By on December 11, 2013

2014 Honda Ridgeline

Though Honda’s foray into Truck Mountain was met with slow sales, the automaker is standing behind the Ridgeline with plans for a second generation to make its ascent in two years’ time.

The new Ridgeline will be completely redeveloped from the wheels up in the United States, and is set to be assembled in Honda’s Lincoln, Ala. plant where the current generation is, until June 2014, still being screwed together. The automaker has given no word thus far on what all will go into the new truck — including whether or not it will continue to share its underpinnings with the Odyssey minivan — though they do believe that the second generation will fare better bolstered by growth in the small/medium truck sector over the next few years, due mainly to economic growth, lower gas prices, and more disposable income.

As for the outgoing generation, 16,160 units left the lot through November 2013, an increase of 29 percent over last year’s sales. Total sales since the Ridgeline’s debut in 2005 comes to 242,049 to date, with a special edition for the 2014 model year recently making the rounds in many a Honda showroom.

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60 Comments on “Honda Ridgeline to Receive a Second Coming...”


  • avatar
    Halftruth

    People who own these trucks, love them. I wouldn’t mind an extended cab version of this truck. Honda feels there is value in making them, despite the low sales. All the power to them, I say.

  • avatar
    Aaron2013

    The Ridgeline is enough truck for many people. Some friends have them and they are nice to ride in. It isn’t very powerful and doesn’t have a big payload, but It has a car-Iike ride and comfortable, Pilot-like cabin with good rear seat legroom. Sort of like the capacity of a small pickup from a few years ago mated to a large car cabin. For hauling people, Home Depot purchases, camping gear, etc. it’s just right. Unfortunately, the current Ridgeline is really, really ugly. Honda needs to fix their styling!

  • avatar
    BigOlds

    I don’t think I have ever seen a Ridgeline carrying a load.

    Just saying.

    As someone who considers himself a fairly accomplished DIY type, I need the following from a truck:
    -Able to carry a 4×8 sheet. I don’t mind if I have to leave the tailgate down (i.e., 6.5 foot bed) but without 50″ between the rails its a no-go. Above the wheel wells is OK
    -Able to be loaded with a bucket. Skid loaders are the workhorses of the stone & mulch yards, and if the bed isn’t long enough to accommodate bucket loading it’s a no-go. You don’t want half of what you paid for spilling out.
    -Transfer case w/4WD low.

    I’m not sure whether or not the Ridgeline can handle all these tasks, but to me, without those, it’s an SUV. It might be a wonderful SUV, but it ain’t a pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I agree. And, may I add, a front-wheel drive SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi EquipmentJunkie – - –

        FWD?
        No Manual transmission?
        Unibody (no BOF)?
        Underpowered engine?
        No low-range 4WD option?

        Ridgeline? Yeah. Right. Forget it.

        Give me a good ole ‘Murican _____ (you choose: Ford, Chevy, Ram) any day.
        (Yes, you could add a Tundra or Titan too: at least they’re American-made good trucks.)

        ————–

    • 0 avatar
      Short Bus

      “I don’t think I have ever seen a Ridgeline carrying a load.”

      Yeah, but I think the overwhelming majority of Americans with trucks use them as large family cars with the option to move large/heavy items should they need to. Which is a perfectly valid reason to be a truck owner.

      For me, I need a truck so infrequently that I’m better off just renting a Ford F-150 from U-Haul the couple of times a year I need it. The cost to care for and feed a full size pickup is significantly greater than the $50-$60 with mileage and fuel donated to the rental company.

      • 0 avatar
        BigOlds

        No doubt- my truck gets well used, but still hauls air most of the time. But I see plenty of “traditional” pickups from Rangers to Tundras carrying loads and towing stuff, even if most of them at any given time are not. My point was that (and I readily admit this is an impression, not a provable fact) the people who use their trucks as trucks, even part time, generally steer towards the traditional.

        And 4WD-Lo isn’t used very often, but when I need to persuade a heavy object to move it can be quite useful. DIY includes the yard as well as the house.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      I don’t think I have ever seen a Ridgeline towing a boat, RV or snowmobile trailer. I know it can as my buddy uses his Pilot to tow an 18′ boat and that’s mostly what it is. I applaud Honda for building someting different verus offering a “me too” PU truck. And they built some nice features into it. The thing that would ever keep me from buying one is that the bed is just too small. Make it at least the size of what my extra-cab compact Toyota had and I think it would be a lot more appealing. I like the styling, other the the front end, although I think the latest model looks pretty good.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Does the T-case and 4WD low play into the DIY aspect, or is that for another application?

