Honda hasn’t produced a new first-generation Ridgeline since 2014. Yet in the first four months of 2016, prior to the second-generation Ridgeline’s showroom arrival, Honda dealers managed to get a couple of long-since forgotten Ridgelines into customer hands.
But the Ridgeline’s ability to show up on U.S. sales charts in early 2016 isn’t unique. There have even been seven total sales of the Porsche 918 Spyder, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, and Lexus LFA so far this year.
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Few segments are as hot as mid-sized trucks right now, and the 2017 Honda Ridgeline couldn’t come at a better time for Honda. After a two-year hiatus, Honda is propping up its new truck on a massive stage to sway mid-size buyers unfazed by the new General Motors twin mid–sized pickups, or Toyota’s new Tacoma, or Ford’s coming Ranger, or … you get the idea.
The truck, which is likely powered by a 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 mill borrowed from the Pilot, capitalizes on the same truck-like looks plunked on a unibody chassis that the made the last generation profitable — albeit a bit of a slow seller compared to others in the segment. For the first time, the Ridgeline will be available with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive models will get Honda’s i-VTM4 torque vectoring tech — contrary to what we heard last year.
Have you recently wondered, “What would the face of the redesigned Civic look like plastered on a desert-ready racing truck?” Honda has your number. This is the new Ridgeline.
Except it’s not.
The Japanese automaker announced its return to the Baja 1000 at SEMA on Tuesday and revealed the machine that will carry HPD’s HR35TT race engine — a 550 horsepower, a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 — across the finish line.
In the last few years, a few cars have received more than their fair share of media attention. The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, for example, which a few outlets have stopped just short of describing as the return of Jesus. A few others didn’t bother stopping short. There’s been a similar reaction to some of the updated Chrysler products, proving that all it takes to win over car journalists is a nip and tuck outside, a few new materials inside, and a fleet of well-equipped press cars generously loaned to anyone who asks.