By on November 15, 2017

2018 Honda Ridgeline

Most readers are well aware of my infatuation with trucks. Blame my rural upbringing, or chalk it up to the innate Canadian friendliness of helping everyone move house, but a pickup truck will always reside in my driveway.

The Honda Ridgeline, newly designed for the 2017 model year, is available in a range of trims, starting with the RT at $29,630. This author was unsure about the Ridgeline’s practicality as a truck when it was introduced, given its lineage. Can a base Honda pickup pass the Ace of Base test?

I have been known to look unfairly upon the Honda Ridgeline, with its unibody construction and decidedly un-muscular roots, with approximately the same amount of distain one would hold for a soiled copy of the National Inquirer. A transverse V6 and a front-drive chassis did not a truck make, I thought.

This was the wrong approach, as most Ridgeline customers care not one whit about such trivialities and are drawn in by the “H” on the grille after a lifetime of Accord or CR-V ownership. Chiseled looks and the ability to stand out in the school drop-off queue are the killer apps for many. The bed in the back is just a bonus. It is hard to find fault with their line of logic.

Under the hood is a 280 horsepower, direct-injected, 3.5-liter V6 that’s the same across the board, no matter the level of trim. Two-wheel-drive Ridgelines, like our base RT, deploy a high-capacity radiator in a bid to boast a 3,500-pound towing capacity. This is about the same as most crossovers and more than enough to haul a utility trailer filled with yard detritus or even tow a small hard-sided camper.

You can smack well over 1000 lbs in the bed, or haul 3,500 lbs worth of gear. My biggest gripe with the Ridgeline is the location of its spare wheel; housed in the in-bed trunk. I challenge anyone who is exercising that payload capacity with a load of gravel to access the hatch containing the spare. Same thing when the bed is full of snow and ice, as it is five months of the year in these climes.

2018 Honda Ridgeline

However, as someone was quite correct to point out on the last occasion I groused about this particular design decision, most Ridgeline owners, finding themselves riding on only three inflated tires, will simply call roadside assistance. This is a good point, although this does not help folks who find themselves in possession of an out-of-warranty Honda pickup. Trucks are generally kept working on the road long after their passenger car brethren have been unceremoniously fed into The Crusher, after all.

I do understand why someone would buy a Ridgeline, but only as a quirky alternative to the Pilot and not as a serious truck. That market does exist, though it is shrinking: sales have been hovering around the 2,700 units/month mark since June, down from over 4,000 last December.

However, mine is not to reason why; mine is to give it an Ace of Base try. The base RT trim, offering only two dour colors and bereft of a meaningful infotainment system, is a tough sell. Economies of scale ensure features like cruise control, power windows, and air conditioning are present, as is a truckish Class III trailer hitch and seven-pin electrical connector.

I’d want to make the walk to up at least the RTL-T trim and enjoy all its amenities for $36,080. The most F-150 one can get for that price is a 3.3-liter-equipped 4×2 XL Crew Cab with the Chrome Appearance package and Group 101A. It won’t be nearly as laden with features, but it will tow 5,000 lbs.

Not that anyone is cross-shopping those two machines, of course. An XL-trim Ford truck won’t impress in the drop-off lane nearly as much as a high-spec Ridgeline.

[Image: Honda]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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79 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Honda Ridgeline RT 2WD...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Ridgeline AOB = Fail.

    Ford dealers are advertising new F150’s for 30k in XLT trim and 4wd.

    Honda is not known for aggressive rebates so it is safe to figure the ATP will be close to 30k for the base Ridgeline.

    The only argument that a consumer can make for purchase is the H on the hood. Their is a reason Ford sells as many or more F150 per day as the Honda sells per month. It does not represent a good value.

    • 0 avatar
      HahnZahn

      NVH factors are likely more favorable in the Ridgeline, which I value at my advanced age of 35. When I was buying a new car six months ago, I gave the Ridgeline a look, whereas a body-on-frame wasn’t on the table at all. But I don’t need even as much as the Ridgeline is capable of, so passed on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Cost of ownership should be a factor in any automotive purchase; can the vehicle, whatever it is, meet your needs at a reasonable cost? Yes, those massive rebates are tempting, but what is the truck’s overall reliability factor? How much are repairs once it is out of warranty? For that matter, how long do owners tend to keep their chosen brand? For whatever reason, Ford’s trucks tend to get traded off every 4-6 years, often even before their warranty is expired. Why? GM trucks aren’t that far behind… 5-7 years. Toyotas? 8-10 years.

      I have to speculate on the overall reasoning but those who keep their trucks the longest tend to praise their trucks for reliability, meaning lowest cost of ownership. Now, add the Ridgeline’s many advantages to Honda’s renowned reliability and you’ve got a truck whose owners essentially refuse to sell or trade until they absolutely need to.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I think one of the biggest appeals of the Ridgeline is how competent it probably is on slick winter roads. A FWD-biased AWD system with a lower center of gravity and better riding/handling suspension that doesn’t bounce around as much over expansion joints and such, which can really unsettle the rear end of a leaf-sprung truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree. If the Base 2wd Ridgeline is as I believe a FWD vehicle, then for the purpose Matthew assumes it will fill, then it is actually a more practical vehicle than any other 2wd pickup.

      The reason being that the majority of drivers under the age of 40 have little to no experience driving a RWD vehicle, which other 2wd pickups are. Therefore under winter or wet driving conditions, these drivers are/will be very uncomfortable driving a RWD vehicle, particularly one that has little to no weight in the back.

