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.

2014 Honda Ridgeline, Image: Honda

Roll back the calendar to 2004. American Honda dropped its furthest divergence yet from its high revving, nimble, economy cars with the Honda SUT Concept. It was a teaser for what was to come — “an all-new sport-utility truck … based on Honda’s Global Light Truck Platform,” Honda said at the time. A year later, in 2005, the Ridgeline was born.

Its sail-like cab-and-bed design was reminiscent of the much larger Chevrolet Avalanche, but its proportions were more Explorer Sport Trac than anything with full-size girth. Unlike the Sport Trac’s truck frame donated by the Ranger, the Ridgeline was engineered with a unibody architecture — and it showed. No matter how square and flared Honda designed the Ridgeline’s wheel wells, the average joe knew something was different with Honda’s pickup right from the start.

2017 Honda Ridgeline, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Twelve years after its initial debut in Detroit, the second-generation Ridgeline — this time skipping the wasteful and typically dragged-out concept-to-production reveal trickle — arrived at the North American International Auto Show.

Gone was the bed sail, replaced by a seam between its bed and cab (it has a purpose, supposedly, and we’ll get to that point in a bit). Also gone was the Ridgeline’s angular, flat face, replaced by one derived directly from the new Pilot, a three-row crossover adept at transporting family offspring to a multitude of sports.

The Ridgeline’s face isn’t the only part derived from the Pilot, either.

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

A crossover-based pickup, quantified and compared

Pickup buyers are a fickle bunch. They like numbers, especially easy numbers that can be used to quantify how much more of a man they are compared to their pickup truck-owning friends. So, let’s see where the Ridgeline places in a game of Pickup Top Trumps.

Under its Pilot-esque hood sits the same 3.5-liter V6 as the Pilot, which produces the same 280 horsepower and 262 lbs-ft of torque. Same horsepower. Same torque. Same single overhead cams. Same valvetrain featuring Honda’s famous i-VTEC. The new engine bests the outgoing Ridgeline’s V6 by 30 horsepower and 15 lbs-ft of torque, but cranks up fuel economy thanks to trick cylinder deactivation, a new six-speed automatic transmission and a new two-wheel-drive option aimed at Californians who don’t know snow outside a movie set or theater bathroom. Front-wheel-drive Ridgelines are rated at 19 miles per gallon city and 26 mpg highway for a combined figure of 22 mpg. Adding all-wheel drive brings those figures down 1 mpg.

2017 Honda Ridgeline (22 of 57)

Compared with the competition, the Ridgeline is equal on power, torque, and number of gears with the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma, but the Honda beats the Taco for EPA-rated fuel economy. If it’s torque you’re after, the aging Nissan Frontier’s 4.0-liter V6 offers more twist, but it does so through fewer gears while drinking more dino juice. The GM twins, when equipped with the ubiquitous 3.6-liter V6, produce more horsepower and similar torque through the same number of gears as the Ridgeline, but — again — the GM trucks burn more fuel in the process.

So far, that’s a V6 fuel economy win for the Ridgeline, a torque win for the Nissan, and a horsepower win for the Colorado/Canyon.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Towing and Payload Demonstration, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

What about towing and hauling?

Maximum towing and payload ratings for the Ridgeline (in RT AWD trim, which is the base model Ridgeline with all-wheel drive) are 5,000 pounds and 1,584 pounds, respectively. On-paper towing capacity comparisons are a no-contest: every other truck in the segment bests the Ridgeline by 1,000 pounds or more. However, Honda claims “a class-leading overall payload capacity of up to 1,584 pounds” — a claim that is not entirely accurate.

2017 Honda Ridgeline with Honda dirtbike, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The Ridgeline is available solely powered by a V6 engine as a quad-cab pickup, meaning it has two full-size doors for rear passengers. Therefore, Honda only compares its truck with other V6-powered, quad-cab pickups in the segment. Even in this guise, the Ridgeline is not the payload leader; it’s beaten by the GMC Canyon V6 4×2 with a payload rating of 1,620 pounds, a full 155 pounds more payload capability than a comparable two-wheel-drive Ridgeline at 1,465 pounds. It isn’t until you add AWD/4×4 to those trucks that the Ridgeline comes out ahead of the Canyon by just 34 pounds.

The Honda Ridgeline is quad-cab, short-bed truck powered by a V6 and available AWD, and it offers a class-leading payload of 1,584 pounds in that segment,” stated Honda western regional public relations manager Davis Adams in an email with TTAC.

2017 Honda Ridgeline, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Let’s call a spade, a spade. The Ridgeline is not the midsize class leader when it comes to payload, but those looking for best-in-class payload (and towing) capability probably aren’t shopping for a Ridgeline. So, maybe the lie is a moot point. I’ll let you be the judge.

(Interestingly, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — as identical as they are — have differing payload ratings.)

It’s not just mechanical measurements that quantitatively define a pickup’s DNA. The Ridgeline, being a unibody vehicle, does offer some other measured benefits over its competitors.

2017 Honda Ridgeline (21 of 57)

Just like the Pilot, the interior of the Ridgeline is vast. Front-row space in the Honda is either on par with or, in the case of shoulder room, flat out annihilates its competitors. The only exception here is legroom. Some competitors post greater numbers than the Ridgeline, but I didn’t have an issue with my size 11s and 32-inch inseam. Also, unlike the Tacoma, where your legs are more-so positioned in front of than beneath you, the Ridgeline provides a more upright and neutral driving position for your lower extremities.

2017 Honda Ridgeline Interior Rear Seats Down, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It’s in the second row where massive gains are seen in interior space. In almost every measurable dimension, the Ridgeline offers more space and more comfort to second-row passengers. Sit in the back of a Tacoma for a 20 mile trip, then do the same in a Ridgeline. The contrast is stark.

At the end of our game of Pickup Top Trumps, the Ridgeline is roomier, more fuel efficient, just as powerful, a competent hauler, and a less-capable tower in comparison with its competitors.

Ridgeline isn’t a “by-the-numbers” pickup

As much as we can compare the Ridgeline with other trucks in the midsize pickup segment on paper, Honda’s offering is a completely different animal versus its competitors.

For starters, all-wheel drive supplants the typical four-wheel drive of other trucks. It’s a full-time system that requires no input from the driver, unlike the previous-generation Ridgeline that sported an all-flummoxing VTM-4 LOCK button. The system allows Honda to offer torque vectoring on the Ridgeline, a freak-of-nature feature in the pickup truck segment that gives the unibody truck an unfair advantage when it comes to handling.

2017 Honda Ridgeline (47 of 57)

During the first drive event, Honda laid out a number of courses to test the new Ridgeline: a towing/hauling test, an off-road course, and a dirt handling track. Time and time again, I went back to the handling track, each time trying to get the Ridgeline out of shape in some of the higher speed bits. I achieved no such feat. The Ridgeline, instead of plowing through the corners like the other trucks, would activate its traction control system and add just enough power to the outside rear wheel to rotate it through the corner. It felt like magic.

The Ridgeline doesn’t give up ride comfort for its handling prowess either. It’s easily the most comfortable ride in the segment, and it’s all because Honda has thrown convention to the wind when it comes to how to frame its trucklet. Small cracks in the road don’t cause the Ridgeline to shudder, and large road anomalies are smoothed out with aplomb by the Ridgeline’s decidedly car-like ride.

2017 Honda Ridgeline (38 of 57)

The off-road course, while not particularly challenging, did offer some perspective between the Ridgeline and its closest competitors. It began with demonstration: one of the car wranglers drove a Ridgeline atop two mounds, leaving the left rear wheel dangling from the truck’s rear suspension. On a typical truck, such a maneuver would produce visible flex in the chassis, particularly where the cab and bed meet — but not on the Ridgeline. There was no flex whatsoever, even though your eyes may trick you into thinking its cargo bed is separate.

Which brings us to the side of the truck and the much talked about faux seam between the cab and the bed. The previous Ridgeline didn’t have such a seam, instead sporting the sail-like bed. However, due to the stamping process and how Honda wanted to style its truck, a rear panel covers the unibody providing strength for the bed.

