Automakers have launched similar trims in recent times such as Ford Explorer Timberline and Hyundai Santa Fe XRT
As consumer preferences shift to SUVs, there has been an influx of new products in this space. Another strategy being widely used is introducing off-road versions of existing cars. This works out much cheaper for carmakers in terms of design and development cost. Changes on these new trims could include visual enhancements as well as a range of functional updates. Working on the same strategy, Honda has unveiled its TrailSport sub-brand.
Honda TrailSport key features
While there’s no official confirmation, it is expected that Passport crossover and Ridgeline pickup truck will be among the first Honda cars to get TrailSport trim. Later, other products such as CR-V and Pilot could also get TrailSport treatment.
According to the company, the first set of TrailSport vehicles will get muscular front and rear fascia. Thick body cladding will also be part of the package. On the inside, changes will include features like contrast orange stitching. The off-road character will be further enhanced with the use of all-weather floor mats.
Next set of TrailSport trims will be launched in 2022 and beyond. These will be even better, as they will have a range of functional updates. For example, the chosen vehicle could get larger and wider tyres as well as full-size spare tyre. The vehicle will also be equipped with underbody protection. Off-roading capabilities could be significantly enhanced with features such as increased ground clearance, specialized suspension, and powerful all-wheel drive system.
Rival off-road focused trims
While Honda’s ATVs and dirt bikes are popular for their off-roading capacities, its existing passenger vehicle portfolio largely lacks that prowess. Hopefully, TrailSport trims will change that status quo and help achieve better competencies against rival products.
One of the key rivals for Honda TrailSport will be Ford Explorer Timberline trim. Ford already has several other rugged profiled trims such as Tremor, Bronco, Raptor and Badlands. Timberline is the latest addition to the list.
Ford Explorer Timberline trim gets a refreshed grille, front and rear skid plates, twin tow hooks in red shade, and 18-inch wheels. Other updates include suspension lift of 0.8 inch, Torsen limited-slip rear differential and Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires. Ford Explorer Timberline is equipped with the SUV’s base engine, a 2.3 litre turbocharged unit that makes 300 hp and 420 Nm.
Another challenger for Honda TrailSport trim will be Hyundai Santa Fe XRT. As compared to Timberline, XRT trim focuses largely on visual enhancements. Some of the key features include skid plates, side steps, updated bumper and grille, and blacked-out 18-inch wheels. Roof-rails also get the blacked-out treatment. Apart from these, everything else is the same as that of standard Santa Fe. XRT trim gets the 2.5 litre naturally aspirated motor that churns out 191 hp and 245 Nm.