By on July 12, 2017

2017 Honda Ridgeline

The Ford Ranger is poised to return to the domestic market in 2019, accompanied by all the fanfare befitting a junior American icon. Unless the Blue Oval totally botches the job, everyone anticipates the reborn Ranger becoming a big seller in the midsize truck market.

However, there’s already a smaller pickup syphoning off volume from its rivals before the Ranger can avail itself. While sales of most midsize truck models have been cooled by the gentle breeze of market stagnation, Honda’s second-generation Ridgeline has returned with a vengeance, enjoying favorable reviews and posting sales volume not witnessed in over a decade. While Honda still doesn’t move nearly as much midsized metal as Toyota’s Tacoma (which sold 191,631 units in the U.S. in 2016), the Ridgeline proves there is space in the marketplace for more than just body-on-frame offerings. 

“This is a very capable truck that meets the needs of a vast majority of buyers,” Jeff Conrad, general manager of American Honda told Bloomberg. “For somebody who doesn’t care about towing 8,000 pounds … it’s perfect.”

Unfortunately, a large portion of truck buyers actually do care about towing capacity — especially on larger vehicles. But just how big a factor it is for the fluctuating midsize truck segment is debatable. The Ridgeline seems perfectly serviceable for persons of the small-business persuasion and anybody wanting a daily driver that can haul a reasonable load from time to time. It also has garnered loads of accolades and awards for its above-average interior, unparalleled safety, and superb handling characteristics. But it isn’t necessarily the “truck guy’s” pickup.

This is strongly reflected by the type of people buying them. Honda isn’t just stealing sales from its rivals, it’s bringing new buyers into the midsize truck market. In the last 12 months North American buyers have purchased over 40,000 Ridgeline pickups, and the automaker claims it could have sold more if the factory wasn’t already operating at full volume.

Buyers, especially former sedan shoppers, don’t seem to mind that Honda is offering a chopped-and-screwed Pilot as its pickup alternative. In fact, their shared DNA may be the Ridgeline’s greatest strength. At the very least, the manufacturer seems to understand its pickup is a different from the rest of the pack. It doesn’t sell the vehicle with a bevy of truck-like options and the majority of its television spots have featured wholesome DIY home projects, instead of promising masculine off-road adventures. Ads have also focused on the quality of its ride and fuel economy, rather than how lumpy you can make the tires.

“We didn’t want to try to out-tough the tough guys,” Conrad says. “Ford and GM have been doing their type of advertising for many, many years. It’s not really the nature of our truck — or our buyers.”

This leaves us wondering how Ford will handle the Ranger’s return. Honda is offering something the competition isn’t and, while it doesn’t check all of the boxes, there are good reasons to consider one in you’re in the market for midsize pickup. But it may not be a big enough blip on Ford’s radar to force changes on the upcoming truck. The assumed methodology for bringing the Ranger back into the U.S. is to facelift the existing global market vehicle, start American production, then pop champagne corks. However, if Ford doesn’t want Honda to continue its encroachment, it may want to consider offering something that sets it apart from body-on-frame competitors — because that strategy seems to be working.

[Image: Honda]

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81 Comments on “Honda Ridgeline Gobbling up Midsize Market Share Before Ford Ranger Gets the Chance...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I just cant cause…well its ugly..very ugly. I know some folks dont care about that and it seem 1990ish to want a nicely styled vehicle. But I can with this one.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Saw my first one in the wild this past weekend. Beautiful blue but the styling was awkward. The Gen I Ridgeline wouldn’t win any beauty contests but it was authentic, the new Ridgeline tries too hard to look like a pickup truck and just doesn’t look right. Also the one I saw had a lot of shiny trim, which just also didn’t seem to fit the looks of the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Looks like something from Australia!

        The lot stuffing is what Tummy fails to mention. Autotrader (US) shows almost 3,000 Ridgeline or 8% on dealership lots. Don’t know how many go else where in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      focus-ed

      I saw one yesterday on my commute home. At 1st I just concluded that nothing can help Honda Pilot (ugly front and rear). And then I realized it was a “pickup”. Too large for a small truck yet not big enough for a true work truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      To each their own, CD. To me, this and the Colorado are the best looking trucks available simply because I despise the fake Big Rig look promulgated by the others. These are much more reminiscent of the ’70s and ’80s models before they blew the grill up all out of proportion to their purpose.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Honda Ridgeline: A truck for people who think Taco Bell food is spicy.
    Honda Ridgeline: Set navigation to the birdfeeder store.
    Honda Ridgeline: For that deck you’ve always wanted to build.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      And the problem with building a deck is . . . . . ?

