By on April 13, 2010

Anonymous sources tell the always on-point pickuptrucks.com that Honda will not be replacing its Ridgeline pickup when its lifecycle ends after the 2011 model year. Honda is refusing comment on the Ridgeline’s future, but did tell AL.com that production will continue through 2011, and that “as of right now, we have no plans to discontinue Ridgeline.” But from a sales perspective, Honda might do well to let the unibody pickup die of natural causes. Though the unconventional Ridgeline came close its initial sales goals of about 50k units per year for the first three years of its life, by 2008 sales had dropped to 33,875. Last year the sales drop snowballed, with a 51 percent volume drop to 16,464 units. So yeah, we’ve been noticing that Honda seems less than completely enthused about its tentative attempt at the truck market. The end could well be near. Hilarious counterpoint to Howie Long’s video (above) available here.

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57 Comments on “Honda Ridgeline, RIP?...”


  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I give credit to Honda for trying something different. It didn’t work out so well, but it’s not as if Honda staked it’s whole future on the truck market.

    I don’t see why Honda can’t come out with a nice little BOF PU – about the size of what Mahindra plans to sell here. It would have to be considerably cheaper than the Ridgeline.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      I don’t see why Honda can’t come out with a nice little BOF PU

      Honda is married to about 3 or 4 platforms and they will not deviate from that. Not one iota. Especially now that the S2000 is gone, they will all be unibody FWD bias. I salute their strive for efficiency, but if I see Honda build a BOF-anything I will eat this delicious hat.

    • 0 avatar

      good riddens to the wannabe Avalanche.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Honda is not a large company in terms of R&D capacity: they’re better off trying to make a few cars really well than try to spread themselves too thin.

      And they do spread themselves too thin sometimes. **cough**Acura**cough**

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I disagree about Acura. Acura gets a bad rap IMO. Yes, sales are slow, and yes, the styling is controversial, but if I were in the market for a Japanese luxury car I’d take the equivalent Acura model over anything from Lexus or Infiniti anyday.

    • 0 avatar

      Care to explain why? I checked 2010 TSX v6 with Lexus IS and Lexus won by a mile. It fits the driver like a glove, and Acura is what a very luxurious Galant would be. And the bloat, OMG. Is that the smallest Acura we can buy anymore? My wife panned Acura’s ergonomics, too. Some people like the arrays of buttons like in airliner’s cockpit, but it’s not for us.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Pete –

      Can’t say I’ve driven a 2010 TSX, the last one I drove was the first or second model year after it was introduced, back then I loved it.

      As far as the buttons go, I like them. I’d rather have a big array of dedicated buttons than have to go through sub-menu after sub-menu with a rotary dial or whatever else to change a setting. The 10-digit pad that current Ford/Lincoln models have is a huge benefit for Sirius/XM, and is well worth the button real-estate, I’d hope all manufacturers would copy it. Yes, a lot of buttons make learning the controls by touch alone a little more daunting at first, but you learn with time.

      Also, styling-wise, while I liked previous Acuras a bit more than the current guillotine models, I still like those a lot more than the amorphous blobs Lexus puts out.

      As far as Infiniti goes, nothing they make that I have driven has interior quality worth a damn. The G-series looks like a Hyundai with that big faux-aluminum panel down the middle, and the other models with that oddly shaped kink/landing on the center console just doesn’t work for me.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Nothing wrong with the Ridgeline and the unibody design. It takes time for the buying public to get used to something new. Plus, it won’t hurt if Honda lower the price a bit to deliver value.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I agree. Fact is most of the BOF truck buyers don’t need them and criticize the Ridgeline mainly for looks and some stats on a piece of paper. They then go to Costco or Home Depot to get home supplies and groceries. A lot of contractors purchase a lot of v6 pickups which have about the same weight/tow limit the Ridgeline has. In fact, look at the droves of people who have abandoned BOF SUVs for crossovers (I remember the criticism of the unibody SUVs from those who were sure that an SUV had to be BOF). Look ahead to 2011 and the upcoming Ford Explorer (once king of BOF SUVs) switches from BOF to unibody.

