The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport and Honda Passport often make their way to the shortlists of SUV buyers, and for a good reason. These two midsize SUVs offer a wonderful blend of quality, performance, comfort, and features, making them appealing to a wide range of drivers. If you want to know whether the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport or the 2023 Honda Passport is more suitable for you, this head-to-head comparison can help you make a well-informed choice.
Trim Levels and Prices
With its five-trim lineup, the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport provides more customization options than the Honda Passport. The available variants include the entry-level SE, SE with Technology, SEL, the sporty SEL R-Line Black, and the top-of-the-line SEL Premium R-Line. This Volkswagen SUV comes with a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $34,460, making it one of the more affordable entries in its segment.
In contrast, the 2023 Honda Passport comes in only three trim levels: the base EX-L, TrailSport, and the range-topping Elite. With a minimum price tag of $41,100, this Honda is significantly more expensive than its Volkswagen rival.
You have two engine options if you purchase the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-four that generates 235 horsepower, which is enough for most driving tasks. For a more exciting driving experience, go for the optional 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 276 horsepower. This unit delivers brisk acceleration and makes highway merges and passing maneuvers a breeze. Both engines pair with a slick eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option.
Regarding power, the 2023 Honda Passport has a slight advantage over the Volkswagen. It offers only one engine option, a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 280 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. With this combination, the Passport can lug up to 5,000 pounds. That’s the same tow rating as the Atlas Cross Sport.
Despite being relatively large vehicles, the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport and Honda Passport are surprisingly easy to maneuver. Their sharp, well-weighted steering and taut reflexes contribute to a car-like feel, while their strong brakes provide reassuring stopping power.
Nevertheless, the Atlas Cross Sport offers more athletic handling than the Passport, which makes it more fun to drive. Thanks to its longer wheelbase and lower roof, it feels more surefooted and composed around turns and on curvy roads. Furthermore, it has the upper hand in terms of ride comfort. The Honda navigates uneven surfaces reasonably well but can ride a bit harshly over larger bumps.
If you want to save money at the gas station, you may be better off choosing the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. When fitted with the base four-cylinder engine, this Volkswagen model delivers an impressive fuel-efficiency rating of 21/25 mpg (city/highway) with front-wheel drive and 20/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. The Honda Passport is slightly less thrifty, earning 19/24 mpg.
Whether you buy the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport or Honda Passport, you’ll enjoy a comfortable and relaxing driving experience. Both of these SUVs feature a modern and well-built cabin with excellent fit and finish and plenty of quality materials. They also have an open and airy atmosphere and filter out most road and wind noise, resulting in a quiet and serene ride.
Both the Atlas Cross Sport and Honda Passport can seat up to five people. Unlike many other midsize SUVs with tight rear seating, they provide ample legroom and headroom for adults in both rows. However, the two models differ in terms of seat comfort. The Volkswagen comes with nicely padded and supportive seats that can keep you and your passengers relaxed even after hours of driving. While they’re well-cushioned, the front seats of the Honda seem to lack support.
If you routinely need to transport a lot of cargo, you’ll be satisfied with either the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport or the Honda Passport. With the Atlas Cross Sport, you’ll get 40.3 cubic feet of storage space behind the back seats and 77.8 cubic feet if you fold down those seats. The Passport, on the other hand, yields up to 77.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. That’s enough for stowing an entire family’s luggage and even bulky items such as sports equipment, camping gear, and home improvement supplies.
Whether you’re commuting to work or hitting the open road, you can count on the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport to provide an enjoyable driving experience thanks to its excellent infotainment system. The entry-level model includes a 6.5-inch touch-screen display, a pair of USB ports, an 8-inch digital instrument cluster, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Honda Passport has more standard infotainment features, such as an 8-inch touch-screen display, a wireless device charger, four USB ports, a seven-speaker sound system, HD radio, satellite radio, and smartphone connectivity.
The Honda Passport is also the winner in the safety department. Its standard driver-assistance features include forward collision warning, forward automated braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and automated high beams. While it has plenty of available active safety features, the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport offers only forward collision warning, forward automated braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts as standard equipment.
Despite being more affordable than the Honda Passport, the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport still manages to give its rival a run for its money with its smooth and engaging handling, strong fuel economy, and comfortable cabin. If you reside in San Juan Capistrano, California, and want to know if this fantastic Volkswagen SUV meets your expectations, come to our Capistrano Volkswagen dealership for a test drive. Our dedicated team is ready and eager to help you drive home in your ideal Atlas Cross Sport. Contact us today to schedule your test drive.