Roseville, Calif. – This will not be a consideration for people who love their traditional trucks. But Honda never had that in mind when it brought back the Ridgeline this year.
After a two-year absence, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline has emerged and the consensus is it’s better than ever. A five-passenger, four-door crew-cab midsize pickup, the second-generation Ridgeline drives like a sport utility vehicle and also shares some of the interior comforts that attract SUV buyers. Yet it also has a very unique truck bed that’s good for hauling, towing and even tailgating parties.
In fact, the Ridgeline has a lot in common with one particular SUV – the Honda Pilot. Ridgeline designers used some of the technology, features, design, and parts of the 2016 Pilot, an SUV that has been well received. The Ridgeline uses a unibody construction and four-wheel independent suspension that is responsible for its strong handling that distances itself from other pickups.
Honda believes its near half-ton pickup will be a strong alternative for truck buyers who are considering the competition: namely the GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, and Nissan Frontier.
2017 Honda Ridgeline
* Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 280 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 19-26 mpg
* Price estimate: $29,475 to $42,970
* Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5years/unlimited miles
Perhaps the coolest thing about the new Ridgeline is it has a cooler. The truck’s large in-bed trunk has a drain plug, making it perfect for storing a huge amount of sodas and beers on ice. The in-bed trunk also has audio capability, so it’s ideal for blasting music prior to a game or any outdoor gathering. There’s also a two-pronged plug in the bed that has a 400-watt AC power outlet. When not in party mode, the bed can serve as a storage area that can accommodate tools and a spare tire.
The Ridgeline’s innovative cargo bed also features a two-way tailgate that opens straight back like a traditional truck, or swings out from the side. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, a modest amount for a truck. And the towing is reduced to 3,500 in front-wheel drive models.
Available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the Ridgeline has one engine, an all-aluminum 3.5-liter, V-6 that generates 280 horsepower and 262 pounds-feet of torque. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the Ridgeline can easily travel through snow, sand and mud. Stay away from any serious off-road excursions because it doesn’t have low-range gearing. There are seven trim lines (RT, RTS, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E), but none of them are a V8 that many truck people prefer.
As mentioned earlier, the Ridgeline delivers a fairly smooth ride and handles much better than a traditional truck. The steering is accurate, responsive, and the Ridgeline corners well.
The cabin has almost the same dimensions as the previous Ridgeline, a 2014 model. The truck offers roomy comfort for all five passengers. The materials are improved and the technology is all new. But new doesn’t always equate to better. The Ridgeline has an 8-inch touchscreen audio that has received its share of complaints because it’s frustrating to master.
For shoppers looking for a cross between an SUV and a truck, the Ridgeline might be the way to go. It’s a handsome-looking truck with some unique qualities that’s offered at a reasonable price.