      Now this is not to say the Ridgeline fell short of what we’d expect from a Honda. Poor gas mileage where it should have been a leader. Now EPA stickers have some fudge room for the MFGR and Honda typically states the lower average on theirs whereas many other MFGRs put on their highest average (meaning real world will be lower than advertised). Honda could have brought us over a v6 or turbo 4 diesel and this platform would have been the best one to put it in (then Honda lost its nerve and put all its eggs in the hybrid basket).

      We are not seeing what Honda did in this segment – b/c it changed all pickups for the better. Now it is no longer accepted for them to have piss poor turning radius (ride comfort, ease of parking / turning / crash safety / unique storage nooks and neat fold away seats). So the Ridgeline rides off into the sunset but it did make the other OEMs take notice that modern pickups need to be more versatile.

  • avatar
    srogers

    These might have been more attractive to the alternative pickup crowd if they exhibited better fuel efficiency. Honda used to be good at the efficiency thing.

  • avatar
    stationwagon

    The Ridgeline had a transversely mounted AWD drivetrain. it lacked a v8 and a 2wd drivetrain, that is one reason it failed, the other reason is the unibody design and independent suspension. I forgot where, but I read that an owner drove it on a washboard road and messed up the suspension. I don’t know what was the purpose of this truck, was it just to have an SUV that could haul a little and couldn’t not be used offroad? the Ridgeline was a product that aimed at a niche that was very small. plus the anti-japanese truck bias, although where I live I see most of the old trucks are american made (or a mazda b-series) and most of the new trucks are Toyotas.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The Ridgeline is the pick-up version of the Pontiac Asstek. A good idea with a poor execution. The Ridgeline is just as ugly as the Asstek, and has suuffered because of it.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      How many body-on-frame rear-wheel-drive leaf sprung pickup trucks does the world need? I’m sure that they chose not to go head to head with the domestic pickups.

      Maybe Honda could have sold enough of these to qualify as a successful niche vehicle if they had updated it once the sales started to drop off.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    That video was an embarrassment to both trucks. Attach a Subaru as the puller, and the Sierra would leap out of its stuckage.

    As for the Ridgeline, I like its looks, but it has no utility. Reviewers marvelled at its quiet ride and stiff chassis (no BOF, here).

    Honda made no pretense of competing with F, C, GM, T, or N on trucks, and their expectations have been fulfilled. Honda could do it, but they’d have to work harder than even Toyota or Nissan to be taken seriously.

  • avatar
    wulfgar

    Their expectations have been fulfilled? Really? No disrespect but that is one of the most humorous things I have heard all day. The Ridgeline is a perfectly fine vehicle from everyone I have talked to that has one. But it is a perfectly awful truck. The Honda fan-boys were all the early adopters and sales have tanked since. I really think that Honda should have made a better Suburau Baja. I think that would have been more their niche and sales would have been better than this pretend truck.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    I wish Honda would do something like the Subaru BRAT. I’d like a vehicle with the both the efficiency of a small FWD car AND a nicer ride than a truck, but with the ability to haul a small load of stuff like a loveseat or small table. Basically an el Camino but shrunk down to a realistic size.

    • 0 avatar

      Ever seen a Subaru Baja with the bed extender down? It’s what you described.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. If the Ridgeline had hit the market as a Ford Ranger-sized unibody small truck with somewhat better efficiency, it might have been a genuine hit. Instead Honda seemed to think that building an in-between-sized truck with less utility and equivocal fuel economy was the thing to do.

      Fail. Bonus points for effort and willingness to innovate, though. The full-size pickup market is an arena where there has been very little critical thinking over the years.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    The Ridgeline gets 15/20 mpg, and an F-150 with a V8 and 6AT gets 14/20. There’s no reason to get a Ridgeline.

  • avatar

    What was Honda Passport made of, anyone remembers? Was it just a rebadge or Izuzu or something?

  • avatar
    max425

    The Honda Element has a similar sales trajectory as the Ridgeline. Anyone know if there will be a 2011 ?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The Ridgeline was built for people who wanted a Honda Pilot that could carry a refrigerator/washing machine/barcalounger home once a year. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • 0 avatar
      poohbah

      And for 25K with no fuel economy advantage over a full size truck, there really was no point.

