Honda’s TrailSport Treatment Aims to Take Family SUVs Off-Road

honda-ridgeline-2019-16-badge--detail--exterior--rear--silver.jpg 2019 Honda Ridgeline | photo by Christian Lantry

Honda’s SUVs and pickup truck have been touted for their generous cargo areas, versatile interiors and ride comfort — but notably absent from this list of common accolades is off-road prowess. The addition of the new TrailSport line will bring rugged styling, and potentially improved off-road capability, to Honda’s light trucks to challenge the perception.

Related: 2021 Honda Ridgeline Review: Looking the Part Without Losing the Innovation

Honda has already dipped its toes into the off-road waters with the Passport. The two-row SUV is based on the Pilot, but it takes on more outdoorsy styling and utility features. The automaker plans to expand the off-road appeal to more vehicles with TrailSport editions, which will offer distinct aesthetic and functional elements to make going off-pavement more natural and enticing for Honda owners.

At its launch, the line will make select vehicles look the part with TrailSport-specific front- and rear-end design, durable cladding and unique interior elements like contrast stitching and all-weather floormats, according to Honda.

The real off-road capability improvements come later. Over the next few years (and depending on the model), TrailSport-equipped vehicles could also add more aggressive tires, a full-size spare tire, higher ground clearance, off-road-tuned suspensions, underbody protection and expanded all-wheel-drive system capabilities.

Honda’s TrailSport joins the growing number of adventure-focused trim lines that accommodate mild off-roading from automakers like Subaru, Toyota and Ford. Subaru’s Wilderness Edition adds off-road chops and styling to the Outback and Forester.  The Toyota RAV4 saw the addition of a TRD Off-Road trim for 2020, enhancing its off-road capability. And the Ford Explorer Timberline will be the first vehicle to wear the Blue Oval’s new off-road badge, which the automaker plans to expand to other models in the future.

Honda says the TrailSport line will be available for its light trucks (which includes SUVs) in the fall, but it hasn’t yet confirmed the specific models that will offer the off-road upgrades.

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