In a large field of mid-size SUVs, the Passport holds its own and ranks within the top 25 percent of contenders.
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Slotted between the Honda CR-V and the Pilot, it is perfectly sized for many drivers who need an SUV but don’t need one the size of the Pilot.
Let’s dive into the good and bad years for the Honda Passport!
The best and worst years for Honda Passport are:
The worst years for the Honda Passport are 1999, 2019, and the 1998 through 2002 models. The best years are the 1996, 1997, 2002, and the 2020 through 2023 models.
In 2002, the second-generation Honda Passport was dropped from production.
Honda’s Passport slot for a mid-size SUV remained empty until 2019, when it arrived as a shortened, two-seat version of the Honda Pilot.
The best year is 2023 because the Honda Passport is in the fifth year of its third generation. It is also offered with all-wheel-drive only for 2023.
The base EX with front-wheel-drive has been dropped from the lineup.
The 2019 model has been graded as the worst of the last five years of Passport production.
The 2019 Passport has issues that range from:
- electrical, to failure of safety features due to electrical problems,
- as well as six recalls.
In addition, the front frame was rusting all the way through, causing a loss of strength and breakage.
This issue finally led Honda to remove the Passport from its lineup in 2002.
The 2019 Honda Passport gets an Edmunds rating of 8.1 out of 10 and a 4.1 out of 5 from customer reviews. That’s a solid score for a newcomer and maintains the same rating through the 2023 model year.
What Honda Passport years are the most reliable?
The best Honda Passport years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2002,1997, and 1996.
The newest addition to the Honda line of SUVs has quickly become popular.
In addition, the reliability of the latest models has improved every year.
Owners’ reviews from Edmunds have this to say about the 2022 Honda Passport:
- The engine is powerful and responsive.
- All-wheel drive availability
- Ample storage, cleverly designed
- Spacious, comfortable seating
2023 Honda Passport
The 2023 Honda Passport is as reliable as the 2022 model and continues to find a following.
However, for 2023, it is only available with all-wheel drive, as the only front-wheel drive model has been dropped.
The good thing about this route is that standard all-wheel drive is good. However, it isn’t good if you don’t want it and it costs more.
So, this could be a sticking point for some buyers.
More cars than ever, especially SUVs, are coming with all-wheel drive as a standard feature.
2022 Honda Passport
For 2022, at least to this point, the Honda Passport has had only five complaints filed with the NHTSA.
Hondas are known for their reliability, and it appears that Honda is closing in on the goal with the newest Passport models.
Since the new Passport is built on the Pilot frame, bringing it up to Honda standards has not been as difficult as it was on the first and second gen models.
2021 Honda Passport
For 2021, the Passport received a nip here, tuck there. In doing so, Honda replaced the small 5-inch touchscreen infotainment screen with an 8-inch touchscreen.
The interior of the Passport is of high quality.
The third generation of the Passport seems to meet the standards that Honda owners have come to expect.
2020 Honda Passport
By all appearances, the fixes Honda made to the Passport in 2019 carried over to the 2020 models and beyond.
After its first year of production in 2019, there are few complaints for 2020 and the models that come afterward.
2002 Honda Passport
As the last year of the second generation of the Honda Passport, it is a surprisingly reliable SUV.
By 2002, Honda had fixed the problems that plagued it for years, then dropped it from production.
The media coverage of rusty frames had been so bad that continuing the production of the Passport was a losing prospect in 2002, which was too bad because they were good SUVs, and many years of sales were lost.
1997 Honda Passport
In 1997, the Passport was in its second generation of development. There were very few complaints about the Honda Passport for this model year.
If you can find a low-mileage Passport of this vintage, it’s worth looking at because it may be just what you are looking for.
And almost everybody loves a classic.
1996 Honda Passport
In 1996, the Honda Passport was offered in three trim levels;
- rear-wheel drive,
- four-wheel drive,
- and two engines.
Unfortunately, this was the last year the 2.6L inline 4-cylinder was offered.
The 3.2L V6, however, was powerful and the 1996-year model was one of the most reliable Honda Passports built.
There were very few complaints about the 1996 Passport.
Although there are still a few on the road, there aren’t many and if you find one, take it home with you if it has been well-maintained.
What Honda Passport years should you avoid?
Every car manufactured has good and bad years. The Honda Passport is no different.
Before we dive into the worst years for the model, check our walk-through of the most seen problems across the Honda Passport models.
All the early years were rebadged by Isuzu Rodeos.
The latter generation is a modified Honda Pilot. However, all three generations of the Honda Passport have had some models that were not up to par.
2019 Honda Passport
Even though the 2019 Honda Passport had some problems early on, they were not such that the vehicle became unsafe. If you can find one that has had its recalls seen and has been maintained, it’s likely worth the risk.
However, if you can afford to step up a year or two, the latest models of the Passport have the least problems.
Buying any classic vehicle is risky. At this point, many first- and second-generation Honda Passports are all reaching the classic range. Unfortunately, some years were much worse than others and should be avoided at all costs, even if they are classic.
1998 Honda Passport
The first few years of the Passport journey went relatively smoothly.
After that, however, from 1998 to 2001, the Honda Passports had problem after problem.
Bad transmissions, and problems with the anti-lock brake system, plagued the Passport. However, the issue that finally brought this Honda model to a standstill was the advanced rust that developed on the frame and suspension.
In 2010, long after Honda had quit selling the Passport, a recall finally addressed the rust problem for almost 150,000 1998 to 2002 model Passports.
1999 Honda Passport
Like the year before, 1999, Honda Passport owners complained of issues with the brake system.
The rust issue with the frame had not been fixed either, and the bad press
Other issues included:
- the failure of the transmission,
- rusting frames,
- and paint that oxidized prematurely, leaving a faded, dull finish.
2001 Honda Passport
The 2001 Honda Passport had few complaints.
The problems of the past two years have been corrected, and the Passport has become the rugged, attractive SUV it was designed to be.
However, Honda decided to axe its production, and it would be almost 20 years before they decided they needed an SUV to slot between the relatively small CR-V and the more spacious Honda Pilot.
What are some typical problems with the Honda Passport models?
Problems with the first generation (1993-1997) of the Honda Passport were bad transmissions and anti-lock brake system issues.
Problems with the second-generation Honda Passport (1997-2002) included transmission and brake issues.
Unfortunately, however, these are the years that had models with frames rusting through and suspension systems that were also rusting prematurely.
The rust issues finally ended the Honda Passports’ first run.
However, they have come back strong with a mid-size SUV that can hold its own against the competition.
Overview of the models
First produced from 1994 to 2002, the Honda Passport was dropped from the lineup with the introduction of the Pilot.
Having been pushed aside by the Honda Pilot and rusting frames, the brand name was left from the lineup of Honda SUVs for 17 years.
That’s also why we don’t have a lot of the older models on the road. You can see more here about how long the Honda Passport normally last.
The Honda Passport re-emerged in 2019 on a different platform than the original versions. Gone is the body-on-frame construction and in its place is a mid-sized front-wheel or all-wheel-drive SUV built on the same platform as the Honda Pilot.
Back to overviews: Best & Worst Years Per Honda Model.
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.