Honda Targets Light Off-Roaders With TrailSport Trim

Chris Teague | Sep 07, 2021

It’s no secret that Americans have been buying SUVs like crazy for years now. Automakers have responded to that trend by making fewer cars and releasing new SUV models at a furious pace, but they haven’t stopped there. Several brands have started creating off-road-oriented versions of their vehicles that offer more capability and a decidedly more rugged experience to buyers.

Honda TrailSport Teaser Passport Model

Now Honda joins the club with the announcement of a new TrailSport halo trim for its light trucks, which include the Passport SUV and Ridgeline pickup, among others. The initial models will launch this fall as 2022 model-year vehicles.

What is Honda TrailSport? The company says it designed the trims to bring a more rugged design and improved off-roading capabilities to certain models. The brand already offers an impressive torque-vectoring i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system and notes that the new trims will allow owners to “get dirty tackling trails, without sacrificing comfort or the best-in-class road dynamics” of its vehicles. Based on the teaser image above, one of the first models to get the TrailSport overhaul will be the Passport.

Unlike Toyota’s TRD models, which are notably more hardcore than their standard counterparts, the initial rollout of TrailSport trims will be more of an appearance package than anything else. Honda says that the first models to get the treatment will see rugged exterior styling changes, body cladding, and unique interior touches that include high-contrast stitching and all-weather floor mats.

As time goes on, Honda will introduce more features to the TrailSport line, which will increase off-road capabilities. Beefier tires, increased ground clearance, off-road suspension tuning, and upgraded AWD systems will all be part of the experience. The upgrades will likely add up to something closer to Subaru’s Wilderness vehicles than to Toyota’s TRD Pro lineup.

Despite the expectation that the TrailSport will be more mild than wild, it’s clear that there is room in the market for middle-of-the-road adventure vehicles. The functionality gains from a slight lift and heavier-duty tires are as much as, if not more than, many buyers need. Unless the vehicle needs to be ready for rock crawling or deep-water fording, more ground clearance and all-wheel drive will get the job done.

Honda is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on September 7, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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