      Love to pick one up for cheap, though. I bet they will run for years.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Sounds like the same thinking that birthed the Envoy XUV…

    • 0 avatar
      Lug Nuts

      The Honda Ridgeline is the Pontiac Aztek of pickup trucks. Owners of body-on-frame pickup trucks can’t help but scratch their head thinking of all the ways it’s so horribly wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      jrlombard

      We’ve got an ’06 RTL. First Honda for us (so definitely not a fanboy). My wife drives it primarily, and she didn’t want something “that rode like a truck”. To that end, it works well. It’s about 30hp down on what I feel it should have, and the fuel economy is pretty piss poor for a V6 (V6 power, V8 mileage). I still say that it’s one of the ugliest vehicles on the road, but in several years of ownership it’s been rock solid mechanically. Only scheduled maintenance thus far.

      We got ours because we haul things all the time (several times per week)—just not very big things. Didn’t want or need a full-size truck. As far as utility goes, with the forethought that Honda put into a lot of the storage spaces, it actually holds a fairly impressive amount of stuff. The trunk under the bed is a very efficient use of space and the seats fold up on themselves lending an extremely large pass-through in the backseat area. No complaints here, but then I don’t haul 4′x6′sheets of plywood or sheetrock on a regular basis (ok, ever).

      I’m not blind to it’s shortcomings and I’m not terribly surprised that Honda is killing it next year (it is a niche vehicle). That said, it’s taken years of kids, dogs, bikes and abuse without a single day out of service. That defines it as a great vehicle in my book.

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    There are so many vexing ideas about the Ridgeline.

    1. The Pickup market is basically worshipping the Fullsize pickup, (F-150, Slverado twins, Toyota’s Tundra Failure, the RAM (not DODGE) crap),and Nissan.. just cant make it work.

    2. The compact market is just not there. Ranger is too small and or completely out of date. Canyon / Colorado is ancient no competitive, Taco.. well lets not, Dakota is on same frame as RAM… moots the whole point of a compact truck.

    3. The Ridgline came out of the gate.. all wrong.
    http://jalopnik.com/5221277/geely-et925-experimental-truck-a-more-attractive-honda-ridgeline

    That is HOW it should have looked.. when it debuted. Not this mess thats out now, for once.. GEELY makes a better looker than the originator.

    4. Its a fine vehicle, but Honda tries constantly to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. They put out 2 vehicles.. to fight 3. The Ridge just isn’t cutting it.. could be a main cause.

    5. Its price point also isn’t worth it. 31-33g for the Ridgeline RTL. Yes Honda saves money by sharing the engine development with all vehicles using the 3.7ltr, the suspension with the Pilot / Ody, so its not stretching itself too thinly…

    Its just the concept.. isn’t correct.

    And…
    There isnt a reason for the Avalanche.
    Not when ya can buy a Silverado / Sierra for in the low 20s.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    I’m no big truck fan, but would have been interested in seeing Gen II of the Ridgeline. The major issue here is the “moderate duty/personal use/large truck” has pretty much evaporated due to the bad economy and volatile fuel costs.

    It’s unfortunate Honda couldn’t get the weight down a bit, keep the same performance/payload, and get fuel economy up…that might sell somewhat in today’s market. As it is, this Ridgeline offered some interesting features, but hardly any fuel economy benefit over a traditional light duty pick-up.

    Then again, if 86′ing the Ridgeline frees up funds to get some honest-to-God sports car Hondas back on the market…good riddance! (I’m kinda doubtful though, they seem committed to green over fun, a major disappointment)

  • avatar
    postjosh

    i seriously don’t understand how either the ridgeline or the gmc could get stuck in that light dusting of snow in the second video. what the hell do they use for tires in texas?

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      Funny you say that,

      I checked it out also.. and just was repulsed by the lack of driving ability.

      The Silverado (with GMC badges) has a locking DIFF with about a 5.7ltr 8cycl.
      No reason why the Silverado even needs the Ridgeline.. its not like it has 4wd OR EITHER HAS SNOW TIRES.. for the dusting they clearly received.

