Although both are considered mid-sized SUVs, the Toyota 4Runner is alike in some ways and very different in others. Those differences have to do with functionality. In the looks department, though, they both have it going on.
However, Toyota has a tougher stance and persona, and always has, while Honda shows a bit more refinement.
However, both the 2022 Toyota 4Runner and the 2022 Honda Passport have their place in the market and the lives of their owners. Only you can decide which will work best for you, so here is the skinny on this pair of capable Utes.
Spending the first 11 years (1984-1995) of its production as a compact SUV, the Toyota 4Runner grew into the mid-sized SUV today as a 1995 model. In those almost 40 years of production, the 4Runner has gone through several refreshes. However, at its heart, it is still the body on frame, the proven off-road tank of a vehicle that it ever was, albeit with a few refinements added over the years.
Available in rear-wheel drive, all-wheel-drive, this off-road proven, four-wheel drive is available to those who want an SUV for hauling around seven passengers and a load. But, at the same time, others wanted to explore the wilds of the world. Fortunately, there is a model Toyota 4Runer model for each of you.
The Honda Passport was a mid-sized SUV from the beginning. It was a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, a relatively capable SUV for the time. However, after a nine-year run from 1993-to 2002, the badge was dropped.
The new, at the time, Honda Pilot took its place in their line-up of crossovers.
In 2018, Honda took the Passport badge from its mothballs and built a crossover slotted between the CRV and Pilot models. Unlike the 4Runner, the Passport uses a uni-body, as opposed to a body on frame, and is front-wheel drive unless equipped with the available all-wheel-drive.
Related: Toyota Highlander vs. Honda Passport
Differences between the Toyota 4Runner and Honda Passport
The most significant difference between the two is how they have approached building a utility vehicle, which they both were at inception. Over the years, Honda has taken a more refined approach than Toyota with the build of the Passport.
It is a competent vehicle and has all of the build quality, dependability, and reliability that Honda is known for. However, there is one thing it will never do as well as the 4Runner, which is to take you off the road.
The four-wheel-drive systems of the two are also different. Honda offers all-wheel drive as an option. However, Toyota offers several ways to get the torque of their V6 to all four wheels. In TRD, badging the Toyota is offered with a locking center differential, locking rear hubs, hill holding, and crawl features.
This is where the 4Runner shines, and neither Honda nor many other SUV manufacturers can match its off-road acumen.
Features of the Toyota 4Runner
Available in eight trim levels, Toyota builds a 4Runner for everyone. The base SR5 version seats five, has a body-on-frame construction, power rear lift-gate window, a full-size spare tire, LED headlights, taillights, and fog lifts. The Limited takes the high road, applies 20-inch street wheels and tires, and wraps you in leather.
Other features include Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ and a rear occupancy alert alarm to remind you of precious cargo. Priced from $37,605 for the SR5, the base MSRP of the most costly 4Runner, the TRD Pro, can quickly push over $53,000.
All Toyota 4Runner are equipped with their 4.0-liter DOHC V6, which produces 270 horsepower and 278-pound feet of torque. That is ample power for tooling around town and taking it off-road. However, it is not a speed machine, and the 0-60 time for the 4Runner is 7.7 seconds.
The power gets to the ground through a five-speed automatic that drives the rear wheels unless equipped with four-wheel drive. Towing capacity is 5000 pounds, which gives you the grunt you need to pull travel trailers, boats, and sundry off-road toys. In addition, the seating capacity of the 4runner can be expanded from five passengers to seven or eight with the optional third-row seat.
Fuel mileage is slightly less than the Honda, and the 4Runner gets 16 city and 19 highway miles per gallon. However, for an SUV that weighs in at almost two and a half tons, which is not bad. A transmission with a few more gears could help this issue, and hopefully, that is in Toyota’s sights.
Features of the Honda Passport
The Honda Passport is a much newer design than the 4Runner. It has a more refined exterior and interior and a more car-like manner. It doesn’t have 9.6 inches of ground clearance, which gives the Toyota an edge over the Honda Passport as an off-road vehicle.
However, it is also what gives it a harsher ride than the Passport.
The Passport is offered in four trim levels, and power for them all comes from a 3.5-liter, SOHC 24-valve V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 262-pound feet of torque. Here’s the kicker, though. The Honda has a nine-speed automatic transmission and returns 20 city and 25 highway miles per gallon. It can also do the sprint from 0-60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds, making it the clear winner in the speed test.
The towing capacity of the Passport is the same as the 4Runner, and it can haul up to 500o pounds. Unlike its smaller sibling, the CRV, the Honda Passport has an available third-row seat and second-row captain’s seat. These features expand the seating from five to seven or eight.
Both the 4Runner and Passport offer features comparable to other SUVs. So, it is as much their brand name that keeps buyers coming back; however, it is also the design features of the two. The Toyota 4Runner has the body on frame design preferred by off-road enthusiasts and the features they look for.
On the other hand, the Honda is a capable crossover with the power of a sports sedan and enough space to carry a crowd while pulling a load. Moreover, when equipped with all-wheel drive, it is a more surefooted vehicle than with front-wheel drive alone. Yet, it does not have the rugged capability of the Toyota to crawl over rocks all day long.
My Preference between the Toyota 4Runner and Honda Passport
I like pickup trucks because I am sitting above the fray and can see what is happening around me. I also prefer a body-on-frame vehicle when I need one to haul or when going off-road. The 9.6 inches of road clearance is as handy in the city for curb hopping as on the trail.
Besides, I drove a 4Runner for a couple of years, and they are tough, dependable SUVs.