Honda Has a New Off-Road Trim to Take on Subaru and Toyota

Honda's stable of SUVs is about to get a little bit cooler.

honda trailsport teaser image
Chris Tedesco

Buyers love off-road styling and capability, even on not particularly off-road-oriented vehicles. Toyota already spiced up the RAV4 with a TRD Off-Road version; Ford launched a Timberline trim to beef up its crossovers; Subaru has debuted new Wilderness trims for both the Outback and the Forester. Now, Honda just announced a new TrailSport designation, which it says will be the "rugged halo for Honda light trucks."

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What is Honda's TrailSport?

Honda says that at first, TrailSport will be mostly a styling package. TrailSport vehicles will get rugged front and rear styling, durable cladding and interior details like high-contrast orange stitching. Capability upgrades will follow later with features like more aggressive tires, enhanced ground clearance, off-road-tuned suspensions, skid plates and an expanded AWD capability. For now, it's not clear yet where TrailSport falls between trim and full-on Honda sub-brand.

What vehicles will get Honda's TrailSport trim?

Honda defines a light truck as basically anything that is not a Civic, an Accord or an Insight. So vehicles eligible for TrailSport should include SUVs like the CR-V, HR-V, Passport and Pilot, the Ridgeline pickup and even the Odyssey minivan.

Why is Honda creating a TrailSport trim?

Adventure-ready vehicles are trendy right now. Honda's core appeal is not rooted in coolness or capability; a buyer looking for that will buy a Jeep Wrangler. You buy a Honda truck or SUV because they handle well on the road (where you do most of your driving), they meet the practical needs you have — and they are exceptionally durable and reliable. But a slightly more rugged appearance does sweeten the deal. And the eventually enhanced capability could help the Ridgeline, competing directly with midsize trucks like the Toyota Tacoma.

When will Honda's TrailSport vehicles arrive?

Honda says that TrailSport vehicles will begin arriving at dealers in fall 2021.


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