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

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Are your speakers making popping or crackling noises? You may be eligible to join our class action investigation.

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.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Honda Passport

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
9
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
4
Service Brakes
3
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
2
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
2
Lane Departure: Assist
2
Unknown Or Other
2
Vehicle Speed Control
2
Fuel/propulsion System
2
Service Brakes, Air:antilock:abs Warning Light
1

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.

Problems with the Build Quality

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.

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.

Complaint Data

CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings, Lane Departure: Assist
DateDec 02, 2022
StateRI
Description
Cmbs issue. Failed with error message on screen. Randomly the breaking system turns on with no one around me on side roads going 50 a car could be behind me with no one in front and it forcefully stops. Had to pull over to avoid being hit from behind. Have had to pull off to the side of the road and turn my car off and then on again to stop my car from randomly breaking. Lane keeping system pulls me into old lane lines during construction. When avoiding pedestrians on the side of the road car try's to pull me back into the lane almost hitting them. I have had to stop to correct my car.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
DateSep 09, 2022
StateKY
Description
Vehicle braking heavily and unexpectedly on highway and interstate due to defective honda sensing group input data (radar, camera, on-board software creating dangerous situation) at high speeds (60-70mph). Vehicles not always recognized ahead when using adaptive cruise control. Somtimes the issue will be corrected if the honda passport is powered off and restarted. Another issue is the backup camera and lighting is not sufficient in a dark envirnoment with little or no ambient light in order to backup safely.
CategoryService Brakes, Air:antilock:abs Warning Light
DateJul 19, 2022
StateNJ
Description
2020 honda passport touring. Consumer writes in regard to defective collision mitigation braking system. The consumer stated the collision mitigation braking system did not perform any action to brake the vehicle. The dash only displayed "brake" on the screen with a warning sound. The dealer was notified and stated the vehicle was operating as designed.
CategoryElectrical System, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
DateMar 31, 2022
StateTX
Description
When driving at any speed vehicle computers (system and entertainment) loose communication and malfunction, causing loss of display and function. This loss of communication causes a loud crackling & popping noise to be generated by the system through the vehicle speakers. This problem persist while driving until the vehicle is stopped, turned off and door opened. Research on honda internet forums has revealed thousands of postings from owners with the same and similar problems. I have taken this vehicle to honda service more than 3 times. Each time was told a manufacturing defect in wiring harness of the most system is the cause. Each repair has been unsuccessful in permanently correcting the defect. This problem, being random and tied to rough terrain or road bumps can happen at anytime. When this happens it is a major distraction. When system error many warnings are flashes and various vehicle features stop functioning. This affect drive system, safety system and entertainment system. It is unknown if safety systems would function when this problem is actively happening. This is the scary part of it. I have given honda every opportunity to fix the problem. They tell me it is not a recall but is covered under an "extended service period" due to this known issue. I have seen many technical service bulletins pertaining to this issue. This needs to be elevated to a recall. I do have videos of this malfunction.
CategoryTires:sidewall
DateJan 18, 2022
StateTX
Description
Driving in neighborhood suddenly tire pressure light came on. Tire flat with 4 ruptures on sidewall of tire. Continental cross contact lx sport 265/45 r20. This incident happened in jan 2022 had similar episode in august of 2021 with rupture in sidewall.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure: Assist, Lane Departure: Warning
DateJan 04, 2022
StateNM
Description
When turning on car all the advanced systems fail. I need to restart my car sometimes 3 times to clear error from instrument panel, otherwise if I drive the car none of the advanced safety features work. Honda has been unable to diagnose and twice has withheld paper work.
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera
DateSep 07, 2021
StateSC
Description
manufacturer communication number: a21-012 summary service bulletin - a loose connection in the most bus network is causing a popping or crackling from the speakers or no sound from the audio system. You may also see a network loss message and/or display issues. This is a known problem. On my vehicle it caused the rear camera to go out which is required safety equipment. Also the noise is so loud sometimes it startles me and I jerk the steering wheel. I have been to the dealer 2 times and they say it is a known problem but have no parts. This has been going on for over a year now and this problem need to be a safety recall.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateMay 25, 2021