2017 Honda Ridgeline (25 of 57)

There are two practical reasons for this particular panel’s existence. One, it means Honda can stamp a smaller panel, and that keeps costs down. The second directly benefits consumers: should an errant object come in contact with the exterior bed panel to create significant damage, it can be replaced on its own without cutting and welding in a section of new panel. Just pop off the old metal and affix the new one. Problem solved.

The non-practical reason behind the seam is just as simple. The Ridgeline looks grotesque without it.

Headwinds

“It looks dorky,” she said after looking over my shoulder while I edited photos from the Ridgeline launch.

“Why do you say it looks dorky?” I asked with genuine interest. You see, my girlfriend isn’t a car or truck person, but even she saw something amiss with Honda’s newest pickup.

“It looks like a van or something turned into a truck,” she replied. “It isn’t a truck.”

It’s this short exchange with a person who lays no claim to being an automotive expert or enthusiast that perfectly sums up Honda’s pickup-truck headwinds.

2017 Honda Ridgeline with camping gear, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Not only does the Ridgeline not look like a typical pickup, Honda has gone out of its way to make it look exactly like the Pilot. There’s no denying the family resemblance. Inspect the competition and the familiarity is limited to just other rough-and-tumble products. The Tacoma looks kinda like a 4Runner. The Canyon looks like its bigger-brother Sierra. And the Honda looks like a seven-seater crossover that’s associated with Professional-Grade Mommying and not Professional-Grade Construction.

It’s that association that Honda must break in order for a customer to open their mind — and wallet. The Ridgeline, for all intents and purposes, is an earth-shattering product; an earth-shattering truck, if you don’t need the towing capability of others. I implore you to drive one if you’re in the market for a smaller pickup — but do it with an open mind. Leave all your preconceptions at the competitor’s lot across the street.

However, you’re buying into a future of ridicule with the Ridgeline. “That’s not a real truck” will be uttered like a scored vinyl by those who know less than you. Honda has effectively forced us into an ultimatum: do you take the smart buy or one that reaffirms your inner man?

If you pick the Ridgeline, you’re a better man than me.

Disclosure: Honda flew me from Halifax to San Antonio and put me up in a nice, downtown hotel to drive the Ridgeline. The automaker proceeded to fill our face holes with more meat and cheese than you’d find on a beef and dairy ranch. I also found my most favorite donut place in the world down the street from the hotel, Shipley’s Donuts, where I bought a dozen donuts on my own dime and shared them with Frank Bacon et al.

[Images: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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192 Comments on “2017 Honda Ridgeline First Drive Review – Tacking into the Wind...”


  • avatar
    johnhowington

    But all Honda buyers are “smart”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Honda buyers expect a Honda experience no matter which model they choose. This is the truck that gives them that. Its probably easier (and more likely) to come from a Civic to this rather than trading up from a Dakota or some other traditional truck.

      That is unless you’re sick of the jittery, rough ride, the shopping cart handling, and the poor fuel mileage of a traditional smaller truck, but you still want to tow your boat with the family and then haul bags of potting soil/cement/bark/fertalizer/whatever in something other than your wife’s minivan.

      Honda buyers are smart in that they know what they like and they generally get a pretty good product when they buy one. Hondas usually provide reliable, high quality, economical, and decent handling transportation (and this vehicle fits that well according to this review), and if that’s what you desire, it is smart. For example, choosing an Accord over a Camry or Altima is smart. Choosing this over another truck if you want to do serious off-roading or if you require/prefer the other characteristics of a traditional truck isn’t smart.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I agree. This is designed for buyers with a particular set of criteria in mind rather than trying to out-Tacoma the Tacoma or GM twins. It has a unique set of strengths and looks like a great vehicle if those strengths align with your priorities.

        I don’t agree with the Accord analogy. Choosing an Accord over an Altima is smart. Choosing one over a Camry is preference.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Whats “Honda experience”? A broken transmission? Or “pay more for less”?

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    The Ridgeline is cute and little in the same way as a rhinoceros! Good review though

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I think this should do rather better than the previous Ridgeline, but I agree with the “dorky” assessment. The Pilot’s front end just looks out of place on a pickup truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      One look at the thing and I have an almost physical reaction that makes me want to immediately go out and buy a Tacoma. Honda would do well to remember that many, many wallets are opened based on styling alone.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        @coopdeville, “many wallets are opened based on styling alone”….so true.

        When I’m car/truck shopping if I don’t like the styling…..doesn’t matter if a vehicle hits all my other requirements…..I’m not buying.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        True!

        But remember that lots of people seem to think (and I personally definitely think) that the current Tacoma looks like an overstyled caricature.

        It’s a BIG market.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Well, to be fair, all Honda light “trucks” share almost the same face (as in CRV and HRV minus all the chrome).

      I get that they didn’t want to go crazy and different, because look what happened with the last Ridgeline. Making it look more “truck-like” would’ve drawn more “just a poser/not a real truck” comments, it wouldn’t have helped. Better this than trying to imitate the Tacoma or Canyon and end up looking even more goofy and fake with a “macho” crossover-based truck. Again, see the first one for example.

      • 0 avatar
        Coopdeville

        Yeah but there’s just something about this one…and don’t get me wrong, I really want to like it based on all its other attributes that make it a good choice for someone who doesn’t “need” a truck.

        IMO Honda really got it right with the current generation Accord if you’re into non-flashy, conservative design. Practicality combined with understated handsome looks. This just looks…weird, sort of like I assume an Econoline truck looked to “real truck” buyers back when they roamed the streets.

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/curbside-classic-1963-ford-econoline-pickup/

  • avatar
    baconator

    So, this is a more comfortable and efficient truck, for those people who really use their truck for commuting and runs to Home Depot rather than towing. If we’re honest, that’s the vast majority of all pickup truck owners.

    Kudos to Honda for making something rational. Hopefully the market will reward them, despite the lack of butch styling or butch towing capacity figures.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Damn, I find all pick-up truck reviews and comparisons incredibly intriguing, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Kind-of rooting for the underdog type of thing, as Bacon implied / suggested.

      If I were in the market however, I don’t think I could bring myself to make the purchase. What transmission is in this thing anyway? I dare say no CVT? Lol

      I know two “bodega” owners who both own the first gen Ridgeline. They have zero interest in towing prowess, the “trucks” serve their purpose in hauling items for their store’s shelves. One in particular has taken a large amount of abuse with absolutely zero maintenance now in its later years. The bed is distorted and bulging, tires are essentially slicks, driven hard daily in NYC traffic. Never skipoed a beat, incredibly solid vehicles!

    • 0 avatar

      Unless there’s a radical change in the new truck, it isn’t a practical vehicle for commuting. 14mpg is all I ever got out of my 2006. On the same commuting trip I get 18MPB from by 2010 Mark LT.

      • 0 avatar
        I_S

        No truck is a practical vehicle for commuting.
        I’d expect the fuel economy on this one to match the current Pilot, should definitely beat 18mpg combined.

        • 0 avatar

          Not really arguing that point. You’re right about trucks and commuting. the point I should have made is that just about any American full size truck with a V8 gets better fuel economy than a Ridgeline.

          You can’t do much with a Ridgeline. It’s not good for hauling. It’s not good for towing. It doesn’t get good gas mileage.

          You can throw your golf clubs in the back and go to the country club. I can think of dozens of vehicles to do that in with a lot more eye appeal.

          I hated mine.

          • 0 avatar
            srh

            Which V8-powered American full-size truck gets an honest overall mileage over 18MPG?

            I’ve had several; Powerstroke 7.3L (~15MPG), Duramax 6.6L (~15MPG), Chevy 5.3L (~16MPG), Ford 6.2L (~14MPG), Powerstroke 6.7L (~16MPG).

            Heck, my current 3.5L Ecoboost barely gets 16MPG overall. If, and it’s a big if, the Ridgeline actually does get the claimed mileage then I’d bet that beats most trucks, compact or full-size, with the exception of the Ram Ecodiesel.