    • 0 avatar

      I saw an old couple towing a small trailer with a Ridgeline before. Had to do a double-take.

      The Ridgeline is a fascinating vehicle to me because its perceived shortcomings are sort of a mirror on the person who sees them and what they think a truck should be. For instance, you say a truck should have 4WD with a low range; I’d argue that a truck doesn’t need 4WD at all. Me, I think it’s silly because, like the Explorer Sport Trac, it has four-doors and a tiny bed (obviously, the market disagrees strongly with me on the value of four-door trucks with small beds). Some people think a truck needs a Big Three badge on the front. When you gaze into the Ridgeline, the Ridgeline gazes also into you.

      Still, I think it’s probably enough truck for most people, but then, I think a Hyundai Santa Fe is probably enough truck for most people. Much like people want the BMW when they probably aren’t pushing the limits of a front-driver, people want the truck that does more even if they aren’t going to use it; I think the Ridgeline suffers from a lack of credibility more than capability (though it suffers from that too).

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Maybe but 99.5% of standard pickups carry one load – the owners fat butt.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The Ridgeline can hold that 4X8 piece of plywood flat, with the tailgate closed. It has a ladder frame below the unibody to give it the strength of a full frame. It doesn’t have a low range transfer case, but the AWD system can be locked. I guy I new who did engineering at ford said they took this out when they were doing testing on the towing of 2500 series trucks and said he was impressed at how well it performed. He said it was like the little engine that could. It just kept on chugging. He said they had many failures in the 2500 Ram. Saying it just did not handle the stresses well. They had some sort of extreme route from California to New Mexico through the mountains and desert. (This was a few years ago, so no word on the current model Ram.)

      • 0 avatar
        BigOlds

        I must say I am shocked to learn that the Ridgeline can take a 4×8 sheet flat. I park near one at the office, and I never would have guessed it was that wide in the bed.

        recognize that 4wd is not necessary for a substantial portion of a pickup’s duties, so I guess I would revise my statement to say that 4wd w/low gear must be available. As I mentioned, I don’t use it often but when I do, I am very glad for it.

        And I want to be clear that I wasn’t saying the Ridgeline is a bad vehicle, just that I don’t think it belongs in the category of pickup.

        To go way off topic, you can count me in the camp of people wishing we had a proper, compact PU available. I felt that I use one often enough to warrant buying one, but I would be happy with something Ranger sized that provided a genuine financial advantage (purchase price, efficiency, etc). But when I bought mine, the savings all around on something like a Ranger just didn’t seem worth it.

        I don’t tow much, but I put some pretty heavy loads in the bed, including full yards of stone dust, pallets of stone, etc. I’d really like to see a compact PU optimized for load.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Will their new “truck” also be an open-topped Pilot? Will it be a rebadged Titan? Who knows and most truck buyers don’t care because the Ridgeline just isn’t on their radar.

    A friend of mine is a loyal Honda lemmin…er, disciple. He bought a Ridgeline to tow his camper since he got a screaming deal on one of their many leftovers. It quietly disappeared within a year.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I worked at a RV dealer right of college for a a shortish time. Once in awhile you’d see somebody come through with a trailer hooked behind one of these. The damn thing would squat so bad in the rear, and being IRS, the rear wheels would have some crazy camber on them.

    These definitely aren’t real trucks by any means, but then again, so many people really don’t need a truck in the first place. My little Liberty will out “truck” these thing all day long. Bigger tow rating, has a 2spd transfer case, solid rear axle, and if I need a bed it takes all of 1 minute to throw the utility trailer on the back.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    A family member of mine is a die-hard Chevy guy and a full-time poseur suburban cowboy. Anytime you mention Japanese trucks he goes into a blind rage. “The Japanese don’t know how to build a truck!!!”

    Anyone know what he might mean by that? I never had the courage to ask him, for fear of getting my head ripped off.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      After driving an Isuzu NPR for thousands of miles in the ’90s, I’d agree. The brawn just was not there compared to your typical NA truck. The cab was tinny, drafty and noisy. The shift linkage was horrible. Seats were unsupportive. The engine, while trouble-free was enemic and not very efficient. We ran away from it as soon as we could.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I’m nowhere near being a truck guy, but remind your relative that the current Tundra was designed and engineered in the States, and is built in San Antonio, Texas(which is dangerously close to America).