      Better to drive a large vehicle with handling characteristics which they are familiar with.

      Perhaps this is one reason why we see so many pickups in single vehicle ‘accidents’?

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      GTEM, I can vouch for the AWD capability of the Ridgeline. I owned a first generation and lived in Canada for 5 years in Halifax. Their downtown looks a lot like San Francisco’s. A lot of the streets look like that too. I’ve got out of situations with my Ridgeline that I thought were physically impossible. Never once it flinched. All on all season tires. ( Yes I know crazy and irresponsible). I’ve had co-workers with 4×4 Tacoma TRDs losing it in snow all the time, particularly the ones without 400lbs of sand ballast in the bed. Not me and my Ridgeline. While the first generation wasn’t fooling anyone with its truck credentials, this generation doesn’t even try. I find it very ugly and repulsive. Would never buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        gtem, Arthur Dailey, Vulpine, and Carrera – – –

        g: “I think one of the biggest appeals of the Ridgeline is how competent it probably is on slick winter roads. A FWD-biased AWD system with a lower center of gravity and better riding/handling suspension that doesn’t bounce around as much over expansion joints and such, which can really unsettle the rear end of a leaf-sprung truck.”

        Nonsense. You’re playing on past stereotypes. Modern, properly equipped, real pickups ride smoothly and have all the traction control goodies you may want.

        Arthur: “If the Base 2wd Ridgeline is as I believe a FWD vehicle, then for the purpose Matthew assumes it will fill, then it is actually a more practical vehicle than any other 2wd pickup.”

        Practical for what? If you need a truck, get a real truck. If you want to do Home Depot runs, get an SUV where you can toss pine-bark bags or fertilizer in the back. Or attach that little towing trailer to your wussy BMW.

        Arthur: “The reason being that the majority of drivers under the age of 40 have little to no experience driving a RWD vehicle, which other 2wd pickups are.”

        Yeah. Maybe we should tech our young folks how to REALLY drive Might be a good idea (^_^)…

        Vulpine: “BINGO!”

        Bingo Schmingo…

        Carrera: “I’ve had co-workers with 4×4 Tacoma TRDs losing it in snow all the time, particularly the ones without 400lbs of sand ballast in the bed.”

        You may not be comparing with “all-else equal”. I am not really a Tacoma fan, but if you saw that happen, there are three things that come to mind right away:
        1) 400-lbs is WAY too much: DO NOT go beyond a 50/50 weight balance;
        2) Their tires were shot, — or those were not appropriate Winter tires;
        3) Open Differentials: no traction control with an LSD or Torsen®️or Locking.

        BTW: Good Tires make a HUGE difference. I have had a 2WD (truck with open differentials even) since 1974 and have live in VERY snowy states, — and have NEVER even gotten stuck. Of course, they all had/have manual transmissions; I know not to get into foolish situations; and I used to race….so yes, I know how to drive, Arthur. In fact, every Winter I practice going sideways and drifting a bit just to “get the feel”.. Try that with your goody FWD Honda-Pilot-With-Back-End-MIssing (i.e., Ridgeline) (^_^)…

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

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “Nonsense. You’re playing on past stereotypes. Modern, properly equipped, real pickups ride smoothly and have all the traction control goodies you may want.”

          You’ve still got a fairly stiffly sprung solid rear axle on leaf springs. It’s a ton of unsprung weight to control, with little weight over the rear end. And yes I’ve driven newer half tons, they ride better than in the past, and yes they have traction control to mitigate things but you’re still fundamentally fighting physics.

          For slick higher speed highway driving, give me a car-based platform any day.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @NGOM, A number of issues with your comments:

          “Modern, properly equipped, real pickups ride smoothly and have all the traction control goodies you may want.” As ‘Gtem’ posted, regardless you are still fighting physics.Too many drivers out their are overwhelmed by an Accord, let alone a pick-up. And they will probably get into trouble in one before they have shifted into 4WD

          “Practical for what? If you need a truck, get a real truck.” Practical for exactly what Matthew says the majority will be used for, running the kids to and from school, with the occasional trip to the Depot or an antique market. Driving like a car makes it far more practical for those tasks, which are exactly what it is marketed/intended for.

          “I have had a 2WD (truck with open differentials even) since 1974 and have live in VERY snowy states, — and have NEVER even gotten stuck.” Good for you. But how many times has that back end twitched and caused your sphincter to tighten? And who wants their kid to experience driving in their first RWD vehicle to have it in a pick-up? And how many of them have racing experience? Or practice donuts, fishtailing, etc in deserted parking lots/roads the way that we used to in the 1970’s?

          I do however agree with you in regards to proper tires and the fact that young drivers should get more practice driving to their vehicles limits. However insurance problems will probably prevent that.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I may be alone on this, but I like the old design better. Making it look more like a “normal” pickup has made it look a bit wimpy and fragile.

  • avatar
    arach

    I thought about buying a ridgeline, and I just could not come up with any conceivable reason to do so.

    I should be the ideal ridgeline customer. I take my dog to the dog park sometimes. Oh yeah and once I carried some wood from the hardware store, and a few years ago I bought a big screen TV.

    So when I sold my “Why did I buy this” F350 Lariat Diesel (answer, I used to haul a race trailer but I sold it with my car a few years back), I thought “Why don’t I just buy an S10.. or a RIDGELINE.

    And then I went to market, looking at the ridgelines.

    And then it happened.

