Honda May Copy an Important Page From Toyota's Off-Road Playbook

Could a new rival for TRD be en route?

honda passport
Honda

Off-roading and overlanding is the hottest trend in the automotive industry. Body-on-frame stalwarts like the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner are selling like crazy, but the craze goes well beyond that; these days, just about every new crossover or station wagon now positions itself as a body-cladded, active lifestyle adventure vehicle. (Even Subaru, selling a car called "the Outback," has felt obligated to up the ante with a "Wilderness" sub-brand.)

Now, Honda looks poised to get in on the off-roading act as well.

honda trailsport
USPTO

Last year, Honda filed a trademark application for "Trailsport" for use in vehicle applications. And a Civic11forum.com member, as spotted by The Torque Report, just uncovered that Honda has followed that up with a trademark filing for a Trailsport logo — suggesting they intend to use it soon.

Trailsport, presumably, would likely follow the route of Toyota's "TRD" trims, sexing up crossovers and crossover-trucks like the Passport, Pilot and Ridgeline with appearance and equipment upgrades. (We won't lie, we'd also be interested in testing out a beefed-up Honda CR-V.)

It'll be interesting to see how the Trailsport branding shakes out for Honda. Subaru's brand identity is trail cred, so "Wilderness" is a no-brainer. TRD works for Toyota because there are badass TRD Pro and Off-Road trims for the brand's impressive array of body-on-frame off-roaders, which lends it credibility when you slap the name on a RAV4 crossover.

Honda, on the other hand, has no real off-roading heritage to underpin a Trailsport model. Honda's hallmark in the crossover segment is how refined its cars perform on road, and that's the major reason someone would buy, say, a Ridgeline versus one of the more traditional off-road capable pickups. That said, the major drawback for Honda in those segments is that the cars don't really look cool...which seems like the exact thing a Trailsport trim would help rectify.

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