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Good Things Come in Small(er) Packages – Honda Passport/Dodge Durango

These midsize SUVs have full-size features.

The Passport melds style and adventure. (Photo: © Honda)

In terms of size, the all-new Honda Passport falls between the smaller CR-V and larger Pilot. With room for five and a 280-horsepower V-6 engine, the Passport hits the mark for motorists looking for a combination of off-road adventure and highway cruising.

The Passport rides well and handles even better. Strong engine performance should be able to easily conquer off-road travel. It features settings for specific terrain, which provides drama-free travel in snow, mud and sand. With its steep approach, departure angle and increased ground clearance, the Passport is the most capable off-road vehicle from Honda to date.

Fuel economy is good; I averaged 25 mpg according to the onboard computer system. The brakes are firm and powerful, but the automatic emergency braking system seems overly sensitive. The other systems – blind-spot warning, smart cruise control, backup warning and camera – worked as expected.

The seating is comfortable, supportive and roomy, and the instrument panel is easy to use.

The Passport offers stylish good looks, plenty of room and the ability to go just about anywhere, making it a great choice for a midsize SUV.

Base Price: $31,990

MPG: 19 city, 26 highway

Crash Test: 5 stars

The Durango is roomy and powerful. (Photo: © FCA US LLC.)

The Dodge Durango three-row SUV packs full-size features and capabilities into a midsize model.

The ride is a bit firm but never harsh, with impressive handling. The Durango feels like a larger vehicle, especially when parking. Engine performance is outstanding, but my fuel economy only averaged 15 mpg.

It comes in five trim levels, rear- or all-wheel drive, and a choice a V-6 or two V-8 engines. The interior is more spacious than other three-row SUVs in this class. Entry and exit are easy with wide-opening front and rear doors. The middle row has comfortable bucket-style seats, with a third-row bench in the rear. Visibility is good throughout with a limited number of blind spots. A full suite of safety equipment is available, including semiautonomous features such as automatic emergency braking.

Even with all three seating rows in use, the cargo area is sizeable; with the second and third rows folded it provides 85 cubic feet of space.

It should be at the top of the list for anyone looking for a thoughtfully designed three-row SUV.

Base Price: $31,195

MPG: 13 city, 19 highway

Crash Test: N/A

Looking for a new car ride? Find more car reviews online. AAA.com/TestDrive

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