      My only grump with it is the four doors. As long as it can haul a flatbed trailer that’ll carry a motorcycle smaller than a Gold Wing, I’d be happy.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      This is about how 99% of truck owners actually use their trucks, so the improved fuel economy and handling and actual daily usability aren’t really negatives. If they beefed up the tow rating it’d probably be even more popular lol.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      And the problem with that is what? The capabilities of the Ridgeline fit rather well into 98% of what I’d likely use a truck for could I afford one. I have a small house and a small yard, so being able to haul garbage, dirt/mulch, plants, etc…would be easily done in something like this without going full-on F-150/Silverado. I’m glad that folks are buying them and that there is room in the market for a solid vehicle like this. It may not be a chest-thumping testosterone-laden rig, but it’s likely the new truck I’d be looking at (again, if I could afford one).

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Honda Ridgeline: A truck for people who think Taco Bell food is spicy.
      Honda Ridgeline: Set navigation to the birdfeeder store.
      Honda Ridgeline: For that deck you’ve always wanted to build.

      —- HEY! You got one out of three right! But first base is not a home run. More people than not simply don’t need heavy hauling or heavy towing capacity. They just need a light hauler for those things you don’t want to carry inside the the vehicle due to smell, mess or just simply bulk of whatever they’re carrying.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    Folks buying a Ridgeline aren’t even considering a Ranger.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      If not the Ranger, then what were they considering?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Exactly. And why should Ford be worried, what about Nissan’s very dated Frontier? Why shouldn’t GM and Toyota worry, if Ford should? Ford’s truck will be more like standard truck players, and that’s all Ford should be worried about with the Ranger.

      I don’t get what the author thinks is a solution, unless its a full redesign the Ranger program, to make it unibody to compete directly with Honda, because Hondas idea is “working”? Makes no sense.

      That would be taking much bigger groups of customers out of the Ford showroom and sending them into GM’s, Toyota’s or Nissan’s. And probably Honda’s too, since its likely that a lot those buying the Ridgeline wouldn’t be caught dead in a (gasp) Ford.

      If Ford did such a thing, this is how Ford’s pickup truck lineup could/should work:

      Transit Courior- small unibody truck based on Ford Transit Connext (they have the name trademarked already). Appeals to college kids, retirees on a budget, auto parts stores and utilities as well as other traditional compact Ranger buyers. This version would have to be built in North America, and they might as well add regular Transit Connect to it to end the chicken tax on them once and for all.

      Ranger: Midsize BOF truck, a revised and updated version of the current global T6 Ranger.

      If the Ridgeline proves to be a long term viable success, unlike the last one…

      Explorer Sport Trac: unibody midsize truck, it would be based off the next-gen Explorer and compete directly with Ridgeline.

      Full size truck- F-Series.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Updated global Ranger?

        No. Like the Colorado a ‘Muricanized lesser version.

        • 0 avatar
          DearS

          Agreed. As a duplex owner, the Ranger is not on my list, not till it proves itself. Ridgeline is. We have a couple of Honda Pilots in the fam, a ridgeline looks pretty great, even the first Gen.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I honestly would not be opposed to that Transit Connext concept, JT; at least it’d be smaller and easier to maneuver than its larger brethren. Only one problem: It’s a Ford. I’ve never had good luck with a Ford product… NEVER.

  • avatar
    deanst

    So we’re celebrating 40,000 sales of this, while endlessly lamenting the midsize deathwatch vehicles which sell 3 or 4 times as much?

  • avatar
    turf3

    Two questions:

    1) Will the Ranger come with an 8 foot bed in any configuration?

    2) Why doesn’t the Ridgeline have a fold-down panel at the front of the bed, and fold-down rear seats, so you can carry long things? If I can do it in my Accord, why can’t I do it in a Ridgeline?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Quite possibly GM holds that patent and Honda doesn’t want to pay up. The Avalanche did this (02-13) and did the Escalade EXT. The Subaru Baja had a “hatch” which was different from the GM midgate and close to useless for anything beyond a rolled up carpet or 8′ lumber

      The Midgate isn’t easy from an engineering standpoint. Complex seals, ability to bear significant weight both open and closed, hinge mechanism that can deal with sand and other fine particle matter, consideration for exhaust fumes not flowing back into the cab when open, does the window come out or not to give a larger opening, bed panels yes or no, on or off, or both.

