The midsize pickup field is about to get more crowded, again.
Honda gave the Ridgeline a two-year hiatus. In that time, Honda completely reworked the unibody model. The automaker ditched the high sides bed in favor of more normal horizontal sides to give it a more traditional truck feel. Honda says its highly rigid, aerodynamic and tightly sealed unitized body construction delivers up to three times the torsional rigidity of competing body-on-frame trucks.
Meanwhile, designers also took time to have some fun with it. We love to picture the team of designers tossing around out of the box ideas and when they came up with its one-of-a-kind cargo bed audio system. It packs 540-watts of sound to create what Honda calls the “ultimate tailgating vehicle.”
The cargo bed also brings the rock ‘n roll more than in just the music sense. Earlier this month, Honda put the bed to the landscaping stone challenge. The automaker posted a video showing the