2022 Honda Passport HPD Maxxis Rally Vehicle Revealed

The 2022 Honda Passport is going rallying with the HPD Maxxis Rally team, and in fact it just competed in its first event: the Lake Superior Performance Rally in Michigan. And this Honda SUV looks the business, with a bold black and white livery with strong orange accents, particularly the “wing” that spans the grille. The Passport, which is a shortened, two-row variant of the Pilot SUV, will compete in essentially mechanically stock form.

That’s right, the Passport’s 3.5-liter V-6, which packs 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, is plenty for rally duty, although it breathes through a modified exhaust system. In our testing, the Passport proved quick, with abundant power. No issues there, but we were not fond of the ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic’s lazy, confused behavior. The HPD Maxxis Rally team will have to make do with that, too, because the stock transmission also makes the jump over to the rally vehicle. It will get extra cooling from the optional transmission cooler included with the Passport’s available tow package.

What’s changed, actually? The Passport wears rally racing BRAID wheels wrapped in Maxxis off-road tires (either mud terrains or all-terrains, depending on the stage). There are some custom bits underneath, including non-stock aluminum skid plates for the oil pan and rear differential, and lightweight polyethylene armor for the fuel tank and a few other parts.

For more effective stops during the heat of rally battle, the passport wears Carbotech XP12 brake pads and utilizes competition-spec brake fluid. Inside, as you might imagine, competition OMP racing seats, harnesses, a safety cage, fire suppression gear, and so forth are fitted. The side and rear glass are now Lexan, and the interior is mainly gutted for weight savings. Finally, a hydraulic handbrake allows for convenient rear-end sliding to make extra tight turns on the soft stuff.

Perhaps strangely, there’s no apparent allusion to the new Trailsport trim level, which is upgraded (at least, in terms of looks, for now) to appear more rugged and adventurous. Seems to us that a Trailsport-branded rally racer couldn’t hurt things any, but maybe someone in Honda’s marketing department feels otherwise. Regardless, all this sounds promising, and frankly, like a lot of fun. But some mechanical gremlins and bad luck caused the Passport to finish 4th out of 6th in its class in the first outing. Hopefully the team will have better luck next time.

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