      The Midgate was quite the achievement. To your point, it is a significant feature. Full disclosure; owned two Avalanches (an ’02 and daily driver is an ’11). The ability to convert to a water tight 8′ bed regular cab truck in seconds is a big benefit (10 feet 2″ with the bed open).

      The only weakness in the GM system is the plastic frame around the removable window. During offroading body flex can twist the window, resulting in the plastic frame cracking. If the crack is big enough you get a water leak. GM improved the frame around ’05 and cracks went from when to if, but the can still happen. A metal frame that can’t flex would result in a broken rear window. Normal driving won’t cause this issue, think serious off-roading, which 98% of Avalanches will never see.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I kind of secretly covet a clean gen 1 Avalanche, a 2500 with the 8.1L while we’re dreaming, but more practically a Z71 with the regular small-block. Truly a do-it-all vehicle in a reasonably (by truck standards) sized package.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          It is a unique idea, one of GM’s best and more successful of the period, unlike the Envoy XUV, QuadraSteer, full size truck/SUV “Hybrids”…

          They should offer an Avalanche package on the Silverado/Sierra (Sierra Grande? Lol) crew cab, basically a truck with the MidGate and bed similar to the Avalanche. That way, ever who buys them still puts a “Silverado” or “Sierra” on the boards. Why have a Matrix when you can have a Corolla Matrix?

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            You would have to build off of the Suburban/Yukon XL/Escalade to do it.

            The Avalanche was based on the Suburban not the Silverado, even had the coil spring suspension in the back (which limits tow capacity compared to a Silverado/Sierra).

            I think the Avalanche was more of a victim of post-bankruptcy appeasement and not enough resources to create a next generation model, sales numbers also plummeted hand-in-hand with the reduced focus on LS and LT1 trim versions. By 2013 I believe you could only get the loaded out Black Diamond version.

            My 2011 will have one Hell of a story in a few years. Heche en Mexico, sold in Canada, worked the diamond mines of central Canada, sold at auction after one owner to the states, federated, bought CPO, and in a couple of more years will be shipped down to Nicaragua as our daily drive down there.

            The Midgate doesn’t feel like it has run its course. Completely agree the Envoy XUV screamed, “hey, I’m a solution looking for a problem!”

            Interesting tidbit, along with the retractable roof, the XUV had a Midgate also.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Honestly, if that XUV concept had been put onto a Suburban, it probably would have been FAR more popular; think about how many people put a hard bed cover over the bed of their truck but sometimes have to remove it to make room for a tall load. The sliding roof idea is a PERFECT choice for someone wanting to plant tall bushes or trees in their yard while still having a fully-enclosed body the rest of the time. The problem was more that they put the thing on the wrong model, then couldn’t figure out how to advertise it on a luxury vehicle. That’s a working option, not a luxury option!

            Many smaller rigs could benefit from an identical feature. Imagine your smaller wagon-styled SUV/CUV with a sliding top when you just have to carry something that wouldn’t ordinarily fit inside. Great idea!

            But Nooooooooo. They had to stick it on a Caddy instead. No wonder it bombed!

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          There are reasonable Avalanche 2500s out there for ~$12k, but it’s hard for me to imagine wanting to get 10 mpg day in and out.