StateNC
Description
Not long after buying my car I noticed a popping sound from the speakers. I took it back to honda in which they added a harness. This did nothing and the popping got louder to the point it became a distraction and even turning the radio panel off did nothing. The speakers would get hot along with a burning smell. I took it in for a 2nd time in which nothing was done and then the third time the speakers were re-wired. As of today the popping noise is back, I lose connection to all audio (bluetooth, fm, am, sirusxm, androidauto, etc.) this makes it impossible to safely use the phone while driving down the road. Along with the popping the main screen continues to cycle through a black screen. Sometimes it comes up immediately sometimes it takes a few minutes. This is an issue when trying to back out of a driveway or parking space. Honda is well aware of the issue as they have sense released a bulletin stating that the problem will be fixed, but with the cavate that honda be able to duplicate. Outside of hearing the popping sounds there is no warning of when the speakers and or screen with cease to work. These issues do not happen constantly but when they do are an issue at highway speeds. Outside of a harness, re-wiring and constantly re-setting the system there is nothing that honda seems to be willing to do and drivers should just "deal" with it. The popping has been duplicated along with video evidence, they have also been able to duplicate the system losing connection as that is part of the bulletin and the back up camera issue has a recall but there has been no permanent fix on the speakers. None of the tried methods has seemed to fix many users issues and honda continues to willfully ignore them.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Service Brakes
DateApr 06, 2021
StateMI
Description
Adaptive cruise control works well most of the time. Occasionally, it ignores stopped traffic and closes to a dangerous distance. It then slams on the brakes and all warning lights go on. The sensors are defective. On two lane roads, the sensors detect oncoming traffic and flash the brake warning light. When on cruise, the sensors detect cars making a left turn when passed on the right, and apply the brakes. The same thing happens when on a freeway in the middle lane passing a car on the right. The false warnings have happened since I purchased the vehicle. It's been to the dealership numerous times. They can't fix it. The cruise problems were discovered on a trip to florida from january to march 2021.
CategoryElectrical System, Tires:pressure Monitoring And Regulating Systems
DateMar 02, 2021
StateNJ
Description
Tl* the contact leased a 2020 honda passport. The contact stated that the infotainment system would go blank and the contact could hear a sparking sound coming through the speakers while driving. The contact stated that the tire pressure on the vehicle would consistently deflate on all four tires without warning. The contact wrote a letter to the manufacturer documenting the failure but the contact received no assistance. The contact then took the vehicle to honda of princeton (987 state rd, princeton, nj 08540) where the vehicle remained in dealer possession. The vehicle had yet to be repaired. The failure mileage was 500.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
DateDec 04, 2020
StateGA
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2020 honda passport. The contact stated while driving 60 mph with the cruise control engaged, the speed decreased to 5 mph. The contact pulled off the road and vehicle drove as designed. The vehicle was taken to southern motors honda (10300 abercorn st, savannah, ga 31406, (912) 927-0700) but was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The contact was concerned about the forward collision avoidance system. The failure mileage was 6,000.
CategoryElectrical System
DateOct 28, 2020
StatePA
Description
Static, cracking, popping, and loss of infotainment center, even when vehicle is turned off.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance, Service Brakes, Vehicle Speed Control
DateSep 10, 2020
StateIL
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2020 honda passport. The contact stated that the front radar system and the collision avoidance system was sensing other objects and abruptly slowing the vehicle down almost to a complete stop. The contact turned off the feature so it would not engage in error like before. The contact was able to override when applying the brakes. The contact was concerned that the even though the adaptive cruise control was not reading an object in front the vehicle, the system may speed up the vehicle possibly causing a collision. Additionally, the instrument panel displayed the incorrect vehicle speed. The vehicle was taken to honda of downtown chicago (1111 n. Clark st, ste 2, chicago, il 60610, (312) 766-1095) and a software update was performed for the instrument panel to show the correct speed. It was also suggested that the front of the vehicle be cleaned and wiped off at all times for correct readings of any object in front of the vehicle. The manufacturer stated that the system could be reading bumps in the road, curves in the road and rain that could cause inaccurate readings. The issue was escalated to a case manager. The failure mileage was 7,600.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 07, 2020
