The passivity-based sliding mode control (SMC) problem for a class of uncertain neutral systems with unmeasured states is investigated. Firstly, a particular non-fragile state observer is designed to generate the estimations of the system states, based upon which a novel integral-type sliding surface function is established for the control process. Secondly, a new sufficient condition for robust asymptotic stability and passivity of the resultant sliding mode dynamics (SMDs) is obtained in terms of linear matrix inequalities (LMIs). Thirdly, the finite-time reachability of the predesigned sliding surface is ensured by resorting to a novel adaptive SMC law. Finally, the validity and superiority of the scheme are justified via several examples.