  • avatar

    Right, Ridgeline’s are for people who would buy an El Camino or Ranchero – if they were still available. Toyota and Nissan have always built a small “truck”. That is what Ford understood and GM did not when the domestics starting building smaller trucks.
    Will the new Ranger hurt Honda, no. Will it hurt the other bof trucks, yes. To what degree remains to be seen. It seems that Ford does understand the US truck buying public better than other manufactures.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      Agreed. Ford’s biggest competitor will be the F150, which is why they have been late getting into this segment again in North America. I do think Ford is in a good position to make a big impact if the debut is done right. GM and Toyota do have their weaknesses to be exploited.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The F-150 will definitely be the Ranger’s biggest competitor, in more ways than one. And that’s their whole problem. They made it BIGGER, not smaller, and that’s why they chose not to sell it in the US. But what’s worse is that most of the folks buying the current mid-sized models really want something along the lines of the 20-year-old models or smaller. Bigger is not always better.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Yes. El Camino. I love the niche the Ridgeline has claimed. Totally practical for people who just need to carry stuff in the bed from Home Depot, etc. A true “suburban.” Plus, it means even more of the market is taken by even more pickups. Woo hoo! Not cheap though.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ““This is a very capable truck that meets the needs of a vast majority of buyers,” Jeff Conrad, general manager of American Honda told Bloomberg. “For somebody who doesn’t care about towing 8,000 pounds … it’s perfect.””

    So someone who doesn’t care about having a truck?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      That’s most truck buyers. And most full-size 0.5-ton truck buyers that do tow, tow far smaller trailers than 8000 lbs.

      On vacation last month, visiting my parents in Europe, they sold a big dresser (moving house). The buyer came to pick it up with a trailer — towed by an A4 Avant.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      When I had a truck, I never towed anything.

      But I did:

      Carry engines
      Carry half a cord of firewood
      Carry lots of 8 foot sheets of plywood and 8-12 foot boards
      Carry a 7 foot tall china cabinet
      Carry a refrigerator home from Sears, and take its predecessor to the dump
      Carry several dozen concrete blocks and pavers.
      Carry yard tools across town every two weeks to do my girlfriend’s lawn.
      And so on. All of these things I would be able to do just fine with a Ranger with an 8 foot bed and 4 feet between the wheel wells.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        That’s kind of like me. I’ve now owned three pickup trucks and I have never:
        • Towed anything with any one of them;
        • Carried anything heavier than about 800 pounds.

        What I have carried is tools, lumber, estate-sale items, event tables for charity, numerous landfill runs, bicycles, camping gear, bags and bags of landscaping mulch, dirt, flowers, cartons and cartons of drinks for charity, just about any kind of variety you can think of
        that didn’t come close to reaching their load limits but were often things too big, bulky or smelly to carry inside a closed vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I know many people who work the wheels off their pickups and rarely or never tow, and don’t understand the mindset that “fullsize truck is primarily good for towing”.

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      You can tow moderate loads with an SUV. You get a truck because you want to put stuff in the bed. The Ridgeline would suit 90% of what I’d want out of a truck.

      Like many, I have a tough time getting past the looks though.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    Honda is doing quite well with the Ridgdeline considering the marginal cost of developing a Pilot variant that also rides on the same platform as the Ody, MDX, etc. Compare that to Toyota, who, in chasing the domestics, developed a bespoke platform and built a brand new factory for the Tundra and Sequoia. While the Ridgeline can now piggyback on the regular updates/advances Honda makes to its platform mates, Toyota has been loath to invest more money on its marginal, USA-specific BOF players.

    Further, Honda knows its market: its buyers are far more likely than Ford or Chevy buyers to have a college degree, and thus home improvement projects are more likely to reflect their purchase motivation than a truckbed full of metal pipes.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Toyota sold 168K Tacomas in 2005 when that generation debuted, and 179K in 2015 when it bowed. I’m guessing return on investment was quite good although the frame rust settlement may have dampened that a bit.

      But who knows, maybe Honda can blow those profits out of the water selling 1 Ridgeline for every 5 Tacomas. Their niche Crosstour experiment was certainly a raging success and so was the Insight. Perhaps most ingenious of all is the 0+0=infinity offshoot of your Ridgeline business model that Honda is using for their full-size SUV and pickup offerings. 0 development costs combined with 0 sales must mean astounding profitability. Better ask someone qualified to answer such a question. Someone for whom hauling metal pipes is beneath them.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Toyota has been loath to invest more money on its marginal, USA-specific BOF players.”

      Make no mistake, Toyota makes good money on the Tacoma and Tundra, I think they are just much less reliant on them as their main profit centers, and with less CAFE pressure (plenty of efficient Camry/Corolla/Prius sales to offset 15mpg Tundras), there has been less incentive to implement stuff like DI injection on the big I-Force or active grill shutters, etc. To be fair in real world driving, the difference between the 5.7 Tundra and the Ecoboosts, Chevy V8s, Rams, etc is smaller than the EPA ratings would make you believe.

