The Ridgeline is a unique-looking, but well-designed light truck for those who don’t need to go the full-size route. It’s built to both get the job done, and function as a daily, family-friendly ride with seating for five and a cozy interior.
The tailgate is unique as it both folds down or to the side, and there is also an in-bed “trunk”. The bed is 5 feet 4 inches long, and 4 feet 2 inches wide. You can even install speakers in the truck bed -- a pretty cool tailgating trick.
The rear seat has plenty of leg room, and the Ridgeline is best in class for passenger volume, rear seat cargo and versatility. Its main competitors are the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, and GMC Canyon. The interior is overall very roomy for a small truck.
The front seat is pretty comfortable, and can be adjusted very high or very low. My test vehicle featured a leather-trimmed interior and leather-wrapped steering wheel. A heated steering wheel is also offered.
You can get a power-sliding rear cabin window; and a power moonroof.
The Ridgeline features a 3.5-liter V6 engine; 6 speed automatic transmission, optional all-wheel drive (FWD is standard). It produces 280 horsepower (@6000 rpm) and 262 lb.-ft. of torque (@4700 rpm).
The Ridgeline is responsive for a truck, and doesn’t feel overly heavy. It was actually quite fun to drive, which I don’t often say about trucks, which tend to plunder along and be mainly known as workhorse vehicles. That smoother ride is due to Honda building the pickup bed on a car-like chassis.
Payload capacity is a class-leading 1,584 pounds; and it tows up to 5,000 pounds (a number beaten by some rivals)..
Included on the Ridgeline is Intelligent Traction Management, which adjusts for snow, mud and sand driving to maintain traction.
The Ridgeline is up to date with many of the new tech options, being compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also opt for Garmin Navigation (not the best navigation system in the business, but it will get you where you’re going).
Honda’s infotainment system is frustrating to use, and not one of my favorites compared to other automakers. The Ridgeline’s setup featured an 8-inch screen; but the display is somewhat amateur looking and less responsive compared to better systems in other vehicles. The tech interface is probably the weakest point on the Ridgeline, and needs an upgrade ASAP.
You can opt for a premium audio system (8 speakers with subwoofer).
Also offered are the latest safety features, including: Collision Mitigation Braking System; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Keeping Assist System; Forward Collision Warning; Lane Departure Warning; Road Departure Mitigation, and more. These are not always offered on trucks, so that’s a positive for the Ridgeline. In fact, the Ridgeline earned a Top Safety Pick honor from IIHS, which is a first.
Official numbers are FWD edition are 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg; AWD version gets you 18/25/21 mpg. These numbers are tops in the light truck category, another solid argument for the Ridgeline.
PRICE, BOTTOM LINE
My test vehicle was just over $42,000 and was near the very top of the price chart; base price starts about $29.5K.
While not as big a seller as some of the other light trucks on the market (Toyota Tacoma dominates due to its longevity and consistency, and Honda is just getting back in the game), the Ridgeline is back with a vengeance and will no doubt begin to boost its market share in years to come.
Some traditional truck buyers will scoff at what they might call an odd-looking Honda truck, but they will be missing a pretty impressive vehicle if they do so, as there’s not much that the competition does better. The Ridgeline was just this month named at Detroit’s 2017 North American International Auto Show as Truck of the Year, and that’s for good reason.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.