NAIAS 2016: 2017 Honda Ridgeline is Your Party Truck Right Cha

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

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.

Like the Pilot, the Ridgeline will have six forward cogs — the last generation only had a five-speed automatic transmission — likely in a bid to improve upon the last truck’s 16/21 mpg rating. (The Pilot manages 18/26 mpg, if you’re wondering.)

The Ridgeline’s distinctive body lines are gone this time around, eschewing cladding between the cab and bed of the prior truck for a boxier look. The 2017 Ridgeline’s bed is more than 5 inches wider and 4 inches longer than the outgoing truck, big enough to lay flat 4-foot wide plywood or drywall, according to Honda.

Honda didn’t divulge many details about the new Ridgeline including horsepower and payload capacity, other than to say the latter would be close to 1,600 pounds — similar to others within the class, including the Tacoma. The Pilot’s V-6 makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, so it’s reasonable to expect something similar in the Ridgeline. It would be reasonable to assume that the 3,500 pound tow rating will carry over to the Ridgeline as well.

Apparently, Honda anticipates that many Ridgeline buyers will party in parking lots with their trucks. The Ridgeline sports a 400-watt power inverter in the bed, an in-bed lockable trunk and in-bed audio pumped through six speaker-like “exciters.” Honda said the Ridgeline’s tailgate opens from the bottom or its left hinge for easier loading.

The Ridgeline will go on sale later this year.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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  • Igve2shtz Igve2shtz on Jan 14, 2016

    The Honda Ridgeline has been, and will forever be a cult-following type truck. You will either love it, or hate it. It's the Mazda5 of the truck world. For me, on paper, it is damn near perfect. Honda clearly did their homework researching how 75% of light-duty truck owners use their vehicles. In execution, it has always looked a bit geeky. But, I am the design target. Suburban home owner with a 40 minute commute. I need utility without 12 MPG. A SUV/CUV doesn't cut it for me. Need to haul bulky items that don't fit in a cargo compartment (drywall, plywood, pavers, scoops of dirt etc). The Ridgeline is built exactly for those things on the weekend, and a capable commuter on weekdays. A CUV with a trailer hitch would probably work, but isn't the setup for me. Everyone loves to hate what isn't considered the social norms. I don't need 10K pounds of towing. I don't want to spend $40K on a truck that will do everyday tasks poorly. I will use 90% of the capabilities of the Ridgeline. Why spend more to only use 50% of the capabilities of a full-size?

  • Jcisne Jcisne on Jan 15, 2016

    "It would be reasonable to assume that the 3,500 pound tow rating will carry over to the Ridgeline as well." This is incorrect, the old Ridgeline had a 5,000 pound tow rating, not 3,500.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.