can get added parking sensors and a surround-view camera system.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (better known as NHTSA) has rated the 2020 Honda CR-V as having 5 out of 5 overall stars with only one star lost on the front barrier passenger test. NHTSA gave the 2020 Honda Passport a 5-star overall rating as well, but it lost a star each on the front barrier passenger side and the rollover test (which was found to carry a 16.9 percent risk of rolling over).
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (also known as IIHS) gave the CR-V "Good" (or "G") ratings almost across the board, and the Passport got quite a few as well. It did, however, get marked down to "Acceptable" ("A") on the small front overlap - passenger side, LATCH system, and headlights.
Which Has the Best Value
Both of these vehicles carry a lot of value and are some of the best in their respective segments. They both get excellent fuel economy, for starters. The CR-V gets an EPA estimated 30 mpg combined (with 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway), but it is somewhat sensitive to driving style. It gets more like 35 mpg combined on short trips and 28 mpg combined on longer ones. Meanwhile, the Passport gets an estimated 21 mpg combined (with 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway) from the AWD variant, and the FWD do a few mpg better. Real-world tests show that these numbers are pretty accurate.
The CR-V has a great build quality with lovely trim inserts paired well with interior paneling. The higher trim levels have leather seats that look stunning. The Passport also has a well-designed interior with magnificent, high-quality materials. There is a ton of space, and there are only small panel gaps. There is high gloss black trim, matte-finished secondary controls, and beautiful leather seats on the higher trim levels. Both have industry-standard warranties and get roadside assistance included.
The better value here goes to the CR-V just based on the excellent fuel economy and slightly better safety ratings. However, they both rank high in their respective segments when it comes to fuel economy and are regarded as being safe and reliable vehicles.
Which is Better?
There is no clear winner here since these two Hondas represent different segments, at which they both rank near the top. However, the CR-V will likely appeal to more people since it is sizable yet has an excellent fuel economy from the 1.5-L turbo engine. It is just the right size for most people, and it has plenty of standard and available technology. With how competitively it is priced, you can easily justify spending extra on a higher trim level.
Either way, both the 2020 Honda CR-V and 2020 Honda Passport are exceptional vehicles that will do you well for years to come. They hail from an automaker that is known for crafting long-lasting, reliable, safe, and comfortable vehicles.