Honda does not have a body-on-frame off-roader to take on the Jeep Wrangler or the new Ford Bronco, but the Japanese automaker evidently is not ready to cede that market entirely to its rivals. As Carbuzz discovered, Honda recently applied to trademark the “Trailsport” nameplate, which suggests the brand will soon be getting its tires at least a little dirtier.
While we’d love to see Honda’s take on a dedicated off-roader, the new Trailsport nameplate is more likely to denote an upfitted version of an existing model or, potentially, another entry in the crossover space. Currently, the Honda Passport midsize SUV is the model for which Honda most aggressively touts its off-road capability. It’s possible they will want to build on that with a Passport Trailsport variant, although that naming sounds a little goofy to us.
Maybe a Ridgeline Trailsport is what’s in the offing. An offroad-optimized version of Honda’s impressive midsize pickup would be an obvious move. It also would help infuse the truck with some machismo, which never hurts in the pickup market. See Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison, or the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for examples.
Lastly, the new nameplate could be applied to a new vehicle. Honda would seem to have an entry is most every crossover/SUV segment, but can manufacturers ever really have enough of these things? Perhaps a more rugged companion model to the mall-crawling CR-V is in the works, in the same way as Ford’s Bronco Sport is to the Escape?
Whatever vehicle the Trailsport nameplate ends up affixed to, it should help Honda cash in on one of the most powerful trends in the automotive marketplace.