          • 0 avatar

            There’s a ton of “hauling” that is in some way bulky without being heavy. It seems like a near-majority of light pickups in my city have a tailgate apron on them. These advertise the cargo of choice: mountain bikes. (The apron lets you put the front wheel over the tailgate without scratching anything; you can put four or more big MTBs into a pickup that way, great for shuttling).

            MTBs are light but muddy; any pickup would do, and most vans would be inferior (you’d have to buy a pretty specific, pretty expensive Sprinter/Transit/Promaster to carry four bros and four bicycles; most minivans would not be big enough, and you’d get the carpets muddy).

            Niche vehicle? Sure, but it’s a reasonable niche,

            Re: torque vectoring, please someone at TTAC get Honda on the record about whether they’re considering a Ridgeline Si. That would be HILARIOUS!

          • 0 avatar
            jrasero23

            BINGO! A interesting car to say the least, but again Honda gives us a tweener vehicle that doesn’t do anything class leading yet rockets all the way up to the mid $40k in price. Sorry but for that price a Tacoma TRD Sport or Limited is still less or you can get a Diesel and/or top of the line SLT from GMC.

            This car* really is for people who want a car like ride, which my response is why not get a Pilot/MDX? Because you really need the open bed right?

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      So when I go to home depot to buy sheetrock to refinish a basement how do I fit that in one of these? You can easily haul it with any modern CCSB full-size just by leaving the gate down.

      If I’m shopping for efficiency a Colorado Duramax has this beat as does a Ram Ecodiesel.

      But my biggest issue here is FWD/Transverse engine. Its either overpay for an AWD system or enjoy your torque steer.

      That said there is absolutely a market here (FWD hauling vehicle with reasonable efficiency); its just not very big. Most in this market would likely just opt for CUV or minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “how do I fit that in one of these?”

        No prob! Sheetrock busts up real easy!

      • 0 avatar
        Felix Hoenikker

        I solved this problem by buying the drywall and ceiling bead board for my basement from an Indy lumber yard that offered free delivery for orders over $500. They were slightly cheaper than HD and Lowes.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        “How do I haul sheetrock”?

        Easy, the same way I haul 4’x12′ sheetrock in my long bed pickup.

        But if you’re finishing your basement and need 80-100 sheets, you’re far wiser to have it delivered and put it in your basement by the supplier. It is a nightmare carrying sheetrock into a basement, especially 12’ers.

        Note to Felix: I recently got the best deal from Lowes, they were really aggressive on pricing at their Pro desk. Home Depot was the highest, the local suppliers were in the middle.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        In other words, you would spend an extra 10 grand to save fifty bucks on sheet rock?

        Are you a contractor? How many times are you going to refinish your basement?

        The guys who did our basement had a van.

        • 0 avatar
          Drew8MR

          Hell, for years I had a van with a siderack I salvaged from an old glass company van. Glass racks work great for sheet material, weather permitting of course.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Or rent a trailer (assuming you have no friends with one or a bigger truck you can borrow for the cost of pizza).

          I mean, yeah, if you’re a contractor doing sheetrock don’t buy a Ridgeline, sure.

          But everyone else? Not an issue.

          (Torque steer? Not an inherent issue if the driveline is correctly designed, etc.

          My Volvo doesn’t display any noticeable torque steer with a 95% front bias in the AWD system; that 5% rear power isn’t magically stopping it.)

      • 0 avatar
        cornellier

        I can haul gyproc better than that in my Sienna. Next day I can pop up the seats and take six adult passengers on a road trip in full comfort.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Vans are okay if you don’t have a smelly or loose load to carry. A load of manure for the flower beds isn’t going to be shoveled into the back of a minivan with the full expectation of taking 6 people on a road trip the next day.
          Trucks have a place and so do minivans. I happen to own one of each.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Except for the stupid comment about Californians and “snow”, I actually enjoyed this review. For now, I’m not buying a Ridgeline, nor any other truck(let), but for most buyers, it is perhaps the best choice, considering what suburban warriors actually need.

  • avatar
    whynot

    On a completely superficial level this probably has the most attractive rear end of any pickup paired with probably the ugliest front end.

  • avatar
    shedkept

    Having owned the last generation there wasn’t anything resembling a truck that handled like it. Glad they finally got the fuel economy numbers up as range will be better. A very welcome improvement.
    The trick trunk is a great feature. It is waterproof and will hold a lot of gear.
    I’ve seen the last generation models with a lot of miles on them and they seem to be as tight as the day they rolled off the assembly line. It’s a Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Sasuga desu.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Mmm… sausage!

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Oscar’s Braunschweiger (accept no substitute) left out to reach room temp, slice off the end, eat with a table spoon. Baby dills as needed.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Ex-wife would make a dip out of Branschweiger, I remember that it involved lots of sour cream. It was about the only thing from a culinary standpoint that she could do competently.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Hmm… never added sour cream. But you know I will!

          • 0 avatar
            Zackman

            I tried braunschweiger exactly once when I was young because dad ate it and I wanted to be like dad. There was no way I could pile enough mustard on the stuff to make it palatable to me!

            Bologna or nothing… even fried!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Oscar’s is *special*. And I’ve tried every kind I’ve found.

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            Ken, Stick it in a food processor, add a few chopped red onions, a little sour cream, a little good mayo, a touch of Grey Poupon, and spin it. Serve it on rye Melba toast rounds with a halved grape tomato on top….Yummalicious

            I like the new Honda trucklet.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The system allows Honda to offer torque vectoring on the Ridgeline, a freak-of-nature feature in the pickup truck segment that gives the unibody truck an unfair advantage when it comes to handling.

    “Unfair advantage” – I’m no Honda FanBoy but that just sounds like a trick engineering solution to me for people who use their trucks as everyday commuters and spend very little time with anything actually in the bed or being towed. (The same as Canyon and Colorado buyers who don’t want to admit it.)

    I don’t hear someone testing an Impreza and complaining that its AWD system gives it an “unfair advantage” over a Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I owned a RWD Ranger for 8 years. It only rode right with a heaby load in the bed, but I used it mostly as basic transportation. You really had to stay on top of that thing in order to keep it from fishtailing in the rain, much less snow/ice.

      AWD would have been perfect for it, as it would have automatically adjusted the power distribution based on the load and the weather.

      The new Ridgeline is the truck I was looking for, back in 2012. I’ve got two kids, and I’m hoping for more — so a minivan (preferably an EV) really is the right tool for me these days. But, the Ridgeline has my attention!

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Luke42 – The regular cab Ranger I has was tail-happy empty but that was more due to the unforgiving street manners of the Mud TA’s I had on it. I rarely ever had it totally empty and when I went to an “all terrain” tire that problem all but vanished. The extended cab Ranger I owned was well mannered empty but again,it was rarely empty.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “However, you’re buying into a future of ridicule with the Ridgeline.”

    Anyone bothered by that probably belongs in something else. They’d find more people to their liking when hanging at the dealership for scheduled maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I’m guessing the author doesn’t know what it means to command respect.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @ToddAtlasF1 – I used to get bugged by my buddies when I owned a Ranger. They all had lifted trucks. Ironically I rescued virtually all of them at one time or another. The laughing stopped rather quickly after that.
        This truck on the other hand does not give anyone the notion that it will be able to recover an off-roader.

        I do like it and I’d consider it as a replacement for my wife’s minivan but definitely not as a replacement for any pickup I have ever owned.

    • 0 avatar

      The pickup truck is supposed to evoke America’s sense of rugged individualism. In that sense, Honda breaking all the rules in an attempt to redefine what a pickup could be is in total keeping with that spirit, while people walking around worried about what “they” will say aren’t embracing the mythos.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        A “metrosexual” truck, perhaps? Skinny jeans not included…

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          I’ve lost 35 pounds prepping for hip replacement and now need new clothes.

          What exactly do metrosexuals wear?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Kenmore – I think in your case you should just aim for being the sexiest guy in the retirement home.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            OK. I’ve never been *that* adventurous.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Apparently STDs are rampant in retirement homes… Or so I’ve heard.

