In 2006, the bigwigs at Honda decided to break into the pickup truck market with the Ridgeline. They ultimately succeeded in breeding a smaller full-size truck with an innovative and unique design based on unibody construction. Featuring such design ingenuity as a dual-action tailgate and a modest trunk found under the bed, the Ridgeline earned Motor Trend's Truck of the Year award in its debut year.
See also the main fact sheets for the Honda Ridgeline.
- Roomy interior
- Dual-action tailgate
- Tall bed
- Hidden trunk
- Short bed
- Unusual look
- No V8 option
- No passenger power seat
- Poor fuel economy
Performance and HandlingEdit
The engine found on all versions of the Ridgeline is a 3.5L 247hp V6, operated by a standard 5-speed automatic transmission and four wheel drive. It accelerates surprisingly well, and it's responsive even at higher speeds. Because it is built off a unibody design, it's more rigid overall than most conventional pickups, which, in conjunction with its all wheel independent suspension, helps in maintaining a tight, solid feel through turns and high speed. In addition, standard vehicle stability control and anti-lock brakes help to stabilize the ride even more.
The Ridgeline's towing capacity is 5000 lbs, which is less than many of its competitors but still sufficient for most domestic towing needs. While it can handle a bit of off-roading competently, heavy duty driving in rough terrain will likely be undesirable.
As reported by FuelEconomy.gov, the Ridgeline gets 16mpg in the city and 21mpg on the highway. This is the same across all trim levels, as they are all equipped with the same engine and four wheel drive. Autos.com ranks the Ridgeline tied for 5th with the Dodge Ram 1500 in fuel efficiency for the Full-Size Truck category.
According to the NHTSA, the Ridgeline performed extremely well on safety tests. For all front- and side-impact tests conducted, the Ridgeline received a 5-star rating, and rollover tests earned it 4 of 5 stars. This placed it at the top of the Safety category for Full-Sized Trucks on Autos.com.
Most of the safety features are standard across all trim levels. These include front, side, and side curtain airbags with occupancy sensors; side impact door beams; anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD); vehicle stability assist with traction control; and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Reliability and MaintenanceEdit
As the Ridgeline was all new for model year 2006, there is no information on its reliability as of yet. However, critics have praised this debut pickup from Honda highly, and with the company's excellent reputation, time should reveal that they've done just as well with this foray into the truck market as they have with their cars.
Interior and ComfortsEdit
The interior of the Ridgeline is generous with space, particularly up front. This is due, in part, to the fact that, althought its length is a relatively shorter but more maneuverable size, the width remains consistent with that of a full-size truck. This creates plenty of shoulder space for its passengers and allows for a more comfortable seating in the middle rear. Legroom, on the other hand, while plentiful for front passengers, is slightly limited in the rear, like most trucks with a second row.
Instrumentation is intuitive, for the most part. Guages are conveniently large and easy to read, as is the information display and optional navigation screen. Stereo controls lie flat against the center of the dashboard, which is positioned in such a way as to cause the slightest of reaches in order to access it. In addition, the center console between the front seats is large, making a good storage space for maps or miscellaneous items.
Some of the standard interior features are power locks, windows, and rear sliding door; cruise control; driver and passenger illuminated mirrors; and 3 12-volt power outlets. Ambient instrument lighting, a leather wrapped steering wheel, and a navigation system are available on the RTL trim, and things like the sophistication of the climate control system and steering wheel mounted controls vary by trim level.
The Rigdeline's exterior, when compared to more traditional models from longtime truckmakers such as Chevrolet or Ford, is downright odd. The Ridgeline's cab melts right into the bed, creating a singular, more solid look. In fact, the rear sliding window that leads from the cabin to the bed is so large, one could easily climb back and forth, if one were so inclined. From some angles, it very much looks like Honda decided to slap a bed onto the back of an SUV.
However, the fun doesn't stop there. Walk around to the back of the Ridgeline to unlock the tailgate, and you'll find you actually have a choice in how to go about doing this. Not only does the tailgate flip down like traditional trucks, but when upright, it also swings outward. Furthermore, the reason for this innovation is yet another nifty feature: a cargo space under the bed itself. Because the Ridgeline employs an independent suspension in rear as well as the front, the extra space under the bed is used both to store the spare tire (full size or donut, whichever you fancy) and as an 8.5 cubic foot storage compartment, a sort of surrogate trunk, if you will.
As far as options are concerned, there's really not much variation to speak of. The four trim levels of the Ridgeline differ only slightly, with higher models receiving body colored mirrors and door handles, as well as shinier, more polished wheels. The RTX does come with a towing package, which includes a tow hitch and harness, and a standard chrome grill which is optional for all other trims. But other than that, none of the new Ridgelines is excluded from receiving the key innovations that really set it apart from its competitors.
Styles and OptionsEdit
The Ridgeline is available in four trim levels, the RT, RTX, RTS, and RTL. Virtually all of the truck's engineering is the same for all versions, including its engine, transmission, drivetrain, and suspension. The differences can be found mostly in minor exterior aesthetics and interior conveniences.
The RT is the base model. It comes with the basic amenities, such as the innovative dual-action tailgate and under-bed trunk, air conditioning, cruise control, and power windows, locks, and rear sliding window, to name a few. It's the only model to have non-body colored door handles and side mirrors, and a chrome grill is an optional accessory.
The RTX steps it up a notch by adding body colored door handles (though the side mirrors remain black), but what sets it apart from the other trim levels is that it is the only one to come with a standard chrome grill and a towing package that includes a hitch and wiring harness.
The RTS and RTL are the top trim levels of the Ridgeline and are set apart from the previous two by several items. They both come with security systems, body colored mirrors, silver alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, 8-way power seats, and a 160-watt, 7-speaker stereo system with an in-dash 6-CD changer. The RTL maxes things out with heated leather seats, ambient console lighting, heated side mirrors, a power moonroof, and standard XM radio.
- Honda Ridgeline Information Resource and Forums
- Honda Names All-New 4-Door 4WD Truck 'Ridgeline'
- Edmunds.com Long-Term Test
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