      Ridgeline is 3/4 the size.. with a 3.7ltr 6. Ridge is clearly the loser in limited design and utility. Its trying to do too much with what little it has.

      As far as the Crosstour..
      It boggled my mind how you can so totally fuck up the concept of a WAGON for the US Accord. They even lied about the concept that was running around VIRTUALLY UNDISGUISED for months…

      To release this gutless pos.
      Only Accord dervative.. not able to use a 4.

      Pathetic.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I hope that it takes its little dog, the Crosstour, with it when it goes.

  • avatar
    lucaselectric

    The Honda Ridgeline was a horrible idea, and signified Honda’s beginning to stray from the path of good, efficient and profitable ideas.

  • avatar
    detlump

    As a Ridge owner, I have to say I am pleased with it. I would like better MPG, but I can live with it. Yes, an F150 is 20K, but not a crew cab model, even 2wd. I have noticed that used Ridges seem to be selling for a pretty high level, taking advantage of Honda resale value – there are thousands of Big 2.5 trucks out there. Since it uses the same engine as the Pilot and Odyssey, the MPG is about the same. I like the smaller size – ever price it compared to a Dakota? Those get expensive. I’ve also had no problems in 3 years of ownership. I would have liked a diesel version though.

  • avatar
    obbop

    To maximize living space the truck/home or van/home needs a long version.

    The Silverado’s 8-foot-plus bed allows a much more comfortable living space than a short bed or a small/short bed as found with that Honda faux truck.

    The ability to carry plenty of weight also allows the proficient to build a housing unit within and/or atop the truck bed.

    Kinda hard to beat a Ram/Ford/GMC for basic truck housing units.

    Long-term repair costs are surely lower also and parts availability from yards de la wrecking assist in long-term ownership along with the availability of repair facilities across the USA.

    When one considers a conveyance as a possible future abode one does tend to view that conveyance in a different light than those whose believed security within a class war-torn culture/country.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    The Ridgeline is pretty popular here in the mountains in East TN/Western NC. I never really looked too seriously at them, I have a pickup that’s 11 years old now that I think will have to go another 4 or 5, but I liked the idea of some variety out there in the truck market for when I will be looking for a new used truck in a few years.

  • avatar
    drifter

    VW would love to sell as of their mid-size SUV (what ever it is being called) as Honda sells Ridgeline. Don’t see RIP of that yet Mr. Edward Niedermeyer?

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    The problem with the Ridgeline is that it’s an answer to a question that no one asked. After Honda’s first iteration of the mini-van crashed, Honda executives spent a considerable amount of time watching how Americans used their minivans and using that insight produced a vehicle (the second-gen Odyssey) that totally dominated its class.
    Did Honda apply that same research to the Ridgeline? Apparently not, as features such as a transversely mounted engine, unitized body and fully independent suspension are found nowhere in traditional truck design. Those features are quite applicable to automobiles, but have no appeal to traditional truck buyers, who I think looked upon those features with more than a little disdain and distrust. Honda ended up with a rather specialized truck that appealed to Honda owners only and no one else.

  • avatar
    ToyotaRunAway

    This vehicle really does represent the watershed moment where Honda lost its efficient, purpose-built, engineering-rich, totally logical and customer satisfying ways.

    Tragic, really.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Props to Honda for knowing their limits as a brand. Toyota went goose-stepping into big-truck territory like the Nazi’s into Russia, and promptly got their asses handed to them. Honda tried a more clever niche approach and it still didn’t work for them. Don’t waste your resources fighting the F-150. Keep investing in the core products.

  • avatar

    It is too ugly to live on and no amount of surgery can change that.

  • avatar
    Syke

    At the Honda (motorcycle) shop where I used to work, a couple of the employees bought them back when they first came out. The truck is perfect for carrying one or two Honda motocross bikes (with the tailgate down). In fact, they fit so well that you just know somebody in car R&D requisitioned the bikes from the motorcycle side as they were finalizing the design.

    However, the truck is absolutely useless for carrying anything Honda makes that is street legal – other than their under 250cc scooters.

