Review: Honda’s Passport Overland Camper Can Hit Roads Less Traveled
Fitted with a roof tent and more, it’s the Honda way to rough it.
We spent a weekend with the Honda Passport Overland, a somewhat conceptual camping rig, and came away very impressed—although the fact that its bundle of goodies would add at least $7,770 to a Passport Elite's $44,775 base price gave some staffers pause. The Elite is the top Passport trim, and it came coated in Lunar Silver paint and a gray interior, as well as equipment for off-road adventures that included a two-person rooftop camping tent.
Under the hood, the stock 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivers 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is mated to a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission and drives all four wheels through the Elite's standard all-wheel drive. We recently reviewed the Passport Elite, but that was sans camping mods—if you want an example like the one you see here, the following is what you'll need. Start with a Jsport Skid Plate for $395 to protect the underbody on rocky trails, and then fit a set of $895 Jsport side steps to make reaching the roof easier (be careful getting into and out of the cabin, as the steps can easily take out a shin if you aren't paying attention). Jsport also supplied the Plateau roof rack ($895) and KMC XD 18-inch wheels. The tires are knobby Nitto Ridge Grapplers. The wheels and rubber are included Jsport's Passport Pre-Run package that starts at $2,790 and also includes a lift kit that raises the Honda by 1.5 inches in front and 0.8 inch in the rear.
Finally, the Passport was fitted with a Sandpiper Roofnest, a two-person rooftop tent that adds $2,795. The tent pops open or closed in less than a minute; it can also accommodate 100 pounds of gear on its built-in rack and comes with a collapsible ladder to help ingress and egress. The tent itself weighs 150 pounds and bolts to the crossbars of the roof rack. It has a padded bottom and truly can comfortably accommodate two adults—or maybe one very tall person, like 6-foot, 10-inch staffer Alex Leanse.
Leanse spent a night in the tent, and said it was a pleasant way to catch some Z's. "It's quite roomy, the mattress inside is comfortable, and it does a good job insulating against temperature and light." He also said the setup makes the Passport a good adventure mobile, but it's a great idea to remove the tent when it's not going to be used. It adds almost a foot of height, so you have to be careful when entering parking structures—as we learned when the fiberglass-reinforced ABS shell of our Roofnest needed $500 worth of touchup paint. (Shout out to our friends at the Prietive Group for the repair.)
Is the Passport Overland worth it? If you're a dedicated camper and plan to use the equipment off-road fairly frequently over a few years, sure. After all, the additional $7800 is about 50 nights in a decent hotel, and you also get to have all kinds of incredible adventures off the beaten path. Don't have a Passport? Roofnest pop-up tents can also fit many other vehicles; they start at $2,595 for a Sparrow tent that fits most small and medium cars and up to $3,495 for a fancy Falcon clamshell tent.
|2019 Honda Passport Elite Overland Specifications|
|BASE PRICE||$44,775/$52,545 (base/Overland)|
|ENGINE||3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6; 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||19/24 mpg (city/hwy, w/o mods)|
|L x W x H||190.5 x 78.6 x 72.2 in (w/o mods)|
|WEIGHT||4,500 lb (est)|
|0-60 MPH||6.5 sec (est)|