Here Are The Worst Honda Passport Years to Avoid and Passport Reliability Best Years

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you looking for a used, but very reliable mid-size two-row SUV that won’t let you and your family down?

The Honda Passport might be at the top of your list, but not all model years are created equal. In fact, some years are downright dangerous!

If you want to avoid a rusting frame, costly repairs, and endless headaches, steer clear of the 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 models. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of great options out there.

Check out the Honda Passports with better track records, like 1996, 1997, and 2002, or go for a more recent model from 2020 to 2023. Trust our resources and tips, presented by our team and your wallet will thank you.

Honda Passport Years to Avoid

Worst Honda Passport Years to Avoid

Our extensive research pointed to these worst years to be avoided at all cost for a used Honda Passport:

  • 1995
  • 1998
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001

Each of these years had specific problems that made them less reliable than other model years. Let’s take a closer look at each of these troublesome years:

  • 1995: As one of the early model years, the 1995 Honda Passport had several issues, including a problematic transmission and various electrical problems.
  • 1998: The 1998 model saw a massive recall due to severe frame rusting near the rear lower control arms, which posed a safety risk.
  • 1999: Unfortunately, the 1999 Honda Passport continued to have the same serious frame rusting issue as the 1998 model, resulting in another large recall.
  • 2000 and 2001: These model years had a history of rusting frames, similar to the 1998 and 1999 models. This issue was the primary concern for these years, which made it difficult to recommend them to potential buyers.

Common Issues

Aside from the years mentioned above, other Honda Passport models have experienced some common issues. These include:

  • Transmission Problems: Some Passport owners have reported transmission issues such as slipping, delayed shifting, or complete transmission failure. This problem was more common in the early model years, such as 1995.
  • Electrical Problems: Some owners have faced electrical issues with their Passports, such as intermittent instrument cluster malfunctions and problems with sensors. These issues were prominent in the early model years but were generally resolved in later models.
  • Frame Rust: As mentioned earlier, frame rust was a significant issue for certain Honda Passport years, mainly in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This problem can be severe and requires timely intervention to prevent potential safety hazards.

By considering these worst years and common issues, you can make a more informed decision when purchasing a used Honda Passport. Avoid the problematic years mentioned above, and be aware of the common issues when selecting the right model for your needs.

Honda Passport Reliability

We are happy to inform you that our researchers and editors also discovered several Honda Passport old model years worth your investment:

The Best Years

Based on our in house work plus external facts like the auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback, the standout and the best Honda Passport model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2002, 1997, and 1996.

  • 1996: As one of the early years of production, the 1996 Passport gained popularity for its capable off-roading capabilities and spacious interior. During this time, the Passport offered a choice of two engines: a 2.6-liter four-cylinder or a more powerful 3.2-liter V6.
  • 1997: The 1997 model saw improvements in the braking system, making it even more reliable, and the addition of a standard passenger-side airbag, showcasing Honda’s commitment to safety.
  • 2002: This was the final year of the first-generation Passport, and it came with several enhancements such as new colors, updated exterior styling, and a refined suspension for a smoother ride.
  • 2020: After being discontinued in 2002, the Passport made its grand return in 2019 with a refreshed design and modern technology features. The 2020 model is notable for its well-rounded performance, impressive cargo space, and user-friendly infotainment system.
  • 2021: In this model year, the Passport received a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and new standard driver-assistance features across all trims, making it a solid choice for modern buyers.
  • 2022: The 2022 Passport got a fresh new look with rugged exterior styling and continued to offer a comfortable cabin, powerful V6 engine, and Honda Sensing® suite of driver-assistance technology.
  • 2023: Although the details of the 2023 Honda Passport haven’t been fully disclosed, 2023 is expected to continue in line with the high quality of recent Passport years.

While researching the Honda Passport, you might also encounter the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid. This model is an eco-friendly version of the popular Honda Accord and offers drivers stellar fuel efficiency and a comfortable, roomy interior.

Comparison with Other Models

Honda Pilot

When comparing the Honda Passport with its sibling, the Honda Pilot, you’ll notice that the Pilot is larger and offers more seating capacity.