    At work, we called them ‘Brokeback pickups’. As in, you’ve got to be gay to consider this a pickup truck.

  • avatar
    AJ

    The Ridgeline has been for guys that wanted a pickup bed but didn’t want to be considered a guy that drove a pickup, like a metrosexual.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Have you ever seen what premier Hondas look like? They are compromises of various designs. The Ridgeline is no different in this respect that the first generation Prelude, Odyssey, and Accord.

    Every new Honda launch is a mismash. They do what they can to offer something different from the pack, yet lowest cost to produce.

    The Ridgeline was the first Honda Pick-up thingy. Had the market held for pick-ups and not have tanked over the past two years, Honda would have offered a much more refined and marketable Ridgeline. That is what Honda does. What seems apparent to us regarding pick-ups, wasn’t so apparent to car companies like Honda and Ford, which both saw market changes and thought that by offering the Ridgeline and the Four Trak, they would be hitting a new niche evolving from traditional pick ups. Look – Honda has done this successfully before, right? They saw the market changing, and tried to pick up on the direction the market was changing into. No one foresaw the carmaggedon of 2008 and 2009, let along the carmaggedon this year.

    We already reviewed the first generation Accord and Prelude on TTAC. In both cases, we pointed out how these cars tried to straddle many differing markets, use existing Honda parts to produce them, and how their second generations went out and killed the competition by listening to the responses of their first efforts, and then delivering it the second time around.

    The Ridgeline was no different. It is being killed, (if it is being killed), due to market changes, not because of the inability of the Ridgeline to meet it’s competition.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s an interesting take on Honda’s design philosophy.

      Contrary to some of the above posters, I’ve never been one to define myself by what I drive. I routinely blew kisses to the morons that yelled, “Fag!” when they saw me driving a New Beetle. I don’t think they expected that response. Ridgeline sales reflect that for a variety of reasons, it isn’t the right choice for enough people. Reading more into it than that says more about the commenters than the vehicle.

  • avatar
    7th Frog

    I like the idea of the ridgeline, however it needs to be a bout the size of a crv or element with a fule efficient 4 banger. Then I think they would have had a hit.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    So many good posts. I agree with most: especially the poor fuel efficiency, and lack of bed length and capacity. I’d like to add one more.

    I never understood why there was no extended cab version with a longer box. They know how to make double doors as on the Element, and most compact trucks I see are regular cab 2WD, or extended cab 4WD. It seems to me an extended cab and longer box would have opened the truck to a wider audience.

    Nissan is sharing the Frontier with Suzuki, I’m sure they’d be open to Honda too (if they ask politely).

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    I made a comment above… might interest you…

    Now.
    The doors on the Element aren’t double doors. They hinge on a B pillar, integrated into the rear doors, just like the Saturn Ion 3dr (which only had the concept on the driver’s side) I’d love to know what asshole thought that safety violator up. I’d also love to see how it did in side impacts and roof safety.

    I think its a tragic / bullshit / cheap shit concept.. to use the pillar as a part of the door. It locks in down below, but I don’t believe its as strong as if it had its own pillar to attach to.

    So no, the Element doesn’t have double doors.
    Different concept entirely.

    Its quite possible to take the Ody, hack out the rear qtr, pull the rear end out another 2′ and you’d have a decent vehicle, in theory of course.

    Again..
    Honda builds their vehicles to take on more than 1 size class of vehicle. This isn’t news.

  • avatar
    pja3668

    Ok, I had to register to post a comment. I didn’t read all the comments but most were beating the Ridgeline up pretty bad. I have owned 3 late model brand new Dodge Rams, a 1996, 2000, and 2002. All were great trucks but I’d take my 2006 Ridgeline over any of them any day! I’ve owned a couple Chevys, a Nissan and a Ford too and I’d still take my Ridgeline any day. I think I’ve given almost every truck manufacturer a chance and I’d still come back to my Honda. Toyotas are too damned over priced. Once you start adding options to Toyotas the prices sky rocket. I should mention I bought my Ridgeline used. I considered Toyota, but I still got a better equipped used Honda for less then a used Toyota.


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