            I hope to have at least a half century to go before this is any of my concern.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            An interesting fact I could have lived another day without knowing.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Apparently STDs are rampant in retirement homes…”

            Viagra in the Leisure Class.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Kenmore – Just don’t bend over too much or get you hip past 45 degrees and you can wear whatever you want but with that being said, sweat pants and slip on shoes will be your best friend for at least 3 months.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Lou_BC, how right you are. I’m into 5th week post op and only recently have been able to graduate to “real clothes” after gym shorts, sweat pants and loosened tennis shoes.

            But mine was the anterior procedure where there is no limitation on the range of motion post op except by freakin’ pain.

            They somewhat soft-soap the anterior approach by evading the fact that while, yes, the incision is rather small and no muscles are cut as in posterior THR, that little incision and the muscles/tendons within have to be stretched aside by those big retractors so the surgeon’s hands can fit and work inside.

            Then you have a *long* dialog with those angry muscles and tendons afterwards.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Kenmore- weight bearing comes surprisingly quick. It tends to take at least 6 months to feel “normal”. I’ve had both my hips “resurfaced”.

  • avatar
    ericthejet

    The local Honda dealership called me yesterday at 6pm
    while we returned from a Father’s Day BBQ to let me
    know that they had 2 new Ridgelines on the lot, hot off the car hauler.
    Sadly, on my way over a few minutes ago in my 2006 Ridgeline they called to say they were already sold.
    :-)

    I think Honda will do well with this (finally) 2nd gen. model.
    A pilot without a roof out back? Yes please!

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    The fact it doesn’t look like an aspiring Brodozer is its greatest asset, IMO.

    Honda knew better then to stand against Ford & GM in the “Muh Trucks Bigher Ten Urs” product category. So they wisely didn’t bother.

    Instead they offered a dare I say down to earth truck that’s a practical vehicle first, instead of a rolling macho billboard the size of a Tokyo city block.

    Honda will sell plenty. They won’t take down the F150/Silverado, but they won’t have to.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Care to quantify “plenty”?

      I don’t expect a CRZ flop here, but after the initial boom, I bet it does pretty much the same as a the first gen.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        From what I remember, Honda built the first one out of a parts bin and it was still profitable despite lackluster sales. I’m guessing this is just a redux, esp since this notatruck starts at 29,4. Jaysesus, I’m pretty sure I can get an actual truck for this.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @28-cars. Yes a low option crew cab 4×4 Colorado will be within spitting distance of the Ridgeline from the standpoint of MSRP.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            All I know is that you can lease a RAM 1500 Express 4×4 crew cab for $188/month with $0 down.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I was thinking low option Silverado with $10,000 off as I see advertised everywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Full size truck MSRPs are truly ridiculous regardless of option package – yes I know dealers are willing to deal but YEEZUS!

            Local casino gave away an Impala in May that listed by them as having an MSRP of $38,000. That was a well optioned example. Now in June they are giving away a crew cab 4×4 Silverado and also listing an MSRP of $38,000. That truck has very little in the way of options.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “All I know is that you can lease a RAM 1500 Express 4×4 crew cab for $188/month with $0 down.”

            Just don’t expect to walk away from a front offset crash ;)

            I’m with ’28 on this. Full sized truck manufacturers often have huge discounts. My F150 cost less than a comparable Tacoma after discounts were factored in. The Colorado/Canyon so far has had zero rebates. Last fall I could have purchased a LTZ Silverado with 6.2 post rebates for the same price as a full load Colorado.
            I doubt Honda will have much on the hood once this finds its balance point.

            At the end of the day most buy small trucks because that is what they want. They seldom have a price advantage anymore especially since none of the small trucks have a reg cab.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I used to go water-skiing with friends on a boat we trailered. It was about 20 feet long and made by Bayliner or Wellcraft with a Volvo Penta B20 sterndrive. We started out towing it with an Isuzu P/Up diesel that could move it at all of 55 mph with the accelerator pinned under the floor mat. After a year or two, that was replaced with a new 4.3 liter GMC S15 4×4. The new truck had about 160 hp and 230 ft/lbs of torque. It probably weighed about 800 lbs less than the Ridgeline does, but it still had a power to weight ration that makes the Ridgeline look like a performance car. We’d load up that S15’s extended cab with people, the bed with gear, and tow the boat as fast as we wanted to. I don’t recall any trouble with rough boat ramps either. There’s plenty of towing that doesn’t involve two-car enclosed trailers or four-horse haulers. A Ridgeline can tow any sailboat that I want to have to rig before sailing. I’d own one if it was available with a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      They may state a 5k tow rating but the old Ridgeline couldn’t really tow more the 3k. Independent rear suspension and a 6cly that is low on low end torque make lousing towing vehicles. I can’t imagine this one is much batter. I’m not a Ridgeline hater, but I wouldn’t buy one to tow.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        There’s a difference between buying a vehicle to tow and using it to tow. I’ve towed with cars that didn’t make as much peak torque as the Ridgeline makes at idle. I’d rather have a suspension that works great the 97% of the time I’m not towing than one that flies the back tires over bumps whenever there isn’t a two hundred pound load on the rear bumper. Besides, I’ve talked to people that have been assigned Canyonados by their employers, and they’re awful to live with. The new Tacoma’s engine is supposed to be a dud compared to the old one. That pretty much leaves the Ridgeline.

  • avatar

    So, what is the promised catch?

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      The dorkmobile status conferred by aforementioned girlfriend?

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        The Ridgeline looks like a Pilot with a third of it’s roofline cut off and a seam cut down the rear third of its body. Maybe it’s the stance that makes it look dorky, as if it could use a few extra inches of wheelbase and a slightly longer bed to help balance out the proportions a bit better.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The bed line is still too high IMO, conveying the fake truck status.

          This thing is the equivalent to taking an Enclave and chopping the rear roof off – creating a Buick Excelero or whatever. People know this – they know it’s a Pilot and it’s off-putting!

          The fact that it suits their needs better never enters their minds, because it doesn’t have a Chevrolet badge on the front.

    • 0 avatar
      I_S

      Your manhood appears 3″ shorter to the casual BOF-riding observer.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Probably the “class-leading overall payload capacity” claim.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        If one considers the “big trucks as compensation” posts then it naturally follows that “class-leading overall payload capacity” must be in reference to that fact that you’d have to have porn star genitalia to be seen driving this.

  • avatar
    madman2k

    The EPA mileage is the same city, highway, and combined as my RWD F150 (2.7L engine, 3.31 gears).

    I see the MSRP starts at just under $30k, but it’d be interesting to compare prices of comparable option levels.

    If it were any other segment, I’d say the Honda would have much higher resale value. Here, I’m not so sure.

    This thing’s bound to be easier to park and more fun to drive around twisty roads, though.

  • avatar

    The irony being that with better handling and better fuel economy, this is probably a solid choice for most compact truck buyers, who commute in their vehicles more than any other activity. Here in ATL, I pass about five thousand compact pickups a day, and other than an occasional can of paint or tool box in the back, they’re almost all under-utilized for what they were designed for.

    Just like full-size pickups and SUV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I’ve seen a few of these on transport trucks in the last few days and actually kind of like them. Sadly, while it probably performs exactly in the ways that *most* folks who buy trucks would like/need, it doesn’t *look* like a testosterone-fueled big rig, and therefore will likely not sell in any great numbers. Perception (and appearance) is everything, and Americans are fairly clear on what they want out of a truck. But I like the idea of a truck that has enough of the utility without the punishing ride. May have to test drive one just because, not that I’m in the market anytime in the next five years for something like this though.

  • avatar
    ajla

    We need a V6 SH-AWD Accord Ute.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    See I can type notatruck and point and laugh at these but ultimately Honda is responding to your bad behavior proles. Largely you aren’t buying SUVs, you’re overpaying for Chevy Sparks, Honda Fits, Honda Civics, and Toyota Corollas with obnoxious wheels and a small rear hatch. Honda says me too but this time their Accord has a pickup bed. By your own logic, Honda should sell 800,000 of these and the “real” truck mfgs will have to run for cover, right?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It’s the Honda Baja!

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The Baja failed because it had no cargo o
        area. The bed was useless, and there’s no trunk.