The Pilot can seat up to eight passengers, while the Passport only seats five. However, the Passport has better off-road capabilities and a more rugged styling so we advice you consider the best years for Honda Pilot for dependable models.

Both vehicles share the same engine and are known for their reliability. Here are Honda Pilot years to avoid and best versions!

Honda CR-V

On the other hand, the Honda CR-V is smaller than both the Passport and Pilot.

With a more compact design and better fuel efficiency, the CR-V serves as a great option for those prioritizing city driving and fuel economy over off-road capabilities.

Although the CR-V seats five passengers like the Passport, you might find its cargo space to be less than that of the Passport.

Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is an American competitor that is larger than the Passport, seating up to seven passengers.

Its standard engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder, but it also offers an optional powerful V6 engine.

The Explorer may have more advanced features and a variety of powertrain options, but comes at a higher price than the Passport. Check out Ford Explorer you must avoid vs best years!

Subaru Outback

For comparison purposes, you can also look at the Subaru Outback, which is more wagon-like than the Passport but offers a great balance between off-road capabilities and daily driving practicality.

The Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is an optional upgrade for the Passport. The Outback’s smaller size and lower ground clearance might be a disadvantage when compared to the Passport.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Lastly, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a popular option with exceptional off-road capabilities and ample luxury features.

With different engine choices, including a powerful V8, the Grand Cherokee can cater to those looking for performance or just a comfortable daily driver. However, its reliability ratings aren’t as high as the Honda Passport’s.

When comparing the Honda Passport to these other models, consider your priorities and needs in terms of space, off-road capabilities, and fuel efficiency.

The Passport stands as a balanced choice, offering a combination of ruggedness and reliability while delivering more space compared to the Honda CR-V.

Common Problems and Solutions

We’ll discuss some common issues you may face with certain Honda Passport models and their potential solutions.

Remember, it’s essential to maintain your vehicle and address any problems promptly to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

Transmission Problems

Some Honda Passport owners have reported transmission problems, particularly in models from 1998 to 2001. Issues can include rough shifting or slipping when changing gears.

To minimize the risk of damage to your transmission:

  • Regularly check the transmission fluid levels and replace it as recommended in your owner’s manual.
  • Schedule routine maintenance at a reputable service center.
  • If you experience any unusual noises or behavior from your transmission, seek professional advice immediately.

Fuel Pump Issues

In some cases, Honda Passports may experience fuel pump issues, which could impact vehicle performance.

Symptoms may include poor acceleration, reduced fuel efficiency, or engine stalling. To address fuel pump concerns:

  • Have your vehicle’s fuel system inspected by a qualified technician.
  • Replace the fuel pump, if necessary, with a high-quality aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part.

Body and Frame Concerns

A common issue with Honda Passports, particularly in the 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 model years, is rusting and corrosion on the vehicle’s frame.

This can compromise the overall structural integrity of your vehicle. To prevent and address body and frame concerns:

  • Regularly inspect the frame for signs of rust or deterioration, especially in areas with harsh weather conditions.
  • Ensure drain holes in the frame and body are clear to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Apply rustproofing or undercoating to protect vulnerable areas of the vehicle.

By proactively addressing these common issues and maintaining your Honda Passport, you can enjoy a reliable and safe driving experience for years to come.

Trim Levels and Features

Base Models

The base model, which is the EX-L, comes with a variety of standard features that cater to your driving needs. Some of these standard features include:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • Power-adjustable front seats

If you appreciate a little extra grip on the road, 18-inch wheels are also standard on the Passport EX-L. Additionally, this trim level offers a suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver-assist technologies to make your driving experience safer and more convenient.

Passport Elite

If you’re looking for even more luxury and advanced features, the Honda Passport Elite is a step up from the base model.

This trim level includes a range of additional amenities that enhance your driving experience. Some highlights of the Passport Elite include:

  • Ventilated front seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Wireless phone charging

Moreover, the Passport Elite comes equipped with premium audio systems and advanced connectivity features, so you’ll always stay entertained and informed during your journey.