      I’m an unabashed fan of the current Tundra and its refusal to wear a clearance-robbing chin spoiler or to sully their wonderful 3UR with cylinder-deactivation nonsense. The axle ratios on Tundras are eyebrow raising as well (4.30 rear end). They’re towing beasts.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …Toyota has been loath to invest more money on its marginal, USA-specific BOF players…

      I don’t know if I fully agree with that. Toyota put a lot behind the Tundra, heck built a whole factory to build them before the Great Recession, gas pedal entrapment, floormats, and hand of God grade earthquakes caused a long line of problems.

      The Tundra has a number of issues that puts it at the back of the pack, as well as brand loyalty headwinds to fight against, but the biggest issue for the Tundra is the abysmal fuel economy compared to the competition.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’s a CUV with a pickup bed and thus it is unique in the market and will win some fans. However, the ancient Frontier is still outselling it 2:1 YTD, so consider that an alternate metric to the Ridgeline’s overall appeal in the segment.

    Does a 9% YTD marketshare in a class with only 4 entrants constitute “gobbling”?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’d think there is trivial overlap between Ridgeline buyers and Ranger intenders. Just not the same user group in my view.

    And Honda is smart enough to realize that the cost of doing a BoF pickup wouldn’t be justified by the sales. But there are enough Ridgeline buyers (likely at a pretty high price) for this to be a financial winner.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Can you carry 12 foot 2 x 10s in a Ridgeline? Isn’t the “bed” something like 4 feet long? How about 4 x 8 sheet goods?

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      this appears to be 12 foot lumber and 4×8 sheet goods in a new ridgeline:

      http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/attachments/2g-photo-gallery/243513-ridgeline-gen2-picture-thread-img_20160709_184726.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/attachments/2g-photo-gallery/243513-ridgeline-gen2-picture-thread-img_20160709_184726.jpg

      this appears to be sheet goods and 12 foot lumber in a 2017 ridgeline

    • 0 avatar
      igve2shtz

      The Ridgeline bed is 64″ long… About 1-3″ longer than the rest of the mid-size small bed offerings. The difference is that the GM twins/Tacoma/Frontier all offer an optional 72″ bed, even with the Crew Cab. The Ridgeline is 64″ only .. No option for a bigger bed. However, judging from the mid-size trucks I see around me, 75% of them are of the short, 5′ bed variety so that isn’t a deal breaker for some.

      However, the Ridgeline has one trick up its sleeve: The space between wheel wells is over 48″. Therefore, you can lay 4’x8′ plywood flat with the tailgate open, and only have 13″ hanging off the end. You’ll have to angle the boards in any of the other mid-size offerings. Coming from someone who had a B4000 (Ranger clone), angling plywood with a 6′ bed is no problem. However, I wouldn’t want to angle drywall in a 5′ midsize bed.

      The Ridgeline only offers a sliding rear window on the RTL-E and Black Edition models. It is power sliding unit, and I think that Honda is seriously missing the boat by not offering a manual sliding window on the lower models. This omission (and lack of a tailgate lock) show that Honda is not a “truck” manufacturer.

      With that sliding window, I will assume that you can carry 12′ long lumber, and only have 2 feet sticking out the back. Without the slider, better bring some towels so as not to damage that pretty paint.

      I parked my B4000 next to a new Ridgeline. The beds are similar in depth, and similar in volume (the Ridgeline is wider, but not as long). The trunk is a nice place to keep your tools in without needing a truck box or anything.

      In keeping with the Ranger comparisons: My truck was capable of hauling 1500 lbs, and towing 3000 pounds. I never needed anything more than that. The Ridgeline can meet or exceed that. Everybody is clamoring that they want another Ranger, yet here is an alternative, but people say it isn’t truck enough. I don’t get it.

      The Ridgeline isn’t perfect, but it is still very high on my list for my next truck.

      • 0 avatar
        psychoboy

        i seem to remember a couple of the small/midsize trucks offering a way to hang the tailgate half open, so that it ended up being in line with the tops of the wheel wells. this would let you lay sheet goods flat on top of the wells and the tailgate. not as great as laying flat on the floor, but better than the awkward angle option.

