The Honda Ridgeline is a pickup truck with a bit of an identity crisis, as it is neither a true truck nor a true SUV; this is a vehicle that crosses over both territories and therefore plays a unique spot in the market (Submitted)

The Honda Ridgeline is a pickup truck with a bit of an identity crisis, as it is neither a true truck nor a true SUV; this is a vehicle that crosses over both territories and therefore plays a unique spot in the market (Submitted)

2019 Honda Ridgeline changes the truck market

The Honda Ridgeline is Honda’s only pickup truck, and plays an important – yet niche – role for this ever evolving company

The Honda Ridgeline is Honda’s only pickup truck, and plays an important – yet niche – role for this ever evolving company. It is a pickup truck with a bit of an identity crisis, as it is neither a true truck nor a true SUV; this is a vehicle that crosses over both territories and therefore plays a unique spot in the market.

After winning the 2017 North American Truck of the Year, Honda had high hopes for the Ridgeline, but it struggles to keep up with the sales paces of its primary competitors such as the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, or most recently, the Ford Ranger mid-size trucks.

Truck buyers tend to be a very loyal bunch, and therefore the Ridgeline has had a hard time breaking into the segment that expects trucks to be body-on-frame, true-to-the-core designs. The Ridgeline is actually based on the Honda Pilot, so its strengths are also its weaknesses: strengths being that the vehicle is car-like, far surpassing other trucks’ road manners – but at the same time, the Ridgeline lacks toughness and ruggedness associated with frame-based trucks.

In fact, despite the fact that Ridgeline receives overwhelmingly positive reviews from magazines and industry specialists, its direct competitor Toyota Tacoma outsells the Ridgeline by 10 to 1 ratio. On the other hand, once people own the Ridgeline, they say they can never go back to traditional frame-based trucks, simply because the car-based Ridgeline performs so much better on normal roads. If you desire to take your truck to true off-road courses, though, it will be more difficult to do that with the Ridgeline as its car-based body and suspension can’t withstand the kind of terrains that body-on-frame trucks eat for breakfast.

Design

Honda has taken a lot of care to create a beautiful and comfortable interior for both the driver and passenger – no doubt having the Pilot as the “baseline” helps here. The interior space of the cabin is generous and the Ridgeline leads the segment in terms of interior space capacity. Visibility is high throughout and the cab has an insulated, quiet feel to it. Heated front and back seats make the drive comfortable, even in the middle of a Canadian winter, not to mention a fully functioning rear window defroster (you can’t get that in most trucks, including the Tacoma).

The exterior has softer styling than the aggressive appearance of other competitors, which can be a plus or a minus depending on individual tastes.

The Honda Ridgeline may have many bells and whistles that are more common in passenger vehicles, but it still offers truck features inside and out. The back bed has many functional features besides just offering storage. Like in Tacoma, the bed is made of a composite plastic, and therefore will never rust.

One unique feature is the deep, practical lockable in-bed trunk, which helps keep your goods safe. This storage is remarkable large and deep, and even can be used as a cooler if you put ice in it as it has a drain hole.

The tailgate has a dual-action feature: it can be pulled down like a regular truck tailgate or swung open sideways to make loading things easier. The bed of the Ridgeline is large (5’4” x 5’) with a clearance of 4’2” of clearance between the wheel wells. Towing capacity is 5,000 lbs and comes with a trailer stability assist safety function. The towing capacity isn’t as high as other competitors, but the Ridgeline can still pull its weight for most people.

The previously mentioned in-bed storage locks and unlocks with the remote, but the actual tailgate doesn’t have a lock, surprisingly (third party option appears available).

With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities as well as an available Truck-Bed Audio system, the Ridgeline takes tailgate parties quite seriously. The Truck-Bed Audio uses interesting technology to bring the audio sound to the tailgate fans.

Honda Sensing technologies are integrated into the top trim of the Ridgeline to making driving safer – such as the Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control. Other active and passive safety features include automatic tire pressure monitoring, hill start assist and auto high beam as well as six standard airbags.

Performance

The Ridgeline offers a 3.5-litre, direct engine i-VTEC V6 engine with 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, again borrowed straight from the Honda Pilot. This is enhanced with Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD system, which makes the Ridgeline handle more like an SUV than a truck. Paired with that is a 6-speed automatic with Grade Logic Control. Since all of Ridgeline’s competitors have part time 4WD (where you have to manually shift into 4WD on slippery surfaces only), the full-time AWD in Honda’s truck is truly unique in the industry.

What sets the Ridgeline apart from other competitors is the unibody chassis and fully independent front and rear suspension system that allows the pickup to navigate through all kinds of roads. There is a traction management system that allows you to choose between Normal, Snow, Mud or Sand to allow you to travel safely on any terrain. Fuel economy for the Honda Ridgeline is 12.8/9.5/11.3 L/100 kilometres for city/highway/combined, with an optional ECON drive mode setting.

In terms of general road feel, there is nothing that comes close to Honda’s road manners. The Ridgeline steers straight as an arrow, turns on a dime, and provides a silky smooth ride that no trucks can match. It does feel less “truck like,” but I would assume that most people – even diehard truck fans – would prefer the Ridgeline’s refined ride and handling over its competitors’ rough characters.

Summary

The Ridgeline is available in 4 trim levels including the Sport, EX-L, Touring and Black Edition. Moving to the EX-L provides mainly cosmetic and comfort additions, while upgrading to the Touring will add many more practical and “luxury” options including blue ambient lighting and an 150W/400W in-bed power outlet. The black edition is exactly what one would assume – everything is in black theme with the exception of stylish red ambient lighting throughout. The Honda Ridgeline Sport starts from $40,790 and increases to $49,790 MSRP for the Black edition.

Competitors include the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado GMC Canyon, and most recently the Ford Ranger. In summary, the Ridgeline has the comfort and refined spirit of an SUV, with the practicality and cargo of a pickup truck. With an excellent fuel economy and best in-class safety ratings as well as innovative features, the Honda Ridgeline is not a truck to be messed with. Now if only traditional truck buyers would give this vehicle a chance…

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

– written by David Chao

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

2019 Honda Ridgeline changes the truck market

2019 Honda Ridgeline changes the truck market

Just Posted

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Red Deer jumps to 449 active COVID-19 cases on Sunday

1,516 new cases identified in Alberta

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

San Jose's Tomas Hertl, center, celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau, left, and Rudolfs Blacers, right, after Hertl scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Friday, April 16, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s games record

For Patrick Marleau, the best part about Monday night when he is… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

Most Read