Keep in mind that each trim level offers its own set of advantages, so it’s crucial to assess your needs and preferences before making a decision. By doing this, you can find the perfect Honda Passport model that will suit your lifestyle and driving habits while avoiding years with potential issues, such as 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Safety Features and Ratings

Your Honda Passport comes with an array of safety features designed to keep you and your passengers protected on the road.

Adaptive cruise control: One notable feature is the adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts your vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the car in front. This system helps to reduce the chance of a collision and ensures a more relaxed driving experience.

Blind spot detection system: Another essential safety feature in your Honda Passport is the blind spot detection system.

This system monitors your vehicle’s blind spots and alerts you when another vehicle enters that area. With blind spot detection, you can confidently change lanes without worrying about unseen hazards.

Keeping you safe in your lane is the lane departure warning system. This feature monitors your position on the road and provides an audible or visual alert if you start to drift unintentionally.

Lane departure prevention system: Additionally, the lane departure prevention system will gently guide you back into your lane, ensuring you stay on course.

The safety features of the Honda Passport have been put to the test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to their review, the 2023 Honda Passport has an overall safety rating of five out of five stars.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in their ratings was slightly more conservative in their review, giving certain areas top ratings, but also highlighting other areas for improvement.

In summary, when driving your Honda Passport, you can trust the array of safety features, including adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning systems.

These systems, along with the vehicle’s overall safety rating, make your Honda Passport a reliable and secure choice for your driving needs.

What More Steps When Buying a Used Honda Passport?

Vehicle History Report

It’s essential to review the vehicle’s history report. This report will provide valuable information on the car’s ownership, maintenance, and potential issues.

It can also help you in spotting the Honda Passport years to avoid, such as 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. These years are known to have concerns like a rusting frame or other reported problems.

New vs. Used

If you’re undecided between buying a new or used Honda Passport, consider these factors:

Pros of a New Honda Passport:

  • You get the latest features and technology
  • Enjoy the full manufacturer’s warranty
  • Lower interest rates for financing, if applicable

Cons of a New Honda Passport:

  • High upfront cost
  • Depreciation in the initial years of ownership
  • Potential for early-model issues

Pros of a Used Honda Passport:

  • Save money on upfront costs
  • Slower depreciation
  • Access to best years of Honda Passport, such as 2019, 2020, and 2021

Cons of a Used Honda Passport:

  • Wear and tear from previous use
  • Unknown vehicle history (unless properly reported)
  • Possible maintenance or repair costs

As you weigh the pros and cons, prioritize factors that matter most to you, such as budget, features, and long-term goals.

Keep in mind that a used Honda Passport might be an excellent choice if you can find a reliable model in good condition. Maintain a friendly, tireless search in the vehicle history report, ensuring that you find one with proper maintenance, no serious accidents or other issues to worry about.

Remember, when buying a used Honda Passport, it’s crucial to do your research and make an informed decision.

Consumer Reports and Reviews

Again, it’s essential to take a look at the feedback given by Consumer Reports and actual car owners. Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision about which model years to avoid.

Consumer Reports mentions that there isn’t a good reason to choose the Honda Passport over other SUVs that Honda already produces, such as the smaller CR-V and the larger, three-row Pilot.

Given these alternatives, your attention might be better focused on researching those models instead. Interestingly, the Honda Passport scored a low 59 out of 100 when compared to other Honda models.

The reliability category was among its lowest-scoring sections, which should compel you to consider the potential drawbacks of owning this vehicle.

One of the specific issues mentioned by Consumer Reports is the 2 out of 5 rating for both the “climate system” and “in-car electronics.”

As a potential Honda Passport owner, it’s essential to consider these factors, as they can impact your overall satisfaction with the vehicle.

To extend your research, you can browse our website resource and read through the 10s of consumer reviews for this brand and others. We have detailed actual car owners share their experiences, which can offer valuable insight into any potential issues or ongoing problems.

By referring to sources such as Consumer Reports and actual Honda Passport owner reviews, you can better understand any potential concerns or shortcomings for specific model years.

This information will help you make a more educated decision when considering the Honda Passport as your next vehicle.

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