      Seriously, if he still plays the suburban cowboy role, he probably still insists there’s a difference between a GMC and a Chevrolet truck. Not much you can do, he’s family.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      LeMansteve – -

      I think your “blind rage” family member needs an education. The Tundra and Titan are American designed and made here. No, they don’t “sport” the ultimate massive hauling and towing capabilities of a Ram Cummins Diesel 3500 (or whatever – you choose), but they are VERY good, medium-capability, reliable trucks. After all, which is more “American”: my 1996 Dodge Ram made in Mexico, or my 2010 Nissan frontier made in Smyrna, TN?

      ————–

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      LeMansteve, I think what he means is the Japanese don’t appreciate the work truck roots of the American full size pickup truck. A work truck need to be able to haul building materials that come in 4ft by 8 ft sheets and it needs to have adequate tie downs to keep the load from coming out of the bed. A work truck also needs to be overbuilt to handle abuse from drivers who may not be the owner of the truck. That said, I think a fair person would say that Toyota and Nissan are capable of making tough, reasonably competitive work trucks. In contrast, the Honda Ridgeline is a car-based crossover with some capability to haul messy gardening supplies.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    After driving an Isuzu NPR for thousands of miles in the ’90s, I’d agree. The brawn just was not there compared to your typical NA truck. The cab was tinny, drafty and noisy. The shift linkage was horrible. Seats were unsupportive. The engine, while trouble-free was enemic and not very efficient. We ran away from it as soon as we could.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I own a 2007 and I have nothing bad to say about it but for the gas consumption. It does everything I asked it to do and it has been very reliable in my 75k miles. I am a garage kind of a guy. If a vehicle doesn’t fit in my garage I will not consider buying it. The Ridgeline fits just fine in my garage.
    The Ridgeline does seems a little maintenance intensive compared to a regular FWD Honda. The rear differential fluid (VTM) needs to be changed first at 7500 miles, then after 15,000 miles and the third change is every 30,000 miles or so. The transfer case fluid change also is every 15,000 miles or so. Coming from a FWD CRV, I thought it was kind of crazy. It has been an exccelent snow vehicle being a FWD based AWD. I never had to put 200 lbs of sand in the back to keep the back end from swinging out on me ( like my friend’s 4×4 Tacoma). I don’t go boulder hopping, I don’t tow anything. I used it many times to haul stuff, but nothing more than 6-700 lbs. It handled that load with no problems and no the rear wheels didn’t fall off. It rides like a bigger Honda Accord with a bigger turning radius.
    It is a pain to back-in park ( no camera, or back-up sensors on mine) but back-in parking is illegal in a lot of jurisdictions. Yes, it is not a good looking vehicle, or a manly truck. Frankly, I stopped thinking about that kind of stuff when I finished highschool.
    If they bring a more fuel efficient Ridgeline I will not hesitate to buy antoher. If not, Colorado diesel for me.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’s not the Ridgeline’s existence that I dislike—a midsized unibody pickup is a fine concept—so much as the fact that it has gone unchanged for most of that time and is hopelessly out-of-date, possibly the oldest and most dated model in Honda’s NA portfolio. A new one, with better styling and more-modern interfaces, could be a great thing.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    Talked to a guy on the lot the other day who was driving one of these. He told me “Subarus are little shi##y bitch cars” and I let my wiseass side come out, I said, perfect for you then, since you currently drive a wannabe bitch truck (his even had a cap on it). He did not buy a Subaru from me-not that he would have anyway.

    Not that the Ridgeline is not an ok vehicle. A friend of mine and his wife both own one and love them. For me, it is not enough of a truck, not enough of a SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      The problem with the Ridgeline is that it does not allow you to beat your chest and scream how macho you are. Of course, if you need a big truck to proclaim your macho, you probably don’t have any.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I think I stopped knowing what “out of date” meant when people started referring to me that way. DIL has a ridgeline and has stayed happy. I have driven mostly japanese trucks in the service industry (AC) and they are hard to kill so don’t understand most of the comments so far. I know they won’t carry a ton. My response was to get a trailer and enjoy economy in the high 20′s when traveling solo.

    This truck would fill my current (retired) needs and probably would have when I was still working everyday. YMMV

  • avatar
    Dan

    The biggest thing wrong with the Ridgeline, 9 years ago and now, is its compromised powertrain. A car motor in a much heavier truck with the aerodynamics of a garden shed worked and works about as well as you’d expect it to.

