2020 Honda Passport Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Build quality, electrical system and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

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As a family-friendly SUV, the 2020 Honda Passport has a lot to offer. The automaker claims that it is “built to explore,” but customers are struggling with exploring anything besides the dealership for repairs. It turns out that despite this SUV’s sleek style and comfortable cabin, it suffers from a defective electrical system, shoddy structure and malfunctioning engine.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022

Problems with the Electrical System

The electrical system runs everything in a modern vehicle from the power windows to the car battery. When there is a glitch, everything becomes cumbersome.

That’s what is shown in this Edmunds review. “Having just purchased a Honda Passport I have had nothing but problems with the infotainment system. The screen goes completely blank and the driver display goes completely black so you have no idea what is going on. It happens with no warnings. Sometimes the unit will reset itself and then go black again. This is not an item the dealer can fix. An Engineer from Honda has to come to the dealership and remove the entire dash. Getting an engineer to the dealership takes months. I have been a big Honda fan but no more. I would not recommend this vehicle or any other Honda. There is a class action suit. Google Honda infotainment problems.”

Sadly, there are already two recalls related to the electrical system with the Passport models. The first, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V440000, discusses incorrect central network software programming that leads to several errors related to the rearview camera image. Because of this defect, the image might not display at all, leaving drivers without the information needed to back up safely. To repair the problem, Honda must update the software, which requires one trip to the dealership.

Another recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V439000, says that Passport vehicles have the wrong instrument panel control module software installed, which prevents the display from showing critical information. With this defect, customers are missing access to engine oil pressure, the gear selector position and speedometer. It also causes a lack of the rearview camera image. Without access to this information, customers are left in the dark until they head to the dealership for a software update again. At this point, there’s no reason for owners to plan any other explorations other than trips to the dealer, because that’s where all their time is spent.

2020 Honda Passport Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Lane Departure: Assist
Power Train

Build Quality Problems

As an SUV, the structure must be made to top-notch standards, but it doesn’t seem to be. From trouble with the windows to issues with the auto glass, this Honda leaves a lot to be desired.

Here’s another Edmunds review to consider. “From the time I picked up my new Passport, it has had repetitive problems ranging from constant vehicle instability warnings, a driver’s side window that gets stuck open (in Minnesota in the winter), defective front windshield (internally chipped under the mirror encasement) that spidered throughout, auto-start that does not reliably work, a defective seatbelt that damaged the footwell, a defective infotainment center (see class action lawsuit against Honda).  The undercarriage began to rust just months after purchase (I have just over 6000 miles on it and rust continues to progress).  When one attempts to shift from park or reverse into drive, it often takes two or three presses of the drive button before the car will move forward.  We have been a Honda family for almost three decades but this will be our last.  DO NOT buy this car!”

In keeping with the manufacturing defects, there’s another recall worth mentioning. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V067000 talks about how the certification label inside the SUV can be easily wiped away, which removes vital passenger information, such as the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Without access to this information, owners can overload their SUV and possibly cause an accident. While it might not seem like a major defect, it just shows how unreliable the Passport is, even with the basics. The word explore literally means, “travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.” With this in mind, it might be time for Honda to explore the basics of automotive manufacturing once again – and familiarize itself with it.

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Problems with the Engine

Under the hood is the car engine. While most people know what this looks like, few understand how important the component is. However, when a defect occurs, everyone seems to notice the engine.

One Edmunds review talks about engine troubles by saying, “I detest the car auto-shut-off when you are at a stop, and you have to disable it every time you start the car.  Maybe in an urban setting this would save you gas but in my setting it doesn’t. The car is so quiet I don’t notice it’s off until I try to pull out into heavy traffic.  That 1 second delay freaks me out.”

Even with the customer complaints, Honda has failed to issue any statement about plans to improve the engine design and performance. For now, customers are left on their own, exploring how to navigate with this engine trouble. Basically, this Honda SUV hasn’t given any customer the “Passport” to “explore” anything. In fact, it might be best to simply park it in the driveway and let it sit. At least the depreciation will slow down as less miles are put on it.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Honda pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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