    The fuel economy isn’t THAT good.
    The reliability isn’t THAT big of a deal on modern trucks
    The Resale isn’t THAT much better than other trucks.
    The Purchase price is not less than other trucks.

    I don’t NEED the towing power of a bigger truck, but why settle for less towing power for no benefit… I mean some day I may want to pull a bush out of my yard… or a friend might need me to pick up their boat.

    And if I’m going to buy a truck shouldn’t it look like a truck? Why not just buy a dang truck?

    So no matter how I sliced it or diced it I just couldn’t come up with a reason TO buy the ridgeline. Sure, there’s plenty of reasons why its fine, and some cursory features that are nice (like the trunk), but when it comes down to it, I could only come up with one good reason to buy the ridgeline:

    The ridgeline is for people who want a truck but don’t want to look like- or feel like- the kind of person who drives a truck.

    And thats when it clicked to me. Thats exactly who the ridgeline is for… the person who wants a truck but doesn’t want to want a truck. The person who wants to say “I’m not one of them”.

    But then I realize I’m a man, an american man… and what kind of man doesn’t want a truck? Not this man.

    So I bought an F150.

    • 0 avatar
      kcflyer

      I totally understand. My boat and trailer weigh in at 4500 lbs. So the Ridgeline comes up a thousand pounds short. I have purchased two new Honda cars in the last three years because I found them to be the best overall choice for me needs and budget. The only thing the Ridgeline does better than a “real” pickup is ride quality. The purchase price isn’t less than ATP’s from the domestics on much more capable trucks and most surprisingly the fuel economy isn’t much better than the more powerful fords, gm’s and dodge products. It’s not at all a bad vehicle but unless ride quality is your most important factor I cant see buying one over the traditional choices.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “My boat and trailer weigh in at 4500 lbs. So the Ridgeline comes up a thousand pounds short.”
        —- Unless you get AWD, at which point you have 500# of leeway and a much more stable platform.

        And the AWD has proven itself superior to dedicated 4×4 in soft-road conditions such as sand and mud due to its intelligent power management and torque-vectoring programming that allows it to keep moving when those 4×4 stability systems cripple most other trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        You get a cab with useful interior space closer to a fullsize, but with exterior dimensions more akin to a midsize. You do lose a bit of bed space, but not much if you compare to the short bed Ram 1500 with the ramboxes. Which are the only competitor to have lockable bed compartments rivaling the Ridge’s trunk. If you put a toolbox in the bed of other fullsize shortbeds, you are right back down to Ridgeline bed space again.

        IOW, it’s an efficiently packaged vehicle. Which matters to many, though perhaps not as many in typical truck-heavy zip codes. It is really focused on being a passenger vehicle with an open bed, more than a dedicated “truck.” But so are the Crew/Short competition.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      arach – – –

      F150? Good choice! Nice truck
      The Ridgeline is a loser,— even compared to other midsize trucks
      Here are the sales data for Calendar Year 2017, to date (Jan-Oct):

      A) SLOPES (Rate of growth or decline)

      Colorado….Canyon…..Tacoma…..Frontier…..Ridgeline
      225……………..28…………180…………..50………..-33

      B) SALES TOTALS in 1000’s

      Colorado….Canyon…..Tacoma…..Frontier…..Ridgeline
      93……………..26…………..163…………61……………29

      Even the 12-yea old, not-updated, Nissan Frontier beats the pants off it!
      What does that tell ya?

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

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        That tells you that you can have an antiquated Nissan Frontier very cheap. Nissan dealers are given them away for 21-22,000. Good bargain. I am a fan of the Frontier but it is a vehicle with the lowest owner satisfaction…loud, uncomfortable seats, cheap plastics. Strong engine. Everything else, not too good. A new Ridgeline can’t be found lower than 28-29,000. That’s a bit overpriced.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “But then I realize I’m a man, an american man… and what kind of man doesn’t want a truck? Not this man.”

      —- I am an American man, quite comfortable in my own skin, and I don’t own a big truck just to look like a man. While I don’t yet own a Ridgeline, I’m currently driving a 20.5-year-old Ford Ranger with the little 2.3L four under the hood with a 5-speed stick. It’s only real shortcomings are that it’s a regular cab, RWD model because its only purpose for the original owner was as a hardware store gofer, carrying the occasional load of lumber, mulch, stone, landscaping materials, etc. and only clocked 19,800 miles in 18 years. As one occasional poster on these forums would put it; it was a miser-mobile who bought what was essentially the cheapest truck on the lot at the time. It meets my basic needs but lacks the ability to survive Rust Belt winters on the road due to its Southern, protected, life. Winter comes, the truck sits–because I don’t want it to rust out with all the salt and cinders laid out when it snows. With the first snowfall, that truck will sit idle until after the spring storms was the roads clear of salt again.

      Would I buy a Ridgeline? Most certainly. But for me it would not be “the person who wants a truck but doesn’t want to want a truck,” but rather the person who wants a truck but doesn’t need to be a showoff about it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Krown it!!! 18 years old with less than 20k? Quite a find.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’d highly second that rust proofing. My ’97 still looked great from the outside, but the frame was getting really thin by the rear shock mounts and the bottom of the radiator support was just totally rotted off, the front clip was literally not supported by the body mounts any more.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    The H truck too large for my modest needs in hauling and towing small stuff. Waiting for the Santa Cruz. That or a refurbished old, small Tacoma.

