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Honda reveals rugged intent with TrailSport trims for Passport, Ridgeline

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Last week, Honda teased an SUV that looked like it was roaring through the desert like it was some kind of Baja legend. It now appears that Honda is going full bore into the overlanding realm with not one, but two custom-build projects aimed at helping Honda head toward a slightly tougher, more rugged direction with its light truck line. Honda calls this new halo package “TrailSport.”

The first two vehicles to get the overlanding treatment will be the five-passenger Passport SUV and Ridgeline pickup truck.

To kick off the reveal of these two upcoming vehicles, Honda will show off its Passport TrailSport Rugged Roads Project vehicle at the Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona, from September 24-26. So, while this is a just a project car, we will see some of the customizations trickle through to the production vehicles when they arrive.

Honda Passport TrailSport Rugged Roads Project Vehicle

Honda teamed up with noted Passport enthusiast Jon Tuico who has the popular YouTube Channel JonDZ Adventuring to create the Rugged Roads Project vehicle. This special Passport is not like any Honda vehicle on the road today and features Honda Genuine Accessories, a Jsport suspension lift kit for more ground clearance, and rugged Firestone Destination A/T2 all-terrain tires for improved off-road traction.

Custom designed and fabricated by Honda R&D are recovery points painted TrailSport orange, and thick stainless steel skid plates to protect the SUV’s oil pan and fuel tank from rocks and other off-road hazards. A lower door brush garnish protects its body panels.

Other exclusive features include roof crossbars and a Dirt Complex tow-hitch tire carrier. Fender flares, special 18-inch wheels and black Honda emblems make the Rugged Roads Project vehicle ready to tackle the toughest terrain the automaker says.

Honda thought of everything as there is a Sparrow XL rooftop tent, for when your off-roading adventures last into the night.

Some of the modifications for the Passport TrailSport Rugged Roads Project Vehicle include:

  • 18-inch wheels, black
  • Trailer hitch
  • Destination A/T2 all-terrain tires 265/60R18
  • Suspension Lift Kit, 1.5-in. front, 3/4-in. rear
  • Rear hitch tire carrier
  • Cargo tray and cargo side panel protectors

When the refreshed 2022 Passport arrives, its TrailSport package will include a unique grille, orange interior accents, machined 18-inch wheels and unique tires with sidewall tread for a more rugged look.

Honda Ridgeline HPD Trail Tour Project Vehicle

Since Honda divulged Ridgeline will also get a special overlanding treatment, it will show off the Ridgeline HPD Trail Tour Project Vehicle at the Overland Expo.

Based on a production 2021 Honda Ridgeline with the optional HPD Package, the pickup project is adventure-ready with bed and rooftop accessories from Thule, including a Tepui Kukenam 3 rooftop tent, and a custom spare tire carrier from Jsport.

The Ridgeline HPD Trail Tour Project Vehicle’s off-road capability is further improved with recovery points, and stainless steel underbody skid plates custom designed and fabricated by Honda R&D, a Jsport suspension lift kit, and Firestone Destination A/T2 all-terrain tires according to details provided by Honda.

Some of the Ridgeline HPD Trail Tour Project Vehicle modifications include:

  • Destination A/T2 all-terrain tires 265/60R18
  • Suspension Lift Kit, 1.5-in. front, 3/4-in. rear
  • WingBar Evo 150 crossbars by Thule
  • Traction Boards
  • AllTrail X hiking pack

The bottom line on Honda’s new TrailSport trim

This is just the beginning for Honda with the TrailSport, and over the next few model years, the off-road capability of these models will increase. According to information provided by Honda, future upgrades include more aggressive tires, full-size spare tires, wider application of increased ground clearance, off-road tuned suspensions, underbody protection, and expanded all-wheel drive system capabilities.

When it comes to light trucks, Honda is not the first brand anyone thinks of when it comes to off roading. However, Honda has a long history in powersports and power equipment, so this is not uncharted territory for them.

One of the trends that spawned from the pandemic was discovering an individual sense of adventure. This meant a surge in camping and off roading. We’ve seen automakers focusing more on that, with Ford creating their Timberline trim, and of course Ford launching several versions of the Bronco too. GM is adding AT4 trims to much of their vehicle line. Plus Jeep and Ram are highly engaged in this segment too, as well as Toyota with variants of the TRD even hitting their sedan lineup.

Giving the customers what they want, rather than conceding that segment (as small is it may be) to other competitors just makes too much sense.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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