        I really wanted one to replace my Ranger. Until I saw it in person, and realized it wasn’t practical.

        The Ridgeline looks like what the Baja needed to be. But, I haven’t seen it in person yet, so I could be wrong. I’ll take a look at one when they arrive here.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          The Baja could’ve succeeded if it had the midgate/folding window like the Avalanche. Much of the appeal of the Outback is that it has some 6 feet+ of potential cargo length, and the Baja’s bed halved that length.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        CoreyDL –

        Honchero?

        El Hondamino?

        Nah…… Honchero sounds better.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    From the tl;drbot:
    BAFO: Needs a deezil, plus other rambling nonsense
    BTSR: No HELLCAT engine, fail

  • avatar
    Dan

    Objectively beating out the other “compact” trucks is easy. Those trucks largely suck. They’re cramped, they ride badly, the Tacoma’s powertrain is unpleasant, and most damning of all only the ancient Frontier is meaningfully cheaper than the half ton you could have instead.

    Where’s the angle to buy one of these over an F-150?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Dan – hammer hits nail.
      We in the “West” don’t need to compromise to get what we want. Almost everyone I know who has a family that wants a truck has a full sized 1/2 crewcab pickup. The ones with small trucks haven’t gotten their kids out of diapers yet or don’t have large pets.
      When I first started my family I had a regular cab pickup. It worked okay with one child. I tried a Ranger crewcab and that was tolerable until child seat rules changed and my kids started to grow.

      I’ve looked at Tacoma’s and Colorado’s. My 14 year old is now 5’8″ and has size 11 feet. If I set the seat to where I’m comfortable in one of those, he isn’t happy. Load the dogs and it gets worse.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Where’s the angle to buy one of these over an F-150?”

      Handling, parking, driveability, generally not sucking for a commute?

      (I mean, that’s the angle it has; as the owner of an F250, I obviously don’t prioritize those.

      But the SuperDuty’s not my daily driver, either.)

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Looks better to me than the “faux-Avalance” look of the original. The avalanche, from front to rear, was the worst thing ever to happen to truck design.

    I’d buy it for the smooth J35 alone. But my truck needs are almost nil, and there’s a Uhaul store 1.2 miles from my house for the .01% of my life when I will need a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The second gen Avalanche looked fine. The midgate set up was really nice too.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      New avatar is new.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I don’t know if was approved by the TTAC Avatar Rezoning Committee.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It has not met with approval, in a vote of 2-18. Must revert back to inverted Acura tongs.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            Heh, I spent hundreds of hours (if not thousands) playing Doom and Doom 2 back in the 90’s. I got the new game for my birthday earlier this month. It motivated me to finally finish my new computer I was building, just to be able to play this game favorably.

            Tonight’s booked, so I’m installing it tomorrow. I ought to call in sick Wednesday, since there probably won’t be much sleep to be had.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Doom 2 was the first ever game I played which had any guns or violence in it. It scared the hell out of me at age 8 or so. Played it so much, and there were rooms/parts I wouldn’t go into if there were too many monsters! So I ended up using cheat codes to jump around to various levels (in God Mode) with tons of weapons.

            I probably should have just stuck to Wing Commander. Or that Lamborghini game where you bet and raced for pink slips, I can’t remember the name! There was also a primitive 3D game where you were in a Corvette and drove around a modeled San Francisco. There were NPC cars driving around, and the police could stop you and give you a ticket for various things – working traffic lights! Dunno the name of that one either, “Vette?”

            Anyway, I was not pleased with the graphics on the new Doom – they’re quite 2002 looking! Other than that I’ve sort of grown out of the shoot em up, but I admire they’ve made a new entry into a long dormant franchise.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Theres a new DOOM?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yes, just out past couple weeks!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Maybe, just MAYBE this is the first truck designed for women? Kind of like cute, pink, blinged-out concealed-carry pistols!

  • avatar
    dwford

    “Honda has effectively forced us into an ultimatum: do you take the smart buy or one that reaffirms your inner man?”

    That really is the crux of it. Like it or not many if not most pickups are bought for the Marlboro Man image they project, and driving a pickup truck that looks like a minivan isn’t going to work for most guys. It would be a simple fix for Honda to give it a more masculine front and, but if that’s what they wanted they would have done it to begin with.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    Is this an advertisement or a review?

  • avatar
    bryanska

    How is the NVH?

    I’m thinking of ditching the 300C for one of these.

  • avatar
    truecarhipsterdouche

    What Honda has with the new Ridgeline is the perfect urban hipster lifestyle vehicle. It does everything for the trend followers, so long as you don’t go extreme.

    Carry your 100 lbs of organic produce from the CSA to your home and your hipster foodie pals? Check.

    Carry your mountain bikes without a need for a hitch or douchey roofmount that you leave on your car all year round for the 3x you actually use it? Check.

    Get you up the asphalt paved mountain roads to the pull off area so you can hike a mile and a half into the trails…take some nature selfies to post on IG, then go visit the “dispensary”? Check.

    Has little secret compartments other nifty cubby holes and such to hide your “dank nugs” to haul back to your urban living space? Check.

    Play music for you and your hipster gals and buds at the 3 day camp are at the music festival while getting blitzed and drunk out of your mind?

    I can go on….as you can see….there is no need for the “Only in a Jeep” experience if you’re “not about that Jeep life” which is a whole other list of prereqs…such as “needing a vehicle to feel cool and trendy” even though I can barely drive and never go off road, unless you count my neighbor’s lawn when I have to make a u-turn.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Lotta 60-something urban hipsters out there?

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Jealous much?

      Whether it’s frequent minor-duty bulky Home Depot runs, getting my bikes up a light trail, or transporting my kid’s summer lawn-care equipment around, this makes sense. It can also haul a fishing boat or mini-camper.

      Plus it doesn’t drive like a truck.

      Honda will sell a lot of these….not F-150 levels, but maybe Ram levels….

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      TCHD,

      You’ve described every crossover, SUV and/or pickup in the marketplace. And most of the horses.

      I guess the only authentic vehicle left is the church van. Until it gets sold to some urban-folk group and becomes a poseur-mobile…

      Wild guess: you are bitter because you never got invited to these parties?

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Naw, most crossovers and SUVs need a rack to move bikes effectively, at least.

        And a full size pickup isn’t “urban”; they’re too awkward to park.

        (I mean, I live in Urban Hipster Central Portland … and I barely see Ridgelines around ever.

        I can’t drive for five minutes without more Subarus (especially) and Volvo wagons than I can count, though.)

        Contra OP-troll, the smart hipsters visit the “dispensary” *before* the hike, and don’t need to hide their “nugs”, because “legal”.

  • avatar
    boozysmurf

    So, with a Genesis Coupe that sees more modification every summer, and an aging ’05 Forester (which is unlikely to pass emissions in the fall, due to a multitude of evap codes that are proving difficult and expensive to track down), AND a 36 year old wife who is finally learning to drive, I’m in the market for something: primarily because,
    I don’t care if the Forester fails on me, but I have a big problem if it strands her.

    We’d been looking for the “right tool for the job”, as you do.

    That list had been SUV’s under $30k cdn, and the Dodge Caravan. Why the Caravan? Well, with the Canadian Value Package, it’s a definite value proposition, that’ll still do the home depot run that people talk about with disdain, but everyone still does. It doesn’t, however, tow my parent’s boat, which I move around for them (the Forester does but… not well), nor does it provide for heavy landscaping work, which I still delve into at home.

    Funnily enough, the wife isn’t a car person. But, there is one vehicle that has consistently, without exception, made her apoplectic with rage every time she sees one.

    The 2005-14 Ridgeline.

    She. Hates. It. Passionately. Everything about its looks makes her angry. She does not hate the Pilot.

    I know, I don’t understand, either.

    So, I saw the ’17 Ridgeline, and started reading some reviews, as it started to hit. Watched some extended Youtube reviews as well. And came to the conclusion that, despite being higher priced than we were thinking about, it bore looking at. It does a number of things for us (including a flat interior floor in the back for the 90lb lab at home).
    With great trepidation, I sent it to her, and outlined all the things that it actually presses the buttons for her that she wants in a vehicle.