    Honda still doesn’t have a remotely suitable truck engine and 30 or 40K units a year won’t pay to come up with one.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    It seems when Detroit builds a vehicle that does not sell as expected they soon replace it with another all new one that is not any better. I give Honda credit for keeping the line and improving it.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    The only time I saw a Ridgeline towing something was several years ago when I was returning from Litchfield, Illinois and saw a Ridgeline towing a horse trailer-a small streamlined horse trailer obviously designed for a single horse. I think most people who buy these vehicles use them primarily for transportation and only secondarily for hauling. They seems to have absolutely no appeal to traditional truck buyers, as I have yet to see a single one with truck nutz, confederate flag license plates, calvin decals or any of the obligatory redneck paraphernalia.

  • avatar
    ktm_525

    Currently driving a 2011 Ridge. It hauls the typical homeowner Harry stuff as well as a couple dirtbikes in the summer and loads of skis in the winter. For the last 20 years I have always had a truck in the quiver (Datsun 2WD, Toyota 4*4 V6, Ford F-150, Dodge Dakota ext cad, Dakota Quad Cab) The Ridgeline is easily the best truck of them all for my quasi urban/weekend warrior existence. It handles my family of 4 and all the stuff that it entails. During the week it rides like a big sedan and it is just high enough and trucky enough to handle the gravel and unimproved roads on the weekend. Nothing more and nothing less. The Ridgeline is far from perfect and they need to work on: engine torque+fuel economy (small diesel?) , adjustable steering column.

    Other than that I hope it does not grow in size as it does fit in the garage.

    I will have a look at the new one.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      ktm_525 – - –

      I certainly cannot deny your pleasant experience, and the type of need you have that is satisfied by the Ridgeline.

      But this is a niche vehicle, and many folks would just rather put their money, often less, into a real truck, — full-size or mid-size. As someone pointed out (above): most people don’t buy trucks typically based on their AVERAGE needs; they buy them based on their (anticipated or fantasized) ULTIMATE needs.

      Yes, I too end up hauling around a lot of air most of the time. God knows that the earth’s atmosphere needs all the help it can get. But it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that I can go to the local farmer and have his FEL dump a 1-ton pile of cows–t into the bed of my truck to care for my (rather large) garden…

      —————-

      • 0 avatar
        ktm_525

        I absolutely agree 100%. The RL is a niche vehicle for sure. The biggest reason I didn’t end up with a full size is twofold: 1) the 1/2′s are a ridiculous size now. I bet my Ridgeline is the same size as my old early 90′s F150. It is cold enough here that if it doesn’t fit in my garage it doesn’t get bought. I don’t scape windows and wait 10 minutes to warm my vehicle. 2) I have a job in the city in a congested downtown. My parking stall is underground and vehicle size is limited by ceiling height (6’1″) and stall size. While my Ridge sits underground and toasty the full sizers are out in the snow at -20 in a surface lot. To each their own.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I think Honda got burnt when they abandoned the Hybrid segment on their first go around. That’s the only reason why I can see them building these low volume niche models like the Ridgeline, CRZ, Crosstour, etc. They’re just hoping one of them is in the segment that will blow up next.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Why is everyone calling this truck ugly? It’s easily the best looking compact pickup on the market.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I used to think the Ridgeline was ugly and somewhat ill-conceived, but then Honda gave us the Crosstour and the redesigned Odyssey and suddenly the Ridgeline is the best-looking girl a masters-level quantitative theory class. It’s all relative.

    I think they’re on the right track, but there’s just something too “committee” about it. That flying buttress always rubbed me the wrong way, visually, as well as the IRS. It’s almost like if you used twitter to tell everyone why you like Aussie Utes, and they built an entire vehicle from that premise.

    It has promise, but I’m more excited about the upcoming Colorado vs Tacoma wars. Hopefully they’ll materialize and all the products will improve (this included)

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    The Ridgeline would look so much better if they cut off the back two doors and put on a proper bed instead of the weird flying buttress mess. It would look like, well, a real truck.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I can’t speak to the engineering of the Ridgeline specifically.

      The Chevy Avalanche has (had) the flying buttresses because when they hacked the roof off of the donor Suburban it was based on (yes, going back to the GMT800 days), it was needed for rigidity. The Ridgeline is “Avalanche-ish” in the same sense that it is based on the same platform as the Odyssey minivan (no, I’m not comparing FWD unibody to the GMT800/GMT900 platforms, just the concept is the same). I suspect the design is a necessity to maintain chassis rigidity.

