Ask Nathan: Honda Trailsport 4X4, Car Wash and Cheap Pickup – Slice My Crossover?

This is the Honda BR-V concept, but recently, Honda filed an application to trademark the name Trailsport in the U.S… are they connected? (Image: Honda) 

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • What is the Honda Trailsport?  
  • Are automated car washes bad? 
  • Slicing up my crossover to build a cheap pickup truck? 
Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept for 2018 SEMA Show – It’s based on a Honda Ridgeline. It was SO popular, rumor has it that the suits at Honda seriously considered a limited run. Could this be the idea behind the Trailsport name? 

The first question comes from a fan who caught wind of the Honda Trailsport name being trademarked. 

Q:  Hi Roman and Nathan! Can you answer a Honda question for me? 

I am a huge Honda fan and I caught wind of a new name they will be using called “TRAILSPORT.” It’s not a side by side or a motorcycle either. It’s supposed to be a car or something. 

Do you have any information on that car or truck? Oh, before I forget I wanted to thank you and Tommy on great videos with the Honda CR-V hybrid. My mom is buying one and I will be getting her 2008 CR-V which will replace my 2000 CR-V. Isn’t that cool?

We drive nothing but Hondas here and we’ve been buying Hondas from the same dealership in Simi Valley (First Honda Simi Valley, CA) since I was a baby (over 25 years). Dad bought a Ridgeline here a few years back. 

Anyway I would appericate it if you could tell me your thoughts on the Honda TRAILSPORT. 



A: Hi Federico! 

Thanks for the nice email, truly appreciate it.

Recently, Carbuzz reported that (Honda) just filed an application to trademark the name Trailsport in the U.S. as it relates to “[a]utomobiles and automobile structural parts.” That means, you’re right, it’s not an ATV or motorcycle. In some way, it will pertain to automobiles. 

There are three things that could come of this new name: 

“Trailsport” across the line?

Honda is usually pragmatic about the U.S. market. If they have a plan to use this name, it could cover all of their crossovers. That may include the Ridgeline. The Trailsport badge could be a rugged trim upgrade or even a comprehensive upgrade in tire, suspension and underpinnings for better off-road ability.  

2019 Honda Passport

Honda Passport Trailsport Edition? 

Right now, the Honda Passport is the automaker’s most capable off-road-ish crossover. It’s not Jeep Trailhawk, but it can handle rough trails, deep snow and a few medium off-road obstacles. This platform could benefit from more appropriate wheels, tires, underpinnings and more. It’s possible that Honda knows that. 

Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept 

The all-new Honda Trailsport? 

The most radical (and less likely) scenario is an all new vehicle using the Trailsport name. That could hint to something radical and seriously off-road capable coming from Honda. They have a TON of ATV off-road experience, so why not combine that experience with a daily driver? 

Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept

They once did. 

MANY journalists and fans would love to see something like the Honda Rugged Open Air vehicle concept (pictured above) become reality. Think of it as a Honda Ridgeline crossed with a Honda side-by-side. It was epic! I even swore to give Honda a proper $1,000 deposit for one. 

Honda people are nice, they just smiled without commenting how simple and unrealistic I am. 

The point is: building a ground-up/all-new vehicle that this name works with seems pretty unlikely. Still, you never know. We know that Honda is knocking their North American sales of some small vehicles (like the Fit) and they look ready to bring more crossovers here. 

We should know a lot more very soon! 

— N

The next question comes from a reader who wants to know if the car wash is a dangerous place for your vehicle. 

Image: Pops Auto Electric and AC

Q: (Via: NathanAdlen@Twitter) Love reading Ask Nathan!

Dad had a bad experience at a car wash and told me never to use them. Do you agree?  


This was once part of a famous hand-wash car wash in Los Angeles, CA. Image: Samson Auto Salvage

A: Thanks for the question

There are several different types of car washes out there. Right here in Colorado, automated water presser only machines seem to dominate.We need them, our four seasons are brutal on paint. Those spray-only automated systems are pretty good for most. I find they sometimes leave a residue, miss detailed areas and can miss caked-in dirt. 

The other automated ones have some form of spinning and/or slapping scrubber that can be more effective – in some cases. The only machine I ever had bad experiences with were the older automated ones with the spinning scrubbers. I once lost a mirror and had some trim removed. 

If you want to be as safe and details as possible, you have two choices: a hand-wash car wash, or a do it yourself cleaning bay.

The hand-wash car wash is the most expensive, but you can get an excellent cleaning by several hands that know where to look for the dirt. Plus, they will keep an eye on the delicate parts. It IS the most expensive option, especially because you need to tip the main cleaner. I find $5 to be a minimum time for a satisfactory job. 

My was is almost always using a coin-operated cleaning bay. If I do it myself, I know the job was done right. Now, this type of cleaning requires a little bit of effort, and not everyone is pleased when they accidentally spray themselves with water and soap. Not a good feeling if you’re dressed for work or a special occasion. Still, using this method is great for many and it’s the one that I recommend people use the most.  

On a final note: I once loved cleaning my car in my driveway. It’s sort of an American pastime. Unfortunately, many neighborhoods frown on this practice. Many say that it can be environmentally hazardous and a waste of water. The cleaning chemicals are (usually) disposed of properly at pay car washes. 

— N

The last question is from a fan who wants to convert his crossover into a pickup truck. 

Q (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter): Saw a neighbor chopped his old XJ. Thought about the same thing with my 

Can’t afford any small pickup. We got an old Ford Escape that looks terrible, but runs good. Do you think I could do the same thing as the JK chop? Make my own pickup? 



A: Sorry to say – it’s a terrible idea. 

Please be careful if you insist on doing this. Without a proper structure, your vehicle can become remarkably dangerous. The amount of flex, bend and crumple components were never meant to support a vehicle without its roof. 

Some folks get the XJ chop done right and use strengthening components in the right spots to maintain integrity. The XJ already has a fully integrated body-and-frame combo for under-body strength. Most crossovers don’t.

Removing the roof, pillars and other components could compromise the structure to the point of collapse. Not to mention what it will do to your suspension, safety equipment, ride and balance. You could literately fall apart driving down the road. 

Honestly, I do not recommend it. Not only can it be dangerous for you, a vehicle snapping in half on the road can have consequences for anyone who’s nearby as well. 

Please be safe. 

— N

Speaking of crossovers…