    There was no discussion of it for a few days.

    Then she comes to me and says “I hate the old Ridgeline so much. But this one… this is pretty much everything I want in a vehicle, and in the pictures, I don’t hate it. We have to go look at one”.

    At whichpoint, I had to tell her they’re not on the lots yet (Not in Canada, at least) so we have to wait.

    But, I think that defines what they’re looking for in this truck. It’s the anti-truck truck. The vast majority of truck buyers only want one to do a few truck-like things (Home depot for yard supplies, maybe a yard of soil, once or twice a year, DIY supplies like drywall and 2x4s, etc) and some light towing: 5000lbs is a lot, and so is a 1500lb payload. 98% of the world doesn’t need more than that.
    And if they do, they can rent a fullsize for $70 for four hours, tax and insurance in, at UHaul.

    What this does is actually provide a quiet, comfortable ride, for the 90% of the year that’s what you want, a ton of storage space, between the “trunk” and bed, and room for 4-5 people, while providing reasonable fuel economy.

    Even though it’s basing around $36k CDN, this will be high on our list. I gotta say, on paper, I really like it.

    And I don’t like trucks, generally.

    Which is kinda the point.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You make good arguments but you neglect cost. Honda isn’t giving you the capability the competition does, now while you may not need it, at similar cost its something you’re missing out on. Now if Honda priced it under the true truck competition, it becomes much more compelling for the reasons you cited.

      • 0 avatar
        boozysmurf

        I don’t think I neglected cost: potentially, we’re trading SOME unneeded capacity/capability, for increased comfort and fuel-economy (and, a couple of features, like the flat floor under the rear seats) which are actually important to us, and negate looking at the Canyon/Colorado.

        I test drove a Colorado recent, and I’m looking forward to comparing that experience to the Ridgeline. Despite my not-love of trucks, I was pretty impressed with the Colorado. But it’s massive, and I just don’t need the capacity, at all. The only way to get the fuel economy up to the Ridgeline’s would be to opt diesel, and that would push the price up into the low $40k CDN range.

        I think what Honda may have done is filled a mid-size niche that the others weren’t filling: the desire for something that looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, but isn’t QUITE a duck. I’ve a feeling these may do very well. I’m still also not 100% certain its the vehicle for myself/the wife, but it’s going on the list for a test-drive (right now, the test drive is the Caravan, RAV4, Forester, and Ridgeline… my kingdom for a proper (midzise) wagon under $35k.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Features will set models apart, but mileage isn’t quite the difference I thought it would be. US EPA has Ridgeline FWD at 22 combined and Silverado RWD (C15 2WD) at 19 combined. Assuming there is no need for AWD or 4×4, for similar money I’ll spend the 3 mpg even if it was overkill for my needs.

          Additional: I’m not sure what pricing is like in Canada, but here with incentives one can obtain a Silverado for around Ridgeline MSRP. If this isn’t the case in Canada please disregard the mileage comparison.

          19
          combined
          city/highway
          MPG
          City MPG:16
          city
          Highway MPG:23

          22MPG
          EPA Combined city/hwy
          19 / 26

          http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=37403

          https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/2016_Chevrolet_Silverado.shtml

          The wagon would probably work best but we’re not allowed to have those in North America.

          • 0 avatar
            boozysmurf

            Oh, I’ve got money ready for a Levorg, if Subaru deigns to bring them to North America.

            Honestly, I don’t do a ton of mileage: I commute by bike (bicycle)(summer) and foot (winter): it’s about 6km/4miles. No point driving in my mind. Some winter days, Yeah, if it’s -40oC windchill, or forecast 50cm of snow. She commutes by bus (no parking at work for her, anyway)

            But for the distance it’s going to go (parents place (400km away), brother’s place (650km away) cottage (300km away) that fuel economy will help. And, we (well, I, but the wife is learning from me) tend to not be of the set to trade in every two years to impress the neighbours: We’ll drive it into the ground, which means even with 10000km/year on it, the 3mpg/couple of litres per 100km will really help.

            Canada ONLY gets AWD: no FWD available, so, again, the comparable in terms of a Chevy/GMC pushes up in price. Our base price is reputed to be about $36,500 with awd/no-nav, and I don’t see many features I’d care to spend-up for (Winter tires will happen, though: Ottawa gets its share of cold and snow).

            And, that flat floor under the back seat: without that, I can’t even consider a truck. We actually NEED that space. I’d have to build a platform for the Colorado, to do the same job. Kid-seat on one side of the split, dog on the flat-side.

            Apparently, the actual-people-room in the back of the ridgeline is superior to the Colorado too, but I was pretty impressed with the GMC/Chevy, in terms of back seat space, so the ridgeline will have to work hard to impress me on that.

            It’s going to be interesting going to see it, once they’re on the show room floors, that’s for sure.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I didn’t realize FWD wasn’t available, this probably also means in trucks 4×4 is probably required which invalidates my comparison.

            The more you explain your situation the more I do see you as the niche Honda is looking to satisfy, let us know how your look at the new Ridgeline goes.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            boozysmurf – the Ridgeline makes sense if you don’t really want a traditional pickup.
            In some respects it is the best of both worlds.
            1. The “trunk” is no different in use than that of a car trunk or dry box “job box” in the back of a standard pickup.
            2. It has a open box like a traditional pickup for bulky and/or smelly loads. That 90 lb Lab isn’t going to be very inviting in the cab after a swim through a swamp in the summer time.
            3. It can carry 4-5 passengers in comfort.
            4. It has AWD for winter or “soft-road” use. My 20 ft long supercrew isn’t making anyone in a Rubicon worried either.
            5. It has decent MPG
            6. It has a very good payload rating. People forget that payload also includes occupants of the cabin. It is on par with even my F150.
            I can add a lot more virtues.

            In my case I have always been a truck guy and like traditional truck attributes. Like I said earlier, this would be what I’d suggest to my spouse if she wanted a truck since she isn’t going to use it like I would want to use it.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        If you are buying a midsize truck as a daily driver, and plan to use it just for commuting and routine lightweight trucky jobs, which would you rather have: extra capability that you may never use in the lifetime of the truck, or smoother ride, better handling, and roomier interior that benefit you every day?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I really admire Honda’s V6, but a pushrod GM engine is chicken soup for my soul, so I’d have to go for the Sierra/Silverado.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          dal20402 – that basically sums it up. I use the “extra” capabilities of my truck enough times a year to warrant it. I wouldn’t want to pound this down a logging road for two hours one way with 1500 lbs in the box either.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Considering other auto critic’s had noted the lack of steering feel was dangerous at high speeds in the Pilot. And this is essentially a Pilot with a pickup bed placed in the back. How did you view the steering??

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’m curious to her more details in regards to the offroad part of Honda’s test course. I think the Ridgeline would really stink at a loose and uneven climb. My impression is that the electronics don’t allow for enough torque for a rear wheel to climb a hill when the truck is flexed-out over uneven terrain. One gen 1 ridgeline forums there have been a few documented cases of trucks getting stuck in totally innocuous situations where the rear end gives up the ghost.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    I can get over the looks of this one, unlike the 1st gen Ridgeline. The 5.25′ bed would still be a deal-breaker for me. Having come from a pickup with 8′ bed and currently owning one with a 6.5′ bed, I’ve decided that that is the shortest bed length that works with what I use a pickup for.

  • avatar
    Rday

    My 11 year old RIdge is doing just fine. Love much about it but the mileage is somewhat mediocre. Will only sell it if I get A 1 ton dually to pull a fifth wheel. Hate the thought of a GMC diesel but that is the way things are looking. What i hate about Detroit is the fact that they seem to care less about the safety and satisfaction of their customers…something HOnda and toyota take very seriously. A party for my Ram Promaster just came in and it was only on order for about a year.Great service FCA has, yes indeed.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’m a noted Honda fanboy, but I could see buying this. I need 95% commuter, 5% truck, so this makes more sense to me than a traditional pickup. The RL comes with all the toys in top trim that makes a TLX desirable to me (heated/cooled seats, heated wheel, torque vectoring, blah blah) plus gives me a spot to carry mulch, tools, lumber, etc, that I do about 1-2 weekends a month. Biggest problem with me is that by the time I’m ready for my next car, I will be done with my house remodel and my need for a truck will drop to 1%. Still might buy one just to have something different.

