Is Honda trying to make its trucks and SUVs appear to be tougher? Maybe.
The Japanese automaker’s secured a new name: Trailsport. When compared to RAV4, Passport and Pilot, Trailsport seems almost vicious by comparison. The automaker registered the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and website Carbuzz tracked it down.
The application reads as follows: “The mark consists of a miscellaneous design set above the term TRAILSPORT with the letters ‘R’ and ‘S’ connected together all in a stylized font. This trademark registration is intended to cover the categories of land vehicles, namely, sport utility vehicles, automobiles, trucks, and structural parts for the foregoing.”
Getting a little tougher
There’s no clear indication if Honda intends to use it for new vehicle or, more likely, a special edition or trim package, such as the Honda Ridgeline Trailsport.
Regardless, the company’s been looking to add more capability to its trucks and utes, toughening up the look of aforementioned Ridgeline for the 2021 model year after the previous iteration was roundly criticized for its “soft” or non-traditional appearance.
In addition to the new look, it also got additional tweaks to keep the functionality the Ridgeline has touted both in terms of utility and performance, including the top standard payload capacity for a V6 all-wheel-drive truck.
The biggest change for 2021 is the truck’s overall exterior shape, which is altered by getting an entirely new front-end design. The new look is a bit more aggressive with a “power bulge” on the hood accented with a more squared-off front end and bigger, more upright grille. Most of its competitors have been upsizing the grilles on their trucks and looking for “tougher” monikers for their vehicles too.
Following a trend
Subaru just launched a new family of more rugged off-roaders with its new Wilderness edition offerings, starting
with the new 2022 Outback Wilderness. The automaker described the ’22 Subaru Outback Wilderness as “the most rugged and capable” version of the crossover in its history.
Once little more than a gussied-up station wagon, the new Wilderness model adds features designed to give it serious off-road credibility, starting with an increase in its ride height, upgrades to the suspension, revisions to its all-wheel-drive system and a standard front skid plate. The automaker will expand the line-up to include Forester and Crosstrek in the near future.
With competition like the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Gladiator Mojave and the Ford Bronco harkening back to a rougher, tougher time and the increasing desire of owners to take these vehicles that look like SUVs out to do SUV-like things, it’s no surprise that other automakers are hustling to bolster their crossovers and urban-friendly utes.
Don’t forget Nissan
Nissan did the same with its 2022 Pathfinder and Frontier entries with one executive proclaiming the Pathfinder has “returned to its rugged roots,” for the new model year. While the Pathfinder got a more muscular look and a few small upgrades to improve its off-cement capability, it was the Frontier that got a big boost.
The new Frontier adopts a more solid and upright appearance with a bolder, less derivative front end. All versions of the truck get enhanced ground clearance and enhanced approach and departure angles, with a prominent front skid plate.
For those who are serious about off-roading, there’s a new Pro-4X version featuring an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers and underbody skid plates. That could enhance Frontier’s appeal to those who might otherwise consider the Toyota Tacoma, for many the off-road benchmark of the segment. The Pro-4X is all-wheel drive but for those who want a 2WD model, the new Pro-X adds LED head, DRL and fog lights for a more rugged appearance.