        • 0 avatar
          igve2shtz

          You’re right. Now that you mention it, I remember reading that somewhere also. My B4000 didn’t have that feature – but it did have the pockets where I could lay 2×6’s that would create a flat load floor on top of the wheel wells. I never tried it though as that was just one extra thing to remember when running to the lumber yard in the middle of a project.

          As someone who prides myself on reading the f’n manual, and trying to stay up to date on the latest in automotive news, I am embarrassed that I forgot about that feature. Now, I can only assume that if I forgot about it, then most owners of these trucks never even knew about these features to begin with.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Another trick those smaller trucks offered was molded in pockets for cross-bar lumber like cut 2x4s to serve as a raised platform for the flat goods while stick lumber could ride underneath it. My own ’97 Ranger has that and my ’83 Mitsubishi had something similar… if I remember it was tie-down bars you could lay a 2×4 across and secure the load at the same time. Very handy, too.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    So I should wait to shop for a Tacoma until the ranger comes out.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Why the hell is it so expensive?

    So I don’t get a ladder frame, I don’t get a solid rear axle, I am forced to live with a front wheel drive biased drivetrain, I have to settle for midsize, have to live with one tiny engine option, tiny aftermarket, etc.

    And you want me to pay the same amount for this as a Fullsize crew V8?

    The whole point of making unibody vehicles was the cost savings, this is the most cost inefficient way to have a pickup bed I can imagine.

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      body on frame trucks are well known for their low manufacturing costs, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that a unibody would be more expensive to build.

      since Honda seems to be selling every one of them they can build, without stacking cash on the hood, the market must think they are fairly priced. meanwhile, the BOF trucks regularly need cash infusions to get off the lot, suggesting the market thinks their MSRPs are too high.

    • 0 avatar
      Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

      The most efficient way to have a pickup bed is to buy a trailer and tow it with your regular vehicle. Registration is much cheaper, and it doesn’t need insurance, maintenance or smog inspections. It can be legally parked on dirt and takes up less space. I’m seriously considering selling my truck and buying a trailer on Craigslist. Having a truck is handy, but considering how much it costs per mile for how little I use it, and that I can sell it for a healthy profit, it’s worth considering.

      • 0 avatar
        psychoboy

        go one better….

        find a non-running/non-smogged/non-functional pickup with the bed size you want on craigslist for a couple hundred dollars (seriously, you are looking for the “just get this thing out of my yard” sort of deal). remove the drivetrain and the cab, cut the frame as necessary, weld on a hitch and chains, throw the leftovers in the bed and haul it to the scrapyard. at $115/ton you’ll probably get about half your investment back.

        more work, but less money than even the cheapest trailer at northern tool.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “And you want me to pay the same amount for this as a Fullsize crew V8?”

      If the full-sized crew V8 is too big and too thirsty, it doesn’t matter if it’s the same price. Nothing you said about the Honda was a deal-killer for me while that full sizer is dead on arrival. I simply won’t own another one.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    If Ridge weren’t this huge and came with 9sp, I’d consider it. It’s same size as F-150, just not as tall. I asked before why journos insisted on lumping it into “midsize” category. One of TTAC brass (IIRC it was Mark) replied that it’s because the manufacturer reported it that way. I’m sorry, but I do not agree. Next Honda will report it as a family sedan — has 4 doors and a trunk — and media will continue to fall in line? In any case, it’s too big.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Good comment. It’s extremely difficult to pigeonhole the Ridgeline and Honda has definitely slated it as a midsize pickup to highlight its advantages and make its towing capacity limitations less glaring. However, since it can’t be upsized endlessly like the F-Series and definitely won’t have as much market overlap, it makes more sense to categorize it as a midsize. Although, I would wager the majority of it’s prospective buyers were former sedan shoppers… and for obvious reasons.

      The Ridgline certainly isn’t small but it isn’t gargantuan compared to the rest of the segment. Especially when you start throwing in crew cabs and long boxes into the mix. Take a long hard look at a four-door Colorado the next time you have the opportunity (both inside and out).

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “and media will continue to fall in line? In any case, it’s too big.”

      The US Government classifies the Ridgeline as a small pickup. So despite your opinion that it’s too big (seriously?), the official classification (and the only one that matters) calls it a “small pickup”.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      My complaint too… but tall was my major complaint. Certainly it’s full-sized wide but in nearly every other metric it’s mid-sized.

      By the way, thank you for reminding me of that. The width is probably the only factor that would prevent me from getting one when I trade my old Ranger.