    • 0 avatar
      HattHa

      I think this is what Chevy and Honda miss in their small truck calculus – the little trucks are too big and too expensive compared to full-sizers. Santa Cruz seems like the most likely ‘right size’ – put it on an Elantra platform with FWD and the 2.4LI4 and make a 6 speed an option and a base model around $20k and I think they would fly.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “The H truck too large for my modest needs in hauling and towing small stuff. Waiting for the Santa Cruz. That or a refurbished old, small Tacoma.”

      Something with an even smaller box than what you get with a Ridgeline? The good news about that for Honda is they would no longer offer the slowest selling PU truck!……..LOL

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Having had flats from driving on gravel roads that spare location would be a deal breaker for me. I don’t want to wait for roadside assistance to come get me. I guess one could pull it out of the trunk and set it on top of the load. Or get a spare holder like a Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Touche!!

      Few, if any, buy a Ridgeline as a dedicated quarry truck. So the few times you are both hauling half a ton of gravel in the bed, and doing so on remote dirt roads, just take the spare out beforehand. Just like you don’t want to be a game warden faced with a marauding bear, your rifle in the “trunk,” and an ATV in the bed…..

      It’s not as if the standard underbed location for the spare on most pickups, are all that great for having a flat when suck to the axles in mud, either. Which is why most people put the spare in the bed, when traversing terrain where the standard spare location may pose a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      amdsupport

      Ya know, I agree, however; Honda does provide a wheel mount spot in the bed and includes a bolt to mount a tire (full or spare) to the rear of the cab in the bed. I guess if you really wanted to you could just mount it there permanently and leave it with some sort of locking nut.

      There were a few errors in the article about the stats anyways; Like the 2WD models actually lack the high capacity radiator and don’t come standard with tow hitches or the trailer brake harness.
      They should have done the Ace of Base ridgeline last year on the 2017 year model as the base trim could be had with AWD for only $1800 more(includes beefier radiator, trailer brake harness, and tow hitch w/5k limit) .

      The $1800 extra on the base 2017 made it mechanically equivalent to the top trim ridgeline which wasn’t too bad a deal. I mean that would be cheaper than an XL trim F-150 4×4 crew cab with about the same capabilities (and much more comfort than an xl trim F-150 could dream of). Albeit, that would be before any discounts on the ford.

  • avatar

    A FWD 2WD pickup. I don’t think so.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Corey – – –

      CL: “A FWD 2WD pickup. I don’t think so.”
      Yeah. VW tried that in the early 1980’s. Fell flat on its face.

      As the load gets heavier, the traction gets worse: What a remarkable idea!
      It was just one more example of German insanity…(^_^)..

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

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Disagree, Corey. FWD does perform better in slippery conditions than an empty RWD 2WD pickup; the weight is on the drive axle, making for better control. And the Ridgeline’s AWD system has proven itself even against dedicated 4×4 trucks under all but the most extreme off-road conditions.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Vulpine – – –

        V: “Disagree, Corey. FWD does perform better in slippery conditions….”

        This is now so erroneous its pathetic. With modern weight balance, traction control, and proper tires, the best overall performance AND stability in slippery conditions, AT SPEED (barring AWD systems), comes for RWD, NOT FWD systems. Historically FWD system showed better start-up traction on ice, — their only advantage.

        V: “…the weight is on the drive axle, making for better control.”

        You don’t get it. When the truck is used as a truck, the weight is indeed on the drive axle, — AT THE BACK OF THE TRUCK! (^_^)…
        This isn’t rocket science, Vulpine….

        V: “And the Ridgeline’s AWD system has proven itself even against dedicated 4×4 trucks under all but the most extreme off-road conditions.”

        This is ridiculous. Actual testing by TFLT on Gold Mine HIll in the snow had shown the AWD Ridgeline to fail miserably in this MODEST (not even extreme) Off-Road (OR) condition. Problems were: no real lockers; transmission overheating; poor ground clearance; unpredictable off-and-on traction.

        If people really need an OR vehicle for even intermittent use in mild OR challenges, they are NOT going to intentionally buy a Ridgeline for that. (And Honest Honda will tell you so!!!) Why? Because there is little leeway. Mild conditions can become unhappy conditions very quickly.
        Other Example: You don’t buy an EV that can go 120 miles if you need to visit relatives that are 110 miles away: its too tight a call, — and things can go bad really quickly — especially at -10 degrees F!

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

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          As I’ve stated in a previous Ridgeline article here on TTAC, go to PUTC and read through their testing of the mid-sized trucks in which they included the Ridgeline. In particular, read the results of their off-road testing. While the all the rest had conventional 4×4 drives, the Ridgeline out-performed ALL of them, with the exception of the Tacoma, on the obstacles they were all required to attempt. When it came to a drag race on sand, the Ridgeline out-accelerated them all–some not even able to get from one end of the sand pit to the other. The Ridgeline and the Tacoma were the ONLY trucks able to complete the specific hill climb they attempted, with the Tacoma managing it more quickly but the Ridgeline surprising every tester by simply completing it when the remaining trucks couldn’t.

          In overall scoring, the Ridgeline came in second overall with only the GMC Canyon ahead of it due to certain creature comforts not available in the Ridgeline tested.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            To clarify– the stability management systems on those other 4x4s crippled them, even when turned off according to in-cabin indicators. As yet, none of the conventional 4×4 OEMs have figured out how to offer highway stability nannies that don’t inhibit off-road capability, whether it be trail or farm.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “When it came to a drag race on sand, the Ridgeline out-accelerated them all–some not even able to get from one end of the sand pit to the other. The Ridgeline and the Tacoma were the ONLY trucks able to complete the specific hill climb they attempted, with the Tacoma managing it more quickly but the Ridgeline surprising every tester by simply completing it when the remaining trucks couldn’t.”

