By on August 8, 2016

2017 Honda RidgelineMidsize pickup truck sales shot up 29 percent in the United States in July 2016, enough to drive the sub-sector’s share of the overall pickup category up three points to 17 percent.

Indeed, without the gains produced by the midsize truck sector, overall U.S. pickup truck volume would have flatlined in July on declining sales of the two top-selling truck lines, Ford’s F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado. Moreover, without the midsize truck sector’s additional 8,973 July sales, total U.S. new vehicle sales volume would have risen by less than one-tenth of one percent.

Instead, because of a dramatic increase in sales of the second-generation Honda Ridgeline in its first month of availability, another huge uptick in Nissan Frontier sales, and continued growth from GM’s Colorado/Canyon duo, pickup truck sales grew four percent and the American auto industry reported nearly 10,000 extra sales in July 2016, year-over-year. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2016

2017 Honda Ridgeline

American Honda reported 2,472 sales of its all-new, second-generation Ridgeline pickup in June 2016, the truck’s first month of rather limited availability.

June was the Ridgeline’s first four-digit sales month since August 2014, the Ridgeline’s first month above the 2,000-unit mark since October 2008, and the best Ridgeline sales month since August 2008.

In fact, if American Honda simply maintained the June 2016 sales pace for the rest of the year, total 2016 calendar year Ridgeline sales would essentially match 2013’s total for an eight-year high in U.S. Ridgeline sales.

Indeed, on an annualized rate, based simply on the Ridgeline’s first month back from a long hiatus, Honda is already selling more Ridgelines than at any point since 2008. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2016

2017 Honda Ridgeline at boat launch ramp, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Honda is playing the long game when it comes to its cute little pickup truck. After selling the original, first-generation Ridgeline for an almost-unheard-of nine years (for perspective, the ninth-generation Civic lasted an incredibly short five years, including a mid-cycle emergency refresh), the second coming of the unibody, light-duty hauler is here.

And guess what? It’s absolutely phenomenal — but there’s a massive catch.

(Read More…)

By on June 16, 2016

Chevrolet vs. Ford rock drop

After watching General Motors drop 825 pounds of rock into the beds of a Chevrolet Silverado and a Ford F-150, I wasn’t caught up in fairness or relevance or with the advertisement’s status as a marketing stunt. Some observers asked whether GM crossed an unwritten line shared by Detroit’s cross-town truck rivals, as if in a year when presidential candidates toss deeply personal insults around like water balloons at a summer picnic a pickup truck critique would be over the line.

To me, it simply seemed clear from the moment of the ad’s YouTube launch that the Chevrolet Silverado’s apparent toughness advantage would be more frequently viewed than a traditional truck commercial. As of this writing, Chevrolet’s YouTube channel has racked up 4.4 million views with “Silverado Strong: Steel Bed Outperforms Aluminum Bed,” ten times more views than the channel’s 22 previous ads have generated in the last month, combined.

The Silverado could use the increased attention. U.S. sales of GM’s best-selling model line are flat despite a six-percent sales increase in the truck market so far this year. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2016

Honda Ridgeline Rock Drop

You may’ve noticed an ad campaign by General Motors touting the toughness of its steel cargo bed in comparison with Ford’s aluminum cargo hold. The Chevy came out battered and bruised, but Ford’s aluminum-bodied F-150 incurred multiple lacerations. GM, in its comparison, proclaimed itself the winner.

Then late Friday, a plucky upstart called Honda (you may know the company for its motorized bicycles and electrical generators), threw massive shade on the Detroit rivalry using the same test.

(Read More…)

By on May 11, 2016

2013 Honda Ridgeline

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.

Extinct, discontinued, on hiatus, buried, forgotten: these 17 “new” vehicles aren’t dead — yet. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2016

2017 Honda Ridgeline - EMBARGO til 1.11.16

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 midsized 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.

(Read More…)

By on November 3, 2015

Ridgeline Baja Race Truck hints at the styling direction for the all-new 2017 Ridgeline pickup.

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.

(Read More…)

By on March 15, 2013

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.

(Read More…)

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