  • avatar
    John R

    In the fight between PlayStation and Xbox Nintendo wisely chose a different route with the Wii (the Wii U is…a separate matter) and were better for it.

    I feel like Honda did the right thing. Hopefully, doing the right thing is profitable.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    And here we go with the machismo again; some people simply don’t care about machismo, they’re confident enough in themselves to choose something that looks and very likely is more efficient for their needs in size, performance and economy. Personally, I like the more aerodynamic look over the other mid-size and larger pickups in the US.

    The people who currently own a Ridgeline, and I know several, prefer it over the other trucks because it’s simply more practical overall for them. It’s more economical than any other truck built in their day, smaller than full sized (though admittedly bigger than the mid-size of the day, meaning the older Colorado and Tacomas, etc.) The under-bed ‘trunk’ is a highly popular feature, praised by every owner I know. And none of them ever complained about having to unload the bed to change tires.

    The Ridgeline is clearly designed for the true light-duty user; as Honda itself called it, a sport-utility truck (SUT). Personally, we need quite a few more of this type, though of a smaller size. You’d be surprised how many people would buy a true compact like this.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Can we just agree that ‘Murica still makes the best full size pick-ups?

    Thanks.

    I know, I know. The Ridgeline is different.

    Suppose if I needed a Pilot with a short box, then hey… why not. Ridgeline all the way.

    But it should, in theory, last a very long time. ‘Cause Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “Can we just agree that ‘Murica still makes the best full size pick-ups?”

      Yep, I’ll hop off the Nippon Maru for that one.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Are they really pitching this as full-size? The competitors cited were mid-sized.

        • 0 avatar
          06V66speed

          No, no. This is definitely mid-sized.

          Forgive me. I’m trying to shake this summer cold and I’ve been seemingly bubble-headed/scatter-brained ever since.

          True story.

          Regardless, there ain’t no truck like a ‘Murican truck.

          Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to down a 12 pack of Budweiser while jamming to Kid Rock and shooting some skeet. Of course, that’s after I get my mullet trimmed up first. #murica

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          IIRC the original was touted as a full-sized challenger.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Kenmore,
        Who else builds full size pickups? Doh!

        The Germans?

        The Germans actually build the worlds best full size pickup. The AMG G Wagen 6×6. Now that will be a hard pickup to beat.

        But, I’ll let you think what you are thinking.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @BARFO – “Who else builds full size pickups?”

          What is the cost of that military G Wagon 6×6?

          What is the cost of that AMG 6×6?

          How many do they build per year?

          “But, I’ll let you think what you are thinking.”

          HA HA

          No freckin’ way.

    • 0 avatar
      truecarhipsterdouche

      Are you saying 06V66speed, since this is just a chopped Pilot, Honda should have just chopped the name as well and called it a “Pile” ?

      • 0 avatar
        06V66speed

        Lmao

        I likes my Honda cars, now. I just think Honda should stick to cars, you know.

        Perhaps I’m a little biased, seeing as my Accord Coupe shares driveway space with my ’99 1500 ‘Burban. (insert ‘Murica joke here ____).

        They’re odd bedfellows but they’re both seemingly good at what they do. My ’06 Accord Coupe being a f*cking fantastic commuter and our humble ’99 Suburban hauling all of us to the river, campsite, etc. + all of our stuff and capable of pulling a trailer, too (we’re in the market now for a pontoon boat, lol).

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      06V66speed,
      So, if the US is the only country making full size pickups, you could also state it builds the worse full size pickups as well.

      But, does the US build the best pickups??

      • 0 avatar
        06V66speed

        Depends on what you mean by “does the US build the best pickups??”.

        I was inferring that American *manufacturers* build (arguably, mind you) the best full-size pick-ups. Not that the best full-size pick-ups are built in the US. That’s important to differentiate because.. if I’m not mistaken, the Toyota Tundra is built in the US… ‘cept, not by an American company.

        Wording can be fickle.

        But yes, I would agree with the notion that American *manufacturers* make the best full-sized pick-ups. Better than the Titan. Better than the Tundra. Abso. Lutely.

        • 0 avatar
          06V66speed

          Just this past weekend, I was enjoying a day on a river here outside St. Louis, MO. Swimming. Taking in the sunshine. Enjoying an adult beverage or six.

          There was a boat launch there, as well.

          Now… seemingly every truck I saw on tow duty was either a Chevy (most common), Ford, or Dodge.

          Try as I might, but I looked and looked and looked even harder for an import truck pulling a boat. Jet ski. Pontoon.

          Nary a one.

          But I did see a healthy smattering of much older domestic pick-ups and Suburbans putting in work.

          IIRC you’re from Australia. It’s an educated guess, I’m not that fimilar with you, but I do know you’ve been commenting here for quite a while.

          I take it Nissan Patrols, Land Cruisers, and even Land Rovers are a big deal down in “Oz” (given you are from Australia). And forgive me if my assumption is skewed, aside from a brief overview of Australia back in grade school and the occasional viewing of “Crocodile Dundee”, I’m for the most part, largely unfamiliar with your country. But here- at least in my humble experience outside St. Louis, MO- we just don’t see those vehicles much.

          So, I can understand you’re scoffing at my preference for the domestic pick-up, being from Australia and all. But as hit-and-miss as American cars are, American trucks are still (IMHO) top of the heap in terms of durability.

          So, yeah. Excuse me while I bask in patriotism for a brief moment. *looks at Old Glory blowing in the breeze*

          Honda makes a decent runabout. As reliable as Civics are and as much as I like my Accord, this truck is more wannabe truck than anything else.

          If I wanted to buy my wife a cute “truck” which was dependable more than anything else really, I would give this here Ridgeline a gander.

          But no, no. It doesn’t hold a flame to a full size domestic pick-up. But to be fair, I’m sure it gives the Colorado/Canyon/etc. a run for its money. After all, it is a Honda. And last time I checked… they don’t build crap.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I’ll bite.

        Tundra and Tacoma both are built in the USA and both have exceptionally good durability ratings.

        The Ram 1500 is built for the most part in the USA and has the worst ratings. The HD Ram’s are built in Mexico and statistically have the poorest ratings.

        Ford and GM occasionally have the best durability ratings but that tends to be towards the end of the model run.

        The Colorado/Canyon siblings are almost too new to have listed durability ratings but should be typically crappy for the fist few years.

        Now if we use BARFO logic then the only good truck in America would be the diesel Colorado or Canyon followed by the Ram 1500 ecodiesel and the can’t haul a wet paper bag Titan XD.

        That about sum it up?

  • avatar
    carguy

    The Honda Ridgeline is to trucks what the Audi TT is to sports cars.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I wouldn’t be surprised if these outsell the first-gen Ridgelines, but, a FWD pickup truck? Lol. I wouldn’t buy one. I don’t need 4WD, but there’s no way in hell I’d buy a FWD pickup.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    And the styling of first-gen Ridgeline reminds me more of the Pontiac Aztek than the Chevy Avalanche.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    So it’s a great midsize truck for most uses of midsize trucks, but may not be suitable for insecure people. Got it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Don’t get no admirin’ looks from the machos at Lowe’s parkin lot. Cannot buy.

    • 0 avatar
      MisterNoisy

      And that’s why it will continue to do small numbers – the people buying pickups now are buying them based on preparedness for scenarios that don’t exist for anyone but marketers.

      CAN IT SURVIVE A BUNCH OF 20# ROCKS DROPPED INTO THE BED FROM TEN FEET? (it’s worth noting that the Ridgeline poops on ‘real’ trucks from a great height in this test)

      CAN IT TOW THE FRACKIN’ SPACE SHUTTLE??

      DOES IT MAKE MY PEEN LOOK BIGGER? THIS IS IMPORTANT!

