2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport HPD Review - Slightly More "Truck" Than Before

Fast Facts

2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport HPD Fast Facts

3.5-liter V6 (280 horsepower @ 6,000 RPM, 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM)
Nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
18 city / 24 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
12.8 city / 9.9 highway / 11.5 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$36,490 (U.S) / $49,440 (Canada)
As Tested
$40,860 (U.S.) / $51,821 (Canada)
Prices include $1,175 destination charge in the United States and $2,050 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2021 honda ridgeline awd sport hpd review slightly more truck than before

One of the things this author has always appreciated about the Honda Ridgeline is its car-like qualities. More than once, the phrase “Accord on stilts” has escaped my lips when talking about the Ridgeline with fellow auto scribes, and I meant it as a compliment.

Imagine my dismay to find that the refreshed 2021 Honda Ridgeline felt jussssst a bit more “trucky” than before.

Just a bit, though. As I tooled around town in this Ridgeline, I still felt it was more car-like than any other truck of its size.

Obviously, being “car-like” will be a detriment to some. Some folks want their truck to look and act tough, to be trail-ready. The Ridgeline’s new facelift certainly addresses the first part – it looks much more ready for the backcountry. And while I’ve not taken a Ridgeline of any year very far off the pavement, I’ve been told this current generation can do some light off-roading with ease. That said, the true off-roader will be shopping Chevy and Toyota.

To me, the appeal of a truck with a ride that’s reminiscent of a sedan lies in the use case. Not all truck buyers are venturing into the backwoods. The concert tailgater, the person hauling goods across town, the suburban landscaper – these folks should take notice. Boulder bashers need not apply.

Honda tells me the Ridgeline’s suspension hasn’t changed, but as I tooled around town, I felt the ride was just a teeny bit stiffer than it was the last time I drove one of these trucks. The HPD Package that my tester was equipped with was likely not the reason – this package adds fender flares, different wheels, a different grille, and different emblems and badging. That said, the change was barely perceptible – and I concede it could just be my imagination – and the Ridgeline remains more car-like, both in terms of ride and handling, than its competition.

Otherwise, the change in style doesn’t much change the guts. Not that everything stays the same – torque-vectoring all-wheel drive is now standard. The system automatically sends up to 70 percent of the torque to the rear wheels and continually shifts 100 percent of that torque between the left and right wheels based on driving conditions.

A 3.5-liter V6 makes 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, and that power gets to the four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Power is just fine, if unremarkably so, for the suburban commute.

Aside from the $2,800 HPD Package, this truck (remember, Sport is the base trim)came with items like a heavy-duty transmission cooler, Bluetooth, 18-inch wheels, all-season rubber, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, keyless starting, USB, tri-zone climate control, fold-up rear seat, dual-action tailgate, LED headlights and fog lamps, in-bed trunk, remote start, adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, road-departure mitigation, and the $395 Radiant Red paint job.

Including the $1,175 destination fee, the total price was $40,860. Fuel economy is listed at 18/24/21.

The Ridgeline looks “truckier” now, but it retains its car-like ride/handling characteristics. It remains the truck for urbanites, tailgaters, and do-it-yourselfers who fill their weekends with jaunts to the Home Depot.

That’s not a bad thing, unless you simply must head to the off-road park each weekend. If you live your life on pavement, the Ridgeline will suit you just fine.

[Images © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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  • Michael S6 Michael S6 on Jun 24, 2022

    Very good truck with the most hideous wheels on market today. Someone at Honda must be color blind.

  • Roger hopkins Roger hopkins on Jul 30, 2022

    Can we not get rid of the 4 door truck, & go back to a truck with a real bed & a regular Cab??? Why does everyone have to make all the Trucks a 4 door station wagon with an open bed...???

  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.
  • Cprescott I assume that since the buses will be free to these companies that these companies will reduce their bus fare.
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