            I don’t know how you come up with this stuff.

            The Canyon was the only one to fail the hillclimb, and none of the trucks got stuck doing the sand drag race. The Ridgeline did infact impress with its unexpected sandy hillclimb performance. Also a non trivial point is that outside of a smooth sand scenario, any sort of rough terrain with rocks or other impediments is seriously risky in a Ridgeline. The ground clearance and underbody are simply not engineered to take a hit.

            news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/08/2016-midsize-pickup-challenge-off-road-performance.html

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Also a non trivial point is that outside of a smooth sand scenario, any sort of rough terrain with rocks or other impediments is seriously risky in a Ridgeline. The ground clearance and underbody are simply not engineered to take a hit.”

            —- I said ‘soft road’, not ‘trail’, and you proved my point that the Ridgeline handled the soft stuff better than any of the others. I’ll grant the Ridgeline is not an off-roader; it’s not designed to be one. But that does mean it can handle certain ‘everyday’ scenarios better than the others. I’ve got more than one farm friend (one’s a technology client of mine) who complains that their late model 4×4 can’t even cross their fields in the wet–the nannies shut ’em down with the least little slippage of the wheels, even with Electronic Stability Controls turned off.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            No the point I proved is that you’re just blatantly fabricating things in regards to how the other vehicles in the test performed.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “A FWD 2WD pickup. I don’t think so.”

      That would be a circus show at a wet boat ramp.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    There’s a lot to be said, both against and for, the Honda Ridgeline. The author’s commentary mirrors the vast majority of pickup truck owners who, for roughly 50% of them, use them almost strictly as status symbols the way Cadillac and Lincoln full-sized sedans were status symbols… effectively useless for everyday driving. The rest of those pickup owners actually do put those trucks to work, either as full-time farm/ranch/construction utility vehicles or part-time camper trailer haulers. OTR commercial hauling tends to be relegated to the ¾- and one-ton models, along with the bigger and heavier campers.

    But that still means that there is a market out there for trucks that are more practical than ego-boosters. Almost all other pickups, both mid-sized and full-sized, do carry their spare tire under the bed, not in it. Granted this does make it accessible in the event of a flat tire on the road but tires are such today that quite often that spare never touches the road unless it is part of a five-point rotation. What the Ridgeline offers, however, is a much more practical utility truck with a more comfortable loading height than any other brand and in-bed features simply not found on any other brand. Ram comes closest to the Ridgeline’s in-bed trunk with its Rambox bed-rail storage, which could be useles, depending on whether the bed gets a cover or not. Unlike the other trucks, the Ridgeline bed isn’t just a large open floor lacking any other amenities.

    Also, the Ridgeline isn’t likely to have a ton of gravel dumped into it by the expected customer base, though it might carry the occasional load of heavy and dirty cargo for the DIY landscaper or remodeler. You see, the Ridgeline isn’t built to compete with the other trucks against their strengths, but rather against their weaknesses; comfort in place of capacity, efficiency in place of power and utility under ALL road conditions in both FWD and AWD drivetrains. The Honda Ridgeline isn’t a big, showy, “Hey! Look at me! I’m a BIG truck!”- type of rig; it’s a truly utilitarian-type of vehicle offering the benefits of a typical large crossover with an open bed for carrying materials you typically wouldn’t load into an enclosed-body vehicle due to mess or aroma. Only slightly smaller in width and length over the typical full-sized truck, it’s still larger than the current round of mid-sized trucks. It’s biggest difference is that it rides lower with a lower roofline than all but the smallest mid-sized model.

    Is it the best truck for everybody? No. But it is the most practical truck currently available for those who don’t care about image and don’t need the heavy hauling and towing capacities of the other brands.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Vulpine – – –

      There is nothing substantial to be said in favor of the Honda Ridgeline. It’s a crap truck.
      (It’s essentially a Honda Pilot with back end missing: I guess that makes it half a Pilot! (^_^)).

      And the market thinks so too:

      Here are the sales data for Calendar Year 2017, to date (Jan-Oct):

      A) SLOPES (Rate of growth or decline)

      Colorado….Canyon…..Tacoma…..Frontier…..Ridgeline
      225……………..28…………180…………..50………..-33

      B) SALES TOTALS in 1000’s

      Colorado….Canyon…..Tacoma…..Frontier…..Ridgeline
      93……………..26…………..163…………61……………29

      Even the 12-year old, not-updated, Nissan Frontier beats the pants off it!
      What does that tell ya?
      It may be fine for cutsey little NY liberals who want to pseudo-impress their pseudo-friends.

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

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        All sales data tells you, NMGOM, is what is more popular, NOT whether or not it is the best vehicle for the purpose. People who buy a Ridgeline don’t buy it to make a statement, they buy it because it meets their needs better than any other truck available, even if they do have to pay a little more up front.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No more than any other truck on the market the Ridgeline is bought to make a statement and that statement is that the owner is smarter than the other truck buyers.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Vulpine – – –

          V: “All sales data tells you, NMGOM, is what is more popular, NOT whether or not it is the best vehicle for the purpose.”

          Nonsense. (But yes, they later BECOME “popular” for REAL reasons!)

