(AutoWeek)– Honda plans to revive the Passport badge for a new crossover to be slotted between the CR-V and Pilot, according to people familiar with the plans.
The two-row crossover is expected to be about 6 inches shorter than the Pilot and compete with the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Nissan Murano in the U.S. midsize crossover segment. Chevrolet is also set to field a new similar-sized crossover under the revived Blazer name.
One person, citing conversations with dealers, said the new Passport will be shown at a Honda dealer meeting in November and go on sale in early 2019. It is also expected to be shown in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
“We have not confirmed any details related to this product so any specifics would be quite speculative at this point,” a Honda spokesman said Tuesday.
The original Passport, a derivative of the Isuzu Rodeo, was Honda’s first SUV and was sold from the 1994 through 2002 model years.
The new Passport is expected to be based on the Pilot platform and likely will be built in Lincoln, Ala., where Honda assembles the Pilot, Odyssey minivan and Ridgeline pickup.
Dealers have pressed Honda management for a near-premium crossover to rival the Edge and Murano.
The Passport will give the Honda brand a fourth crossover in a U.S. market that has shifted considerably to utility vehicles and pickups.
In 2017, U.S. sales of the Honda HR-V, CR-V and Pilot crossovers all grew more than 5 percent from the previous year in an overall light-vehicle market that shrank 1.8 percent, ending a streak of seven annual gains capped by record volume of 17.55 million in 2016.
Overall, the Honda brand’s U.S. light-truck sales rose 4.2 percent to 734,264 in 2017, while car deliveries dropped 2.5 percent.