      Those people will not buy a Ridgeline. The guy that uses it as a commuter and make a trip every quarter or so to Home Depot for mulch or a couple of 4x8s? It’s perfect for him, but why have perfect when you can drop another $10K financed over eight years for way too much? The neighbor has way too much, so why shouldn’t I?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        MisterNoisy – I’m willing to bet that you’ll be able to get a comparably equipped full sized pickup for similar if not less price. Full sized truck makers like to throw around rebates.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    When it grows up, it wants to be a Japanese Silverado.

    WHY YOU NO LAUGH??!!

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I own a butt fugly pickup. But it proportionally looks like a “pickup”. This is just odd looking.

    The bed does look out of place, I don’t mind the front end.

    The average trailer weight towed in the US is 5 000lbs. So theoretically it would be able to suit a large portion of potential pickup customers, if you cold gt over the looks of it.

    I hope it does well and seems like a much better pickup for daily driving than BOF pickups.

    It needs a diesel as well. This would make it very economical and a better tow vehicle, if you want to tow a few thousand pounds or so.

    90% of full size 1/2 ton and midsize buyers would get away just owning one of these, and it handles.

    Nice ute Honda, I wonder how they would sell here in Australia?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @BARFO – once again you misquote or misinterpret facts.

      The average 1/2 ton pickup owner tows around 5k. Ram kept quoting that number when it opted out of the “my truck can tow more than yours” Ford/GM 1/2 ton truck wars.

      The average HD owner tows around 10k. That statistic was often quoted by GM since they chose to opt out of the “my truck can tow more than yours” HD diesel wars.

      If this truck can tow 5k then that means it is towing at its max ratings. LOOK at the previous tow numbers.

      No one likes to tow near or at max ratings.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Ok, honest question here. Not loaded at all.

    For all my fellow geezers that remember the seventies and eighties and the mini-truck market in which I learned to drive (I even had all the Stompers!): Why did Honda skip the entire segment? They CAN do rwd, their lawn equipment and utility vehicles sell well, even their boat motors are arguably very good. So why not?

    Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Datsun, ALL started with small trucks. Success forced the domestics into captured imports, etc., but why not Honda? Yes, I have the Google, but the B & B here often have some inside info. This question occurred to me at lunch today idling next to an original gold B2000, and it seems like having not built a pickup heritage back then might be really hurting them.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      ” it seems like having not built a pickup heritage back then might be really hurting them.”

      How is having that heritage helping the Japanese OEMs that do? Tacos sell some but not Tundras, Nissan… pfft. Talking US market only, that is.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      During in the Mini-Truck Craze, “luxury trucks” meant air conditioning, cassette player, auto trans, and maybe cruise. No crew cabs. But fleet sales were just part of the deal. Honda has a *no fleet* policy, at least not “officially”.

      The original Ridgeline went completely without regular cabs or extra cabs, strippers or otherwise, starting at mid-trim crews, a Ford Sport Trac “innovation”, sidestepping fleets.

    • 0 avatar
      truecarhipsterdouche

      Willyam…I do remember that time period and I had the Stompers as well!!! I also remember the SCCA racing division and let me tell you…those little trucks provided some highly entertaining racing.

      https://youtu.be/ZnSYj1hAPs0

      But I digress, I believe Honda’s success in selling cars and trying to keep up with demand and concentrating on core competencies ultimately left them from building a little pickup. I’m sure they could have…but why spread engineering R&D…plus they were gearing up for launching Acura.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Good point, and Honda might have been too busy for mini-trucks, except Toyota and Datsun each had way more car choices/models/lines, still managed the top selling, kick butt mini-trucks and founded Lexus and Infiniti right after the debut of Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          One thing to keep in mind is that Honda was a much smaller and younger manufacturer than the other Japanese makes. They had their hands full building Civics and Accords in the ’70s, and there was occasional pressure from the Japanese government to merge or sell out to one of the big manufacturers. Honda did build various kei trucks over the years.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Is that rear bumper part of the body? If so that is the stupidest oversight on a pickup in the history of trucks.

    Regardless, the B&B like it so in the long run it will fail, the curse has been set.

  • avatar
    86er

    Women buy trucks as well. More all the time.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I find this and the Pilot impressive.

    However, I MUCH preferred the old boxy looking of both to this new one.

    The old Pilot especially was a nice, boxy, somewhat beefy (image is important) looking, nice and roomy SUV. The new one looks like a minivan with doors.

    It is a bit too bad. I wouldn’t choose either simply based on style, no matter how good they are.

    Honda needs a midsize/large 5 passenger V6 model. The old Pilot at least could be used like this without looking ridiculous. Now there is a large hole.

    And the Ridgeline must look beefier. Nobody gonna choose this over the competition that actually looks somewhat tough.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Apparently, the next-gen CR-V will be mid-size, and the HR-V will be compact [citation needed]. It’s amazing how large the CR-V looks already even though it hasn’t gained an inch in any dimension over the past 20 years (and has in fact gotten lower).

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        CR-V could use a little more power as well; it can get out of its own way, but the CVT blunts things enough.

        Knowing the route Honda’s going, a 2.0T would do wonders for it.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Both, North and South California get plenty of snow in the mountains. California is one of the few places in the world where you get to ski and surf on the same day, if you wish. If you live in some flat place like Texas or Midwest, the only way you get to ski is to take a week-long vacation from work, and then spend ridiculous bucks on travel and hotel. But in California, you get to a ski resort from basically any point on Friday night, and then return on Sunday. A few times, I have even gotten up at 5am, drove up to Tahoe from the Bay Area, skied, and then returned the same day. This was very tiring, but I kind of made my point. Some Tahoe and Central California ski resorts stay open as late as May and June. Lake Tahoe area offers some of the best skiing in the world, and on a snowy day, some of those ski resorts can be quite challenging to reach unless you have AWD and decent tires. During the snowstorms, the roads are often closed and no one without either AWD/4WD or tire chains is allowed to proceed.

  • avatar
    bladewheels

    Thanks for the report Mark, enjoyed reading it.
    My significant other has decided the shortest path to nirvana is camping in a fibreglass trailer. Now that we’ve found one (1100 lbs) we need to trade our Civic in on something that she believes is fit to purpose – the New RidgeLine is golden, in her eyes. There’s no reasoning with the woman. I think a turbo ‘busa with a passenger backrest would work fine…

  • avatar
    Powerlurker

    How are the rear doors? I’ve heard complaints that they are awkward to get in for passengers and that actually putting the 55″ flat-screen demonstrated on the website would require removing the doors.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm_525

      Interesting. I just fit a 60″ Samsung plasma (in box) in my old model Ridgeline in the back seat area. I have heard some grumblings too about rear door access.

  • avatar

    that car show better than the Hilux especially for those who enjoy SUV

  • avatar
    415s30

    It’s a great truck or people who don’t need a huge truck, most people don’t. I have a 2006 CRV and it’s good for me because I don’t tow anything, handles well in and out of the city.

  • avatar
    quadrum

    i am driving my 3rd ridgeline, and am a mechanical contractor, albeit an owner running a business. i have used all 3 ridgelines as work vehicles, usually delivering or picking up materials, as well as my primary vehicle ( a 993 and superformance cobra are fun vehicles, a bmw x1 more used, so i am a car person) and find it a much better vehicle than my previous chev pu’s or an errant ranger. it tows adequately my boat, 2000#, and a small backhoe trailer, 4500#, so my work experience is that it is an adequate truck. i have records of all fuel put in the 3 ridgelines, and the 05 got approx 15.5 mpg, the 10 approx 19.4 mpg, my present 13 18.9 mpg, in mostly semi-rural non- hyway driving. it gets better mileage than all my pickups(own 4)by 2-8 mpg. so much for the comments that the mileage is less than other pickups. my brother’s 15 ram 1500 regular cab short box w/hemi is very good, at 15.7 mpg, but i do better with the ridgeline.
    i just drove a 17, and it is far superior to the old model, much more comfortable, and quieter at speed- the pilot front end is superior to the blunt old design. as soon as the ridgelines are plentiful, and discounted, (i’m cheap), i will be purchasing one. for work. can’t wait.

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