          People buy pickups because – – –
          1)They are tough, and have great traction with 4WD.
          2) They are well-made, with a fit-and-finish that rivals Mercedes Benz.
          3) They last a long time (Ave lifetime sedan = 11.8 years; Pickup = 15.6 years).
          4) They are high up, so you can see traffic better.
          5) They are VERY capable when needed in hauling and towing.
          6) They have a simple, robust suspension design, not some fancy wear-prone Euro 5-link IRS crap.
          7) They are comparatively inexpensive for their size (but if you get ’em loaded, they may go $70-80K too!).
          8) They are safer in collisions now (Ford F-150 has 5-star plus).
          9) They are more able to help a friend in need, whether moving or whatever.
          10) They are pure AMERICAN!

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

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Nonsense. (But yes, they later BECOME “popular” for REAL reasons!)”

            People buy pickups because – – –
            1)They are tough, and have great traction with 4WD. —- Except when they don’t.

            2) They are well-made, with a fit-and-finish that rivals Mercedes Benz. —- Except when they don’t.

            3) They last a long time (Ave lifetime sedan = 11.8 years; Pickup = 15.6 years). —- Except when they don’t.

            4) They are high up, so you can see traffic better. —- Gives you a sense of POWER. But also means top-heavy, meaning more FATAL single-vehicle accidents than any other type.

            5) They are VERY capable when needed in hauling and towing. —- And wasted money when not needed for such.

            6) They have a simple, robust suspension design, not some fancy wear-prone Euro 5-link IRS crap. —- That offers and uncomfortable ride under almost ALL driving and load circumstances and tend to make them unstable on rough road surfaces.

            7) They are comparatively inexpensive for their size (but if you get ’em loaded, they may go $70-80K too!). —- At an average $35K starting price for all-but base models, they are by no means inexpensive, especially since their bloated size makes them less maneuverable than most equivalently priced sedans and SUVs.

            8) They are safer in collisions now (Ford F-150 has 5-star plus). —- But still unsafe in single-vehicle crashes.

            9) They are more able to help a friend in need, whether moving or whatever. —- Totally subjective and irrelevant argument.

            10) They are pure AMERICAN! —- WHOOO BOY! Have you ever had the wool pulled over YOUR eyes!

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            Pure AMERICAN!!!??

            The Silverados and Rams made in Mexico might disagree.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            RHD – – –

            R: “The Silverados and Rams made in Mexico might disagree.”

            I meant as vehicles that are purely of historic American origin.
            No one came up with them commercially before the USA.
            Yes, many now have parts from other countries, as do other items.

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

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Vulpine – – –

            Your response is like a drowning sailor desperately grasping for flotsam from a sinking ship. Which is to say: you have shown no credible, informative comment.

            Those reasons why people buy Pickups are objective, and stand as listed. Check them elsewhere, if you don’t believe me.

            “Popularity” doesn’t just come out of nowhere: popularity has reasons that under-lie buying decisions. And then, perhaps decades later, “popularity” may, for some vehicles, take on a life of its own. BMW’s are that way: people have wanted them just because of the Brand Value, which triggers “popularity”, — despite the fact that most are over-engineered, over-complex, over-priced, and under-reliable. At one time, as with 2000tii, they earned their rep, — but that was a long, long time ago. My 3-series was almost a pig.

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

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @NMGOM:

            Most people buy their cars and trucks based on appearances and ‘feelings’; very few actually pay attention to the real facts of a vehicle’s capabilities as long as it is sold as Big, Strong and Fast. Car purchasing is an emotional event, NOT an objective one.

            I am not that much of an emotional buyer. Yes, I have purchased on emotion and more than once been stung in the process–getting a car should have been a keeper but soon discovering that I should have paid more attention to the whats, wheres and whys. What is it? Where is it? Why is it there? If you’re buying used, in particular, why, for instance, is a late-model Ford sitting on a GM lot? I stopped buying used because I made that mistake a couple times too many. Even then, another car I bought on the same-brand lot should have had a red flag for me: why was the same car on the same lot one year earlier? Believe me, learning from experience can be painful.

            Today I do all my research online, before ever visiting a dealership. I go to auto shows to get hands-on without any high-pressure sales efforts… telling me, for instance, that no matter how much I like the looks of the Chevy Colorado extended cab, it won’t and can’t meet my needs as the plastic pedestal supporting the jump seats cannot be easily removed… making the very space I need unaccessible. The Tacoma and Ridgeline both have reasonably flat floors in back…but the Ridgeline is wider than I want and the Tacoma’s seats don’t move far enough back for my wife’s comfort (remember, back-up vehicle for her if her Renegade breaks down.) And no, I do not want a full four doors, either; I simply don’t need them.

            So for me, buying a replacement for my Ranger is a futile effort–literally nothing is available that can suitably replace it because they’re ALL too big and too cluttered. I keep hoping but word came out today that even the Santa Cruz may not come out until 2021 at the soonest.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Also, the Ridgeline isn’t likely to have a ton of gravel dumped into it by the expected customer base, though it might carry the occasional load of heavy and dirty cargo for the DIY landscaper or remodeler”

      Not a literal ton at a time, but I used my 110hp Ranger with a 1200lb payload rating to move quite a bit of gravel and top soil this summer. The Ridgeline should be able to handle a similar load just fine (and with a ton more power).

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        The box is too small on the Ridgeline. I owned a ’93 Toyota extra-cab for 11 years. That box you could get some use/work out of. But no way would I settle for anything smaller with a PU.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          By “93 Toyota” I can only assume you mean the Tacoma, since I don’t recall the Tundra being available back then. But let me ask you this: exactly what were you putting into that Tacoma that wouldn’t fit into the Ridgeline’s bed? Do you still carry that kind of load and how often?