  • avatar
    brn

    Remember when pickups were reasonably priced? Small pickups were crazy cheap.

    I wouldn’t mind one of our vehicles being a smaller pickup, but the bang for buck just isn’t there.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Scoop up a cheap Craigslist-special. I bought my single owner 124k mile ’97 Ranger (rwd, 4cyl 5spd XLT) for $1700 this spring. It needs a litany of maintenance and small repairs but it has been a real workhorse, allowing me to complete my raised bed garden, general landscaping, and patio/privacy fence project. Have hauled rental equipment (compactor, stone saw), a pallet and a half’s worth of pavers (not at once), tons of lumber, seemingly endless bed-fulls of gravel and sand, garden soil, and mulch. It’s getting some well deserved repairs and maintenance this fall, a full going-through. It’s also been my daily commuter, undoubtedly crude to drive, but also quite engaging and fun.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Scoop up a cheap Craigslist-special. I bought my single owner 124k mile ’97 Ranger (rwd, 4cyl 5spd XLT) for $1700 this spring. ”

        And I got my single-owner ’97 Ranger, almost identical to yours except for only 20,000 miles on the clock, for free. The widow of the former owner paid for all repairs simply because it had sat for so long. Dry-rotted tires and sticky slave cylinder in the hydraulic clutch. A couple thousand in work and it’s been running fine. Did make a couple mods though… I needed a manual AC compressor switch installed in the cabin and a tach, since mine didn’t come with a factory tach.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I don’t think the Ridgeline doing well during the first year is a shock. I believe there was a pent up demand from the previous Ridgeline/Honda homer customers who were ready for a new one or waited for this one.

    Let’s see how this thing sells in its third model year. Personally, I will be shocked if it sells more than it does this year in next model years. You have to really want a Honda product to opt in for this rig. It is ugly, really ugly. Expensive, really expensive relative to the work it can perform. Which brings you back to square one, you really have to want a Honda. You pay more for less, even if you never plan to use the features that a F150, RAM 1500, Silverado provide at least you have them for that **one** time you had to help out a buddy and go fetch his fill in the blank with a car hauler from UHaul.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @87 Morgan. I do apologize that I have to disagree with EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT YOU MADE in the second paragraph. It pushes buttons no other full-sized or mid-sized currently available can push. I don’t like the price but when you consider it’s better equipped than a base full sized with a wider bed than a similarly-equipped mid-size, it’s hard to turn down. And honestly, only the Colorado is better looking.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Thank you Vulpine for the response. I have not spec’d a Ridgeline from the stand point of bed size etc, but I will take your word for it.

        I do, however, stand by my belief that this will not sell any better or worse for that matter than the previous generation Ridgeline which is inexplicably more attractive than the current version.
        My eyes tell me 4 times a year in the mountains of CO when we go camping that no one pulls a camper or trailer with a Ridgeline, or any other Honda product for that matter.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Whether or not it sells is not necessarily an indication of its abilities but rather an indication of its perception by buyers… most of whom carry an unreasoning grudge on the model because it is not “traditional.”

          Tradition be hanged! There’s a reason nearly every car and CUV on the market is unibody/space frame construction and that has to do with factors like lighter weight, lower cost, better rigidity and other things, all of which can mean a more reliable vehicle and a more economical vehicle. Even cargo vans, once exclusively body on frame, have gone unibody, with built-in platform-stiffening rails allowing them to do everything their predecessors did and more with a MUCH lower floor. I’m looking forward to the day when this technology gets included in open-bed light-duty trucks. However, I’m old enough to expect I’ll never get the chance to buy one for myself in the size I want.

          The Honda is probably the first example of a technology whose time has come but whose market refuses to accept. The people I’ve met who own a Honda pickup say they won’t ever go back to a body-on-frame truck again. For their purposes–and some of them do some very unusual things with their trucks–the Honda really is the superior model because it’s designed around what a utility vehicle is meant to be. The others are all designed around outsized capacities meant for heavy construction, farm and hauling purposes on a full-time basis. I personally know of two Honda owners who do volunteer work for a tourist railroad and use their trucks to carry railroad-related supplies, including ties, spikes and associated hardware for the maintenance of the roadway and the rolling stock. For all that one of the other brands •might• be better for the purpose, they refuse to consider them because the Honda meets their needs more perfectly.

