Honda's iconoclastic Ridgeline returns to the market after a two-year hiatus and is ready to shake up the midsize truck segment once more.
Available exclusively in a crew-cab configuration with a short bed, the Ridgeline shares its unibody platform with the latest Pilot midsize crossover. Multi-amplitude dampers and a fully independent rear suspension offer a smoother ride of any pickup, not to mention steering that's more like a crossover than a truck. With a standard Class III towing hitch and a tow rating of 5,000 lbs, the Ridgeline matches the Honda Pilot, but trails the Tacoma, Frontier, and Colorado, the latter of which can tow up to 7,000 lbs.
On the other hand, the Ridgeline has an impressively useful bed, accessed through a dual-hinged tailgate that swings both down and out. With its lower walls, increased width, and flat floor, the Ridgeline can now accommodate objects as wide as four feet across. The unique bed is made from SMC (plastic) and doesn't require a bed liner. It also features a watertight, lockable trunk, and has eight tie-down cleats for securing objects. Maximum payload is 713 kg. Certain trim levels receive a 115-volt AC power outlet and there's even an optional speaker system built right into the bed.
All Ridgelines use a 3.5-litre direct-injected V6 engine with cylinder deactivation. The engine produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, which represents an increase of 30 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque over the previous generation. The standard transmission is a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel-drive is standard. The i-VTM4 system eschews the typical low-range mode found in trucks for a fully automatic and SUV-like all-wheel drive system with selectable driving modes. The setup automatically adjusts the power distribution between the front and rear wheels for optimal traction. Fuel efficiency ratings for the new Ridgeline are not yet available, but Honda claims the Ridgeline to be the most frugal V6-powered truck in the segment.
The Ridgeline is available in five trims, ranging from the base LX to the range-topping Black Edition. Standard features include proximity key wth push-button start, remote engine starter, LED headlights and taillights, heated front seats, a multi-angle reverse camera, and an 8.0-inch display audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Available high-end features include two-tone leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and tri-zone climate control system.
All Ridgelines come with a 60/40 split folding rear bench that flips up to reveal a large under-seat storage. The flat cabin floor allows bulky objects such as big boxes or mountain bikes to be carried inside the cabin with ease.
Impressively, all Ridgelines come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. That means even the most basic LX trim receives radar cruise control, forward collision warning, emergency autonomous braking, lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning. The Sport and EX-L trim add Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot camera system, while the Touring and Black Edition feature a blind-spot monitoring system. Most of the Ridgeline's rivals are unavailable with these safety features.