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.
Honda’s Ridgeline pickup is a really good truck.
It also has a bias towards on-road performance, unibody construction, and a reputation for being a truck for urban and suburban use.
In other words, it’s not rugged enough, despite a recent makeover that made the styling more macho.
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline arrives at dealerships today, with all-new sheetmetal upfront, a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, 9-speed automatic, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive standard across the lineup. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price starts at $36,490, with a destination charge of $1,175.
In 2006, the first-generation Honda Ridgeline’s first full model year, Americans acquired 50,193 Ridgelines.
Honda believes 2021’s refreshed Ridgeline will mark a return to those glory days.
The first Ridgeline’s tenure was marked by an impressive beginning, albeit impressive only by the most modest of standards. But that Ridgeline’s performance in the U.S. marketplace rapidly grew worse as sales fell consecutively in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011; sliding 81 percent over the course of a half-decade.
Honda’s second kick at the can in 2016 (for the 2017 model year) resulted in a much better pickup, but still a pickup most buyers won’t consider. Almost completely on the basis of new front-end styling, with no engineering changes to speak of, Honda believes that the second-generation Ridgeline will enter its fifth model year and turn from being a truck that produces roughly 33,000 sales per year into a truck that attracts 50,000 buyers per year.
And Honda actually means it.
As much as we try to cover the news without bias here at TTAC, it would untrue to say that those of us on staff don’t have certain vehicles we like more than others. Our Slack channel is often filled with discussions about how this car or that crossover is good or bad and why. We all have certain vehicles we’d put our own money down on.
Auto high beams were not the feature I thought I’d miss when our family switched from a 2018 Honda Odyssey to a 2019 Honda Ridgeline. I spent more than three decades living in urban environments. High beam use was limited to vacations or weekend getaways in country idylls.
Even after three years of rural life, auto high beams still seemed to me to be just a frivolous luxury. At least they did, until we gave them up in the switch to the Ridgeline, which isn’t the top-spec model needed to acquire the auto high beams. It was a switch that occurred during some of the longest days of the year, when there are roughly 16 hours between sunrise and sunset on Prince Edward Island.
Now the daylight hours are shrinking and I am forced to repeatedly push and pull a signal stalk forward and back with the sheer strength of an index finger, like some sort of penurious Suzuki Equator driver. It’s cruel and unusual punishment, that’s what it is. DIY high beam engagement may well be an enhanced interrogation technique, the details of which have not yet been uncovered in a David Shepardson exposé.
Fortunately, almost everything else about the 2019 Honda Ridgeline has fostered an increasingly contented ownership experience, the likes of which I’ve ever encountered in a 5,000-mile/4-month test.
1 out of every 100 pickup truck buyers in the United States chooses the Honda Ridgeline.
That sounds to me like exclusivity. That’s a strong whiff of individuality I sniff. It’s positively road-less-traveled kind of material. And I’m hopelessly drawn toward vehicles that operate way outside the mainstream.
Therefore, in the third model year of the second-generation Ridgeline’s tenure, I swapped our Honda Odyssey for a 2019 Honda Ridgeline to use as the family steed. What else are you going to buy when your vehicular wish list includes exterior and interior cargo space, four driven wheels, reasonable fuel economy, comfortable seating for five, high safety ratings, killer resale value, and a ton of standard equipment?
Wandering the 2020 Chicago Auto Show floor on the second media day, I entertained myself by playing with trucks.
More specifically, I tinkered with the trick tailgates found on GMC and Ram models, plus the in-bed cooler offered by Honda’s Ridgeline. Also springing to mind is the available roll-up tonneau cover offered by Jeep’s Gladiator, as well as that old stalwart, the RamBox.
Like most Americans, you probably didn’t emerge from last night’s slumber with thoughts of the Honda Ridgeline on your mind. Few do, though the oft-overlooked unibody Honda pickup remains a fairly consistent niche seller.
For the coming month, Honda wants to provide you, the buyer, with additional reasons to choose its offering over tried-and-true BOF competitors.
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?
Suggesting that the automaker is “providing a more compelling value,” American Honda is removing the second-from-the-bottom RTS trim level from the 2018 Honda Ridgeline lineup and extinguishing the all-wheel-drive option on basic RT Ridgelines.
As a result, after a 2017 run in which all-wheel-drive Ridgelines could be purchased for $32,315, the 2018 Honda Ridgeline AWD now has a base price $3,695 higher than before.
Honda announced Friday that it had found a logjam in its news department, and summarily fixed the problem by releasing a month’s worth of news for the automaker in about an hour.
The logjam apparently precluded the release of information it had for the North American International Auto Show next month, namely an Acura sedan concept with hood lines like an NSX and hips like a Playmate.
The so-dubbed “Precision Concept” will make its bow next month and foretell the company’s future plans for performance sedans. According to Car and Driver, Acura general manager John Ikeda said there was much to be read into the car’s long hood — which may mean a longitudinally mounted mill and rear-wheel drive.
Have you recently wondered, “What would the face of the redesigned Civic look like plastered on a desert-ready racing truck?” Honda has your number. This is the new Ridgeline.
Except it’s not.
The Japanese automaker announced its return to the Baja 1000 at SEMA on Tuesday and revealed the machine that will carry HPD’s HR35TT race engine — a 550 horsepower, a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 — across the finish line.
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- Michael In your research you may have found that after 2024 this model will no longer be part of MINI lineup. I wish you would have driven JCW version. Over an additional 100hp. With launch control it will go 0 to 60 in about 4.6 seconds. Outstanding car.
- RHD A hybrid small pickup is a no-brainer. Let's go, already! Price it reasonably and every one will fly off of the lot.
- RHD This is a $3,500 car (assuming you can get a good junkyard transmission and install it yourself) that, once back in usable condition, will be worth about $1,000. Hopefully the guy that spray-painted the wheels black didn't attempt to rebuild the engine himself. That would make it a $5,500 car that's worth $1,000.
- CEastwood They should , but they won't being fearful of losing those sales of near 30 grand base Tacomas . People thought Hyundai could do this then they did it at laughably expensive prices . And try to get a base Maverick at advertised prices . Go ahead I dare you .
- Jpurcha Nice. I had bought one from my dad's friend for my first car. University/model airplane hauler.