When we think of off-roaders, Hondas aren’t usually the first models that come to mind. However, the automaker wants to change that. Earlier this year, Honda launched the more rugged Passport Trailsport – an off-road-ready version of their popular SUV. Aside from the Passport, they say other models will receive the Trailsport treatment as well. But it seems Honda isn’t stopping at just rugged variants of their SUVs and a pick-up truck.
This time, Honda is going rallying, and the automaker will be using a rally-spec 2022 Passport. It's built by the Honda Performance Development (HPD) Maxxis Rally racing team. Unlike most rally cars, this particular Passport has only been slightly modified. According to Honda, the entire powertrain and suspension are unchanged, similar to what you'd find on a factory-fresh Passport. The only difference would be the new exhaust and the addition of an automatic transmission fluid cooler.
What is new are the wheels and tires. The rally-spec Passport rides on 17-inch wheels that are 7.5 inches wide. These are then wrapped in two different tire options depending on the event conditions. To protect the underchassis, custom skid plates were fitted.
For added safety, the interior has been stripped out, and a roll cage was added. A pair of OMP bucket seats and 6-point harnesses ensure that the occupants are safe in the event of a crash. To reduce weight, the SUV's side and rear window glass have been replaced by Lexan.
Honda already put the rally-spec Passport to the test by entering a competition. It managed to finish 22nd out of 42 overall and 4th out of 6 in the Limited 4WD class. Not bad for the SUV's first outing. It also shows that with a little more time, Honda can be competitive in rallying.