PowertrainThe Passport only has one engine option, Honda's trusty 3.5-liter V6. You can find this engine in both the Pilot and Ridgeline, and we like it in all its applications. But if you're looking for something more affordable or more frugal, you're out of luck. The Passport is one of just two that offer just one engine option. Most of the others have two choices, and Jeep even offers three.
Compared with similar engine options, the Passport is pretty middling. The Ford Edge ST's turbo V6 makes the most power and torque at 335 ponies and 380 pound-feet. Next up is the Blazer, the only other to break 300 horsepower, and then the 295-horsepower Grand Cherokee. The Passport does beat the V6 Murano and the turbocharged Santa Fe, though.
For vehicles with smaller engines, the Edge wins again with its 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. The Chevy Blazer is next, but at 193 horsepower, it's barely ahead of the 185-horsepower Santa Fe.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a couple of powertrain aces, though. It's the only vehicle available with a V8, and it makes an impressive 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. There's even a turbodiesel model with 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the most twist of the group. The Grand Cherokee is also the choice if you want to tow much. The V6 models will pull 6,200 pounds, and the V8 and diesel can handle 7,200 pounds. Add 200 more pounds to the diesel if it only has rear drive.
When it comes to fuel economy, the front-drive four-cylinder Edge and Santa Fe are tied for the best, with the all-wheel-drive Edge getting one more mpg on the all-wheel-drive Santa Fe on the highway. The Murano comes up next. It gets the same fuel economy regardless of drivetrain, and so its all-wheel-drive version has the same highway fuel economy as the all-wheel-drive Edge, but is one behind in the city. Again, the Honda Passport is roughly in the middle, along with the Chevy Blazer. The V8 Grand Cherokee has far and away the worst fuel economy at 14 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.
Most of the crossovers here use traditional automatics, with eight-speed units in the Ford, Hyundai and Jeep, and nine-speed versions in the Chevy and Honda. Only the Nissan uses a CVT. Most of these crossovers also offer both two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive on each version. But if you opt for the four-cylinder in the Blazer, you'll be stuck with front drive. Choosing the high-output engines in the Ford and the Jeep lock you into powering all four wheels. The Jeep boasts available four-wheel drive with a low-range transfer case for serious off-roading. And when coupled with air suspension, the Grand Cherokee has best-in-class ground clearance at 10.8 inches. Even the non-air-ride Grand Cherokee tops the ground clearance chart at 8.6, with the all-wheel-drive Passport second with 8.4 inches.
Exterior and interior dimensionsThe longest crossover here is the Nissan Murano by about an inch and a half, followed by the Blazer. But the longest wheelbase belongs to the Grand Cherokee, which is two inches longer than the second most lengthy Blazer. The Honda Passport is the widest, followed yet again by the Blazer. The Blazer is also the tallest, with the Grand Cherokee a little over two inches behind it.
There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of correlation between exterior size and interior spaciousness among these crossovers, though. For headroom, the Edge and Grand Cherokee are the best choices. If you have long legs, definitely go with the Santa Fe. And if you're built broadly, the Passport has the most shoulder room. If you're more concerned about carrying the most stuff, though, the Passport is the unquestioned champ. With all the seats up, it has 2 more cubic feet than the next most capacious Edge, and with the seats down, it has 4.5 more cubes than the Edge, which still sits in second place.
Technology featuresWe'll see how some of these vehicles compare with a few key standard features. One of the big ones on the Passport is the standard Honda Sensing suite, which includes adaptive cruise and lane keep assist. Ford also made its suite of driver assistance features standard, but adaptive cruise is not included in this feature set. We wouldn't expect the Jeep to be similarly equipped, and it is not. Hyundai makes nearly all of its driver assistance features standard at its base price too, but like the Ford, adaptive cruise is not part of it. The Rogue offers far more than the Murano does as far as features like lane keep assist and others similar to it. Honda beats Nissan here with the new Passport. Honda also makes an overhead camera view standard for all trims, a luxury-like feature on a cheaper vehicle. Features such as adaptive cruise, lane-keeping, and advanced cameras require higher trim levels or option packages on the Blazer.
PricesPeople looking for a bargain will want to check out the Hyundai Santa Fe. The base four-cylinder model starts at $26,545, which is over $3,000 less than the next cheapest Blazer. For V6 power, the Murano is the cheapest at $32,315, but the four-cylinder Edge shouldn't be ruled out, as its power and torque is very close to the Murano's.
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