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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Honda Passport are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Passport deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Passport’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The X3’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.
Both the Passport and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Passport 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are over 3 times as many Honda dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Passport’s warranty.
The engine in the Passport has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the X3 have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 16th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 5 places higher in reliability than BMW.
The Passport’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 32 more horsepower (280 vs. 248) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 258) than the X3 s/xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
As tested in Consumer Reports the Honda Passport is faster than the X3 xDrive30i:
Zero to 30 MPH
Zero to 60 MPH
45 to 65 MPH Passing
Speed in 1/4 Mile
An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Passport’s fuel efficiency. The X3 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
The Passport has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3’s standard fuel tank (19.5 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Passport has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3 M40i’s standard fuel tank (19.5 vs. 17.7 gallons).
The Passport has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The X3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Honda Passport, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X3.
For better traction, the Passport has larger standard tires than the X3 (245/50R20 vs. 225/60R18). The Passport Touring/Elite’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (265/45R20 vs. 245/45R20).
The Passport Sport/EX-L’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the X3’s standard 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Passport has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the X3.
The Passport has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The X3 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Passport is 3 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the X3.
For greater off-road capability the Passport has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X3 (8.1 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Passport to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The Passport uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X3 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Passport has 14.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X3 (115.9 vs. 101.4).
The Passport has .6 inches more front legroom, 4.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 3.2 inches more rear legroom and 5.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.
The Passport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the X3 with its rear seat up (41.2 vs. 28.7 cubic feet). The Passport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the X3 with its rear seat folded (77.9 vs. 62.7 cubic feet).
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Passport Touring/Elite’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
Maximum trailer towing in the BMW X3 is limited to 4400 pounds. The Passport AWD offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.
The Passport has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Passport Touring/Elite’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The X3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Passport has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X3 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
Consumer Reports rated the Passport’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X3’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”
The Passport Touring/Elite has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
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