      But as noted above – that is pure speculation based on GM having to basically do the same thing on the Avalanche.

    • 0 avatar
      Tifighter

      Honda released an outline of the next gen along with the press release, not sure why TTAC didn’t publish it. Anyhow, the buttress appears to be gone. What happens in production TBD, but Honda concepts are usually pretty close to production.

      If they could deliver throw in the 6AT from the MDX, get something like 18/24 or 19/25 EPA w/awd while adding modern connectivity (like standard bluetooth, ahem) and keep the in bed trunk and fold up rear seats, I’d be interested. Get the bed length to 5.5 ft, and I’d be quite interested.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I always believed that Honda would come to a Gen II on the Ridgeline.

    Honda has a pretty long history of stepping into a new segment, not doing the greatest job in round one, going back, and getting it right round two.

    We all win. Nissan and Toyota are going to have to update their midsizers respectively with the Colorado coming, then toss in the Ridgeline (which really isn’t a fullsize truck). Better products across the board and more competition – win.

  • avatar
    2kriss2kross

    Honda doesn’t see a market for a FRS competitor but sees a market for an expensive wannabe truck? Okay…

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      How many FR-S, BR-Z, and MX-5 are sold each month?

      What’s the margin?

      Doesn’t Honda have the CR-Z? (wouldn’t their marketing say that)

      How many F-150s, Silerados, Sierras, Rams, Tundras, Titans, Tacomas, Frontiers and Ridgelines?

      Any questions?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I see the real shortcoming of these as less capability without any offsetting advantage in fuel economy. It’s actually 4 mpg less than the latest Ram V6. Yeah gas is under 3 bucks a gallon, but….

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I am sure the Ridgeline is a perfectly capable, comfortable and reliable vehicle, but there is a bit of a stigma about driving a minivan based truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      Stigma? Do you really care what some bozo thinks of your ride?

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        Borrowed a truck the other day. It had a C&W station on the radio. One of the singers was singing to the girl that jilted him and in the process stated that her new man couldn’t amount to much judging from the size of his truck. Sort of struck me by surprise. Even here in Texas where the family car frequently is a truck you seldom hear such bald face acknowledgement that one’s vehicle may be a phallic symbol. Loser…..

        There are a lot of Ridgelines running around here and they seem to have pretty happy owners.

  • avatar
    ericthejet

    My wife and I have a 2006, all stock with a few factory extras. At 106000 miles it has been trouble free other than the typical needs and wear and tear items.

    It handles more like a car and has great get up and go but it is a bit hard on fuel.

    We like it for the room, handling and trick storage in the bed. The few times that we have needed the bed of the truck it has performed well with yard waste or a load of goods from the lumber store.

    I have no complaints and off-road in the light stuff it has always done very well.

    I would buy another.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    The Lincoln plant was opened in 2001, primarily to build the Odyssey. Right now they’re putting together the Odyssey, the Ridgeline, the Pilot and the MDX. They first started building the Ridgeline at the Alliston facility, but completely switched production over to Lincoln in ’09- I’m guessing exchange rates had a lot to do with this. Dropping the Ridgeline would leave a hole in the Lincoln facility that would have to be filled somehow: new product, increased production of existing product, or idled workers. Better to try again despite a disappointing first result than deal with questions of capacity. I find it revealing that they shifted V6 Accord production to Lincoln from ’09-’10- spread the pain around, I guess.

  • avatar
    flatout05

    It’s fascinating for me, a Ridgeline owner since 2006, to read these comments. For me it’s a great vehicle – I’m a suburban dad with just enough DIY projects and trips to the dump to make a pickup truck attractive. (One note: a commenter said the Ridgeline will carry a 4X8 sheet of plywood flat, with the tailgate closed. This simply ain’t true.)

    I agree that the truck is ugly. But is it kinda-cool ugly, or just ugly-ugly? I find it to be the former. But then I think the same about the Juke, so maybe my eyes need testing.

    I have towed my race car with the Ridgeline. Between car, trailer and extra tires, that’s 5000 pounds. I wouldn’t want to tow so much with this truck on a regular basis, but it works just fine.

    My Ridgeline has nearly 160,000 miles on the odo with nothing but routine maintenance. I am thrilled to hear they’re offering a second generation, and I can just about guarantee you I’ll buy one during the second model year – mine will be at 200,000 miles by then.

  • avatar

    You guys are going to laugh, but Consumer Reports named current generation Ridgeline a “best value in class”. Saw the news today.


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