When Honda decided to launch a large pickup truck for the 2006 model year, the company didn’t take the conventional route. Rather than traditional body-on-frame construction, for instance, the Ridgeline was unibodied. Now, Honda has revived the Ridgeline in fully redesigned form, with a more powerful V6 engine, and what the company calls an “ultra-rigid” unibody structure. As before, the emphasis is on aerodynamics, sophistication and innovation, as well as cargo-carrying capacities.
What's New for 2017
Honda dropped the initial version of the Ridgeline after the 2014 model year. Now, a totally redesigned Ridgeline is ready for the marketplace, intended for both recreational and work use. Notable features include a Honda-exclusive In-Bed Trunk and a dual-action tailgate that aims at drivers who hold “tailgate” parties. Honda claims the largest cabin in the Ridgeline’s class, as well as the world’s first available Truck Bed Audio system. Torsional rigidity is said to be up to three times as great as rival body-on-frame trucks. Inside is LED map lighting, with soft-touch materials throughout the cabin.
Choosing Your Honda Ridgeline
Honda’s direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine develops 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, driving a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but torque vectoring all-wheel drive is available on all trim levels. The fully independent suspension uses Amplitude Reactive dampers. Honda promises “class-leading” payload capacity (1,584 pounds), plus towing capacity up to 5,000 pounds. Pushbutton-actuated Intelligent Traction Management has four modes: Normal, Snow, Mud, and Sand for AWD models; or Normal and Snow for 2WD Ridgelines.
The glass fiber-reinforced composite cargo bed is 3.9 inches longer and 5.5 inches wider than the original. Honda asserts that it’s the only cargo bed in a midsize truck that can hold items that are 4 feet wide. Eight 350-pound tie-down cleats are standard.
All Ridgelines get a multi-angle rearview camera. The 60/40-split folding rear seat holds up to three passengers. With seat bottoms folded upward, a Ridgeline can carry bulky items. Under-seat storage is available, and integration of smartphone features includes navigation capabilities.
Available features include a 400-watt in-bed power outlet, LED projector headlights and daytime running lights, satellite-linked navigation, and an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. The Honda Sensing group of safety and driver-assistive technologies includes collision mitigation braking, lane-departure and forward collision warnings, lane-keeping assist, road-departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.
Seven trim levels are available:
Honda says it took the “best and most beloved” elements of the original, blending them into a new platform and advanced technology. Many fans of domestic-brand pickups shunned that first-generation Ridgeline from the start. Whether this redesigned midsize Ridgeline will be able to compete more effectively against traditional-type Ford, Ram and Chevrolet/GMC pickups with rear-wheel drive is an open question. Honda’s version even differs considerably from the import brands that offer larger pickup trucks.