StateNC
Description
I was driving on the interstate, no vehicles in front of me or beside me and I heard a loud explosion like a shotgun blast. I looked in rear view mirror and saw glass bouncing from my vehicle. I pulled over and discovered that my sunroof while closed had exploded. Fortunately I had the shade closed so no glass came into the cabin.
CategoryElectrical System
DateAug 20, 2020
StateSC
Description
Popping noise, radio/navigation screen going blank, rear view camera for backing up does not work & most importantly the instrument gages goes blank while driving
CategoryElectrical System
DateAug 05, 2020
StateTX
Description
Short in the electrical system causes crackling/popping to come out of infotainment speakers. Infotainment system can be set to off and problem will still persist. The crackling and popping can happen randomly and to various loudness levels. Under abrupt braking or road bump, problem will occur loudly. The noise can sound like road gravel hitting windshield and is very distracting. Weather, such as very humid or raining conditions worsens the problem and increases odds of it happening.
CategoryStructure:body
DateAug 05, 2020
StateIL
Description
I just bought this 2020 honda passport exl 4days ago. I decided to clean it and went in a touch less carwash (no big brushes rolling to paint). And then after, we went home. Upon leaving the car, I saw a dark spot by the front passenger door and it was the paint chipping off. It wasn't there since. Its a brand new car and its just days old so I look at it and check like every 2hrs. I mean its a k car and with just a simple carwash it chipped off? I've read this issue to some others and its crazy that it happened to me. Its just 4days old.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateJul 23, 2020
StateNC
Description
On july 14 2020 a flying object went under my car while I was driving on highway i73 (close to gate city blvd greensboro nc). The object gashed the side of the fuel tank causing fuel leak! The plastic tank is close to the manifold which could of caused fire or explosion of the vehicle! The fuel tank is shielded from the bottom but it's not shielded from the driver side under the vehicle! I think it's a mistake and it's a serious fire hazard bc it's very exposed to any road debris or random small objects which can harm the thin tank side! The chassis and the suspension design is also allowing debris to trap and wedge between the fuel tank and the driver side suspension parts! I strongly think bc the design the side of the tank needs to be shielded! Specially on a car which is sold us 'rugged'and off-road capable!
CategoryElectrical System, Service Brakes, Vehicle Speed Control
DateJul 21, 2020
StateIN
Description
Vehicle braking heavily and unexpectedly on highway and interstate due to defective honda sensing group input data (radar, camera, on-board software creating dangerous situation) at high speeds (60-70mph).
CategoryElectrical System
DateJul 20, 2020
StatePA
Description
Complete infotainment failure occurring frequently, sometimes multiple times per trip. This includes backup cameras and all systems running through the main infotainment screen. (some are safety systems) the description is: complete infotainment shutdown and reboot. Starts with a "signal lost" or "radio unavailable" message (regardless of audio input) then displays a "service unavailable" message, then "network connection lost " message on the main screen, then the screen and all associated functions shut down. This complete event takes only 1-2 seconds. The system usually will reboot in 2 -20 minutes, but this is highly variable. This happens without and with a phone connected via a cable. No difference. Hence its is not "car play" related. Occurs only when driving but may happen on various types of roads. Including but not limited to, highways, city streets, unpaved roads and at various speeds and directions (straight, turning).
CategoryElectrical System
DateJul 07, 2020
StatePA
Description
Driver distractions caused by a repeat infotainment system failure and loud speaker popping noises. Specifically, multiple times a trip while driving, the infotainment system goes through the following cycle; speakers pop loudly (even if the sound is off), then the infotainment screen displays the message "network communication lost". Then system shut down. The system will restart in 5-10 minutes and then go through the same process again and again. This happens every time the vehicle is driven.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJul 01, 2020
StateTX
Description
3 mo/500 mi driving and infotainment screens went black on highway... Couldn't see speed, etc
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateJun 13, 2020
StateFL
Description
New vehicle running in highway with just 570 miles (and 3 weeks) started to leak fuel under the fuel tank very fast. Fire department found hole in the fuel tank. Holler honda dealer found same. I didn't see or feel any contact with another object. It looks for me plastic fuel tank is defective, or it is too thin or exposed to be broken and fire damage it is highly probably with normal use in roads. We feel unsafe in this vehicle with this defective fuel tank or the bad location or tank design is risky . *tr

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

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