          So, while the Honda may not sell as many as they’d like, they do sell and their customers seem loyal. The complaints tend to be specious at best, except for those few who really do need to carry or tow outsized loads. As for these people who say it’s “just plain ugly”, well, to some their favorite pickup may be “Just plain ugly.” I’ve already posted my view on their appearances.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I again are having a great chuckle at some of the justification used for pickup ownership.

    And this comes from a pickup owner.

    Wow! Again, many large pickup owners bought what they bought because of a maybe, might, possibly, could, it can if I want.

    Admit it. Like me you own one because YOU CAN.

    Start being honest guys.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      All are true. Utility, versatility,work, play, tow, haul, hunt, fish, trail, desert, mountains, pickups are
      awesomeness. That is why they make hundreds of configurations. People do all kinds of things with them. They are much more versatile than cars. I have known many, many, many pickup owners throughout my life and know not even one who never used it for pickup truck duties.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I don’t hear anyone saying that the don’t buy a pickup because they want one.

      Personally my trucks earn their keep and it is a rare situation when there isn’t something in the bed on at least one leg of the trip. If I had to reduce my fleet to one vehicle there is no doubt it would the full size truck that won out even though I’d prefer to drive a sedan or CUV/SUV as my daily driver but I use a bed too often to go without.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “I again are having a great chuckle at some of the justification used for pickup ownership.”

      This is NOT the BAfO I remember from many forum discussions on PUTC.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    “Honda Ridgeline Gobbling up Midsize Market Share Before Ford Ranger Gets the Chance”
    ……………….by Matt Posky…………………..

    1) “Gobbling”? Really?
    2) Ranger not getting a chance? Really?

    What utter crap.
    This headline could only be written by, well, — you take your pick.

    1a) Midsize sales totals through June:
    Chevy….. GMC….. Toyota…. Nissan…. Honda
    Colorado Canyon Tacoma Frontier Ridgeline
    50301….. 14888….. 94596….. 37814….. 18596

    1b) Midsize sales slopes (rate of growth, units/month) through June:
    Chevy….. GMC ….. Toyota….. Nissan….. Honda
    Colorado Canyon Tacoma Frontier Ridgeline
    309 …….. 9……. 431…… 427 ….. -18 (yes, it’s negative)

    2) Targeted Ranger Competition:
    Chevy GMC Toyota Nissan
    Colorado Canyon Tacoma Frontier
    Ref: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/2019-ford-ranger-25-cars-worth-waiting-for-feature
    Honda Ridgeline is irrelevant to the sub-segment in which the Ranger will compete.

    ===============================

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Were it not quite so large, this would be an almost perfect truck for me; it is the most utilitarian of all the pickup trucks simply because of what it has and the others don’t. I just wish they chopped off about 1/3rd of the back seat (and overall length as a result) and made it a bit narrower. Honestly, I’m not happy with ANY of the other mid-sized offerings and I expect the Ranger to be just as bad.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    LOL I have yet to see more than two of these out on the road in Upstate, NY this past year. Even the Honda dealer only seems to stock one or two examples and they have been sitting in the same spot all Summer. Gobbling is hardly what these things are doing. More like languishing.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      For several months, I went without seeing more than one new Ridgeline every few weeks. In the last week, they seem to be everywhere.

      When the lease on my Tacoma is up next year, I am going to take a serious look at a Ridgeline. My Tacoma gets a lot of pickup truck use, and I have 4WD to cope with my steep driveway in winter. Having AWD instead is, for me, not an issue (I’m not an off-roader) and, as much as I like my Tacoma, driving something more modern is a an attractive proposition. The negatives are that I don’t need four doors and I want as much bed as I can get.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Honest consideration is the least any automaker would ask of a potential buyer. Saying ‘no’ just because of brand or hearsay hurts everyone, one way or another.

        I know I say I won’t buy a Ford new–I admit I don’t like Fords. I don’t like their looks, I don’t like the reliability I’ve received from them, there are many things I don’t like about Fords. But I am driving one and I will continue to do so until I find a small truck that meets my needs and wants, no matter the brand. If it’s a Ford, so be it.

        But I also felt the same way about Fiat products because of hearsay. Now having owned two of them, I say the reputation they have is NOT deserved.

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