Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: After The Ridgeline, Honda Considering An Even Smaller Pickup?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

In a blog item bemoaning the likely imminent death of the Honda Ridgeline, Automotive News [sub] Product Editor Rick Kranz accuses Honda of “abandoning” its funky pickup by failing to update its styling or hardware since it was introduced in 2005. His point seems to be that the Ridgeline was a decent enough niche product that withered on the vine… and the sales numbers certainly seem to support that thesis. But if you compare Ridgeline to other Japanese-brand compact-midsized pickups, you find that Toyota and Nissan saw similar drops in volume over a similar time period… as did practically all non-full-size pickups. So could Honda have done more for the Ridgeline, or was its decline inevitable? While you’re pondering that mystery, consider this: Kranz points to the last sentence of a months-old piece for one of those zombie rumors that never really got any play:

Based on conversations with industry sources, the story said a smaller pickup is under consideration, derived from the CR-V platform.

Presuming less payload and towing capacity than the Ridgeline, I can’t imagine why a smaller pickup based on a front-drive platform would be a more successful product formula for Honda.

On the other hand, a CR-V-based pickup is something that hasn’t been tried for decades in this market… and it wouldn’t compete nearly as directly with the cheap full-sizers that are killing the “compact” (actually midsized) pickups. So, is Kranz’s logic sound, or could a CR-V-based pickup mix up the market? Faith springs eternal for me when it comes to efficient utility vehicles… but what say you?

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • 84Cressida 84Cressida on Sep 09, 2011

    The epitome of small trucks was the '89-'95 Toyota Hilux. 2WD, Xtra Cab, factory sport stripes, 22R-E and 5-speed. A good looking, reliable, efficent workhorse. If Toyota built that truck today they'd never be able to keep up with demand. Please do it, Toyota.

  • Joe_thousandaire Joe_thousandaire on Sep 09, 2011

    They can call it the CRV Sport Trac, and watch it fail miserably.

  • Klossfam Klossfam on Sep 11, 2011

    As a 2010 Ridgeline owner, I need the cargo and towing capacity of the current platform (4,400 lb boat to tow). So, I'm not the demographic on the CR-V based pick up. This constant mpg discussion about the Ridgeline, however, is starting to piss me off because I own one and put gas in it - so I know the reality... Here's the REAL scoop...The Ridgeline is rated at 15 city/20 mpg highway. I have a heavy to medium heavy foot. I live in Western NY with a lot of variable weather. I get 16 mpg in real city/suburban driving. I get 22 mpg without fail on lightly loaded, mostly highway trips. I get 20 mpg on the same trip with an ATV in the bed. I get 14.5 mpg on the same trip pulling the 4,400 lb boat (a 22 ft Glastron with a 5.0L V8 and one HEAVY a*s EZ Loader trailer). The bottom line: My friends with late model V8 Chevys and F150 Fords simply DO NOT get this mileage day in and day out. Plus the Ridgeline is far better riding and handling than body on frame trucks - simply easier to live with each day. The Ridgeline is a niche vehicle...but as noted by many, the people that buy them, like them...

  • Bruinalltheway12 Bruinalltheway12 on Mar 17, 2012

    I Would love for Honda to Build a compact "urban" truck, I think a truck maybe more what the element had going for it would be better than the crv though, suicide door cabin seating four with a fuel efficient 4 cyl. I think that a rugged material selection would also be preferred to a posh crv styled interior. As a younger guy, The element was very apealing and functional, but young people couldn't neccessarily afford them, now as that younger generation gains better financial position, Honda kills off the element? The ridgleline was appealing as an alternate to the battleship truck offerings of the big three, yet it kinda missed what I think the niche market really is: a smaller truck similar to those built in the early 90's mazda B2000, Ford Ranger, etc. Those trucks were fun to drive, park and were fuel efficient. Then the whole segment had been killed off, ignored, or just ridiculously up-sized, the only true "mini-truck" 1/4 ton left was the ranger and it was the same as it was from 1993?, Why no overhaul or redesign during that time, only changing headlights? I hope Honda builds not only a compact truck but maybe a platform with a variety of "box" configurations, trunk with box similar to current ridgeline, fold=down sides (like the old VW van-trucks, window capped box (updated element with removable top similar to the old blazer/broncos, and even a panel truck configuration. I know these would be unique and they could also spawn a revival of aftermarket/dealer accessory market for mini=trucks, As someone whose isn't hauling gravel, drywall sheets, and quads all day long, bring in on, those who need the american workhorse, don't worry theres still going to be F-150's with step bars, backup sensors, reverse cameras, and stepladders to see into the box. One last thing if honda does decide on building a smaller truck, please let the designers/engineers have some fun and leave all the bean counters out of it. If its successfully executed the sales will speak for themselves. This way honda can bring back some of that swagger I think they have lost over the last decade!!