2019 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 Honda Passport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Passport doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Passport doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The RX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Passport only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the RX Series and the Passport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Passport has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The RX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Passport’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Honda covers the Passport. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Passport ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Passport’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the RX Series’ engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Passport’s camshafts. If the Passport’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series second among midsize premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Passport isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 41 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Honda is ranked 15th.

Engine

The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (295 vs. 280) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (268 vs. 262) than the Passport’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 28 more horsepower (308 vs. 280) than the Passport’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RX Series gets better fuel mileage than the Passport:

 

 

 

MPG

RX Series

 

FWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

400h 3.5 V6 Hybrid

31 city/28 hwy

 

 

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

Passport

 

FWD

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/25 hwy

 

AWD

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Passport doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Passport doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Passport:

 

RX Series

Passport

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

13 inches

The RX Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Passport are solid, not vented.

Suspension and Handling

The RX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Passport’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The RX Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Passport’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better maneuverability, the RX Series’ turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the Passport AWD’s (38.8 feet vs. 39.3 feet). The RX Series’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Passport’s (38.8 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Passport (8.2 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Servicing Ease

The RX Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Passport uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Honda. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 62% lower rating, Honda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

The RX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Passport doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the RX Series and the Passport have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RX Series is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Passport prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The RX Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Passport’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The RX Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Passport’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The RX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Passport EX-L/Touring/Elite.

The RX Series’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Passport’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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