Honda is pushing the off-road image and capability of its truck and SUV offerings more and more. Part of that is with its new TrailSport trims. Another part is apparently motorsports, as the 2022 Honda Passport is going rally racing, like other unibody SUVs that have come before it.
The Passport was developed by a group of Honda engineers at the company’s Auto Development Center in Ohio, and it’s driven by a pair of engineers. Modifications are mainly safety-related. The interior was gutted with a roll cage, racing seats and harnesses and fire suppression system fitted. Aluminum skid plates were added to protect the oil pan and rear differential, while plastic covers added some protection to other components such as the fuel tank. There are a couple of changes done to improve driving on the dirt. It has 31-inch Maxxis mud- or all-terrain tires depending on conditions that wrap around Braid 17-inch rally wheels. Upgraded brake pads and fluid were added along with a hydraulic hand brake. The transmission gets the oil cooler from the Passport’s tow package, and the engine has a freer-flowing exhaust system. But otherwise, the powertrain and suspension are unchanged from the factory Passport.
The Passport will compete in American Rally Association events, with one of the first being the Lake Superior Performance Rally this past weekend. The company said the car was finishing regularly in the top 10, but an unseated tire bead in one stage led to a lot of lost time and a fourth-in-class finish, which was 22nd out of 42 overall. But there will be other events for the Passport to show its stuff.