          Why do I ask? Because so far in over two years of ownership I have only once loaded the bed of my ’97 Ranger to “full,” meaning total combined load showing above the sidewalls of the standard, narrow, 6-foot bed. I believe the modern Ridgeline could have carried that same load due to its wider width and deeper box than the old Ranger.

          My needs for a truck are minimal, but existent. I simply don’t need the size or the power of the modern mid-sized truck, much less a full-sized model and I need a vehicle my wife is able and willing to drive, meaning automatic transmission and narrower than a 1990 F-150 (which she almost crashed because another full-sized truck rounded a blind curve over the line on a 2-lane road with no shoulders.) She can’t drive my Ranger due to its tight cockpit (long, long legs) and manual transmission.

          So, I’m looking for a replacement where the market simply doesn’t offer one. The Ridgeline is the ONLY truck that offers nearly everything we need and want but is still too wide for her comfort on narrow Pennsylvania roads. A true compact like the Fiat Strada or Chevy Tornado could fit the need if they were available in the States but I also think the Hyundai Santa Cruz could be a more-than-suitable replacement. Everything else is too big in width, length and height.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            ” I can only assume you mean the Tacoma”

            The compact Toyota pickup before 1995 was literally just called “Toyota Pickup”

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            Ridgeline bed is too short to fit a snowmobile in. My PU needs to be able to haul a snowmobile.

            “She can’t drive my Ranger due to its tight cockpit (long, long legs) and manual transmission.”

            Sell that useless standard cab Ranger and get one one with an extended cab. Problem solved.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Sell that useless standard cab Ranger and get one one with an extended cab. Problem solved.”
            —- Sure! Show me where I can find one brand-new. I’m not giving up an ultra-low-mileage model for a high-mileage, beat-up rattletrap without compensation. And that’s exactly my point; there IS no comparable replacement on the market today; they’re all too big and too expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      rlo

      as a 2 time ridgeline owner i can say that it meets all of my needs. it rides nice, is comfortable and quite. it hauls the materials i need as an avid do-it-yourselfer. iv’e towed a highreach that was used to replace the windows i installed in my daughter’s house, it hauled all 10 windows in the bed in one trip. it carries a snowblower around in the winter without getting the inside wet and a load or two of mulch without smelling up the interior. best of all it’s 2′ shorter than an equivalent f150 so i can park in my garage and still walk around it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Ridgeline is all about being showy, just in a different manner than a full size truck. Certainly many trucks are bought as a way to show the owner is “manly”, even though many of the 1/2 ton crew cabs are a female’s daily driver. With the Ridgeline the owner is trying to show how much smarter he is than everybody else.

  • avatar

    Have you ever seen a Ridgeline that has had its nice stainless steel factory exhaust cut off and replaced with the quintessential redneck-bro-truck dual-exhaust with crush bent already-rusty tubing, the loudest non-muffler mufflers, and giant chrome slash cut tips, one always sagging lower than the other? I have not. Clearly, the Ridgeline is not a real truck, and everyone knows it.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      eyeofthetiger – – –

      e: “Clearly, the Ridgeline is not a real truck, and everyone knows it.”
      Even Honda…(^_^)…

      It’s a loser, as the declining sales data have shown.
      The cat is out of bag. Than Man Behind the Curtain is unmasked. The fraud is exposed..

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

  • avatar
    bunkie

    The lease on my Tacoma is up next September. I really like a lot about the Taco, but it is clear that, for the actual hauling I do (I have a 4×8 plywood habit), a Ridgeline would be fine. However, I have no need for a back seat. The extended cab is enough. In the Ridgeline’s favor are the more car-like ride and, while I would want AWD, I could live without it. The problem is that due to the incredible resale value of the Taco, I am confident that I can get a new one at a very attractive lease payment. It’s hard to resist that. I seriously doubt that the actual cost of the Ridgeline could compare. I will test-drive one and find out if the numbers can be made to work. If so, I would definitely consider it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Maybe you should just buy the Tacoma out or chuck it in on another one. This vehicle has terrific resale – you might have some equity there.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        We will see what position I’m in. I have used only about 60% of the allotted miles and the truck is in fabulous condition. I’m expecting to have some leverage come time to lease a new one. I’m happy leasing, especially a high-resale vehicle like a Tacoma, it makes for a great deal.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          And I’m happy leasing a low-resale vehicle like a Jetta – all that cash on the hood means low payments, and I don’t have to worry about being upside down. Just chuck it in and go from there.

          (Though I will probably be somewhat over on mileage…I was a dummy and signed up for 12,000 a year, versus 15,000. Live and learn.)

  • avatar
    ronin

    Once upon a time we used to like El Caminos and Rancheros.
    Now the only modern day viable equivalent comes along, and we disdain it.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Every manufacturer plays games with “payload” numbers. FWIW, the actual payload for your individual vehicle is one a yellow and red sticker pasted on the driver’s side door jamb. It will say “the total weight of passengers and cargo shall not exceed XXXX lbs. (or Kg.). These are required by law in the U.S., not sure what the situation is in Canada. This calculation assumes a full load of fuel. So, if the sticker says “1,000” lbs., consider that the driver weighs something and a passenger weighs something . . . so the junk in the bed (rocks, manure or whatever) might be limited to, say 800 lbs. or less.
    One of the disadvantages of Honda’s IRS is that it doesn’t overload gracefully. Put extra load in it and there are significant camber changes to the rear wheels. The “ox cart” live axle suspension in pickup trucks doesn’t change wheel alignment as the weight changes.

    I’ve owned an AWD Pilot for 10 years, and I have to say, it’s capabilities in heavy snow do not impress me. It has a “slip and grip” center differential. You can lock it, but you have to come to a full stop, shift the transmission into first gear and then press a button. After that you’re speed limited to something like 15 mph.

    Even with less ground clearance, my AWD Toyota Previa (rear drive with a viscous clutch center diff) was a far more capable snow vehicle — and that’s with both vehicles equipped with Blizzaks. In my opinion, the Pilot looks the part but can’t carry it out. Unless Honda has changed its AWD system, I see no reason why the Ridgeline would be any better. And, if memory serves, if you order the optional tranny cooler, my Pilot is tow rated at 3500 lbs.

    Some fanbois rag on the “hazards” of RWD pickups in the snow, but the real concern in the snow should be stopping, not going. If the Ridgeline has more forward weight bias empty than even a pickup truck (which is possible), then it’s not going to be very good at stopping in the snow. The ABS will probably avoid rear wheel lockup, which would put most drivers into a spin; but at the cost of overall braking effectiveness as the front wheels are forced to all of the work of stopping the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @DCBruce:

      My friend, you’re riding hard on those assumptions. While I agree with you on some things (payload, for instance) multi-link rear suspensions have improved significantly over the last few years, so that camber issue isn’t what it used to be.

      As for your AWD Pilot, as you said, it is over 10 years old and again riding on old technologies; you really should read how it works in the new Ridgeline (and I assume Pilot), it’s quite different. And you’d be surprised how a 3-differential AWD system works today compared to older versions. If you can lock all three (possible with some models) it’s almost as strong as the solid-axle models for moving the vehicle. AND, if all wheels are locked to a common rotation speed, starting AND stopping on snow and ice are much more efficient even when traction is lost under one or two wheels. And yes, manually pulsing the brakes again becomes effective if you’re on wet ice where even an anti-lock system would lock up all four into a skid.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “multi-link rear suspensions have improved significantly over the last few years, so that camber issue isn’t what it used to be.”

        They haven’t fundamentally changed, and unless there are adjustable air springs in play, it is still a question of spring stiffness to achieve a balance of a compliant ride while having enough stiffness to resist excessive squat. Looking at photos online, they haven’t radically changed the design to resist that camber while squatting. To be fair I haven’t seen any in the flesh hauling a full payload’s worth of cargo so I will reserve judgement.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The Ram 1500 uses both multi-link and air bags for its suspension and reviewers claim it works well, though the air pumps work hard under off-road conditions and tend to overheat. I can’t speak specifically to any others but I will note that it all depends on the intended payload capacity, which for the Ridgeline would be an almost true half-ton compared to most full-sizers promising almost a full ton (including driver and one passenger.) When the typical DIYer is only going to put from 500-750# in the bed, you simply don’t need the heavy suspension found in the others.

          Yes, I’ve seen many a truck overloaded on occasion… we all have. Doesn’t mean it’s safe, only that they’ve done it. So far as I know, I’ve never overloaded (by weight) any truck or car I’ve owned, but I’ve packed some cars so full that I could only see out the windshield and the driver’s door. Even then, it wasn’t weight, it was all bulk. Even then, it was a one-shot… told my boss if he wanted me to retrieve production supplies from another plant, get me access to something that could carry it all without blinding me. Foreman loaned the use of his pickup for the next load (our purchasing agent for production was literally a ditz–the owner’s daughter. Oh, the stories I have about her. In one year as maintenance purchasing, I saved the company more by buying quality tools than she’d cost the company the previous year by buying cheap tools. Got a 25% raise out of it.)

          Yes, I do know when big is needed and accept that some owners truly do need their Road Whales™ but I also know that many of them never will need what their trucks can do.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “The Ram 1500 uses both multi-link and air bags for its suspension and reviewers claim it works well, ”

            You do realize the Ram still uses a solid rear axle, right? Hence the lack of camber. The difference is that they use a 5 link rear+ coils to locate and support that solid rear axle, just like an SUV such as a 4Runner for example, rather than leaf springs like every other traditional truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “You do realize the Ram still uses a solid rear axle, right?”

            Most of them, yes. And while I’m not totally certain, I’d read that two specific versions ran with both bags and links. Those might have been prototypes, though.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            All production RAM trucks have a solid rear axle, the 2500/3500 4wds have a solid front axle as well. Air bags are an option, and frankly, a necessary one. Without it, some crew cab 1500 Rams’ payload is less rated than a Ridgeline!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Without it, some crew cab 1500 Rams’ payload is less rated than a Ridgeline!”

            —-Some already are, or didn’t you know that?

  • avatar
    ajla

    If I buy a truck it better treat the roads like Sasha Grey and make me feel like I have an 11 inch wang.

  • avatar
    gltff

    I own a 2017 RTL-T Ridgeline and it’s the perfect truck for me. We are dedicated DIY landscapers and the Ridgeline is just fine for hauling dirt, gravel, mulch, pine straw, lumber, etc. I sold my 2008 Tacoma when I purchased the Honda and haven’t missed the Toyota at all. Another plus for the Ridgeline is the comfort level on trips. All of our grandchildren live in other states, the nearest being three hours away, and the Ridgeline is very nice on long drives. Also, on those trips it gets 29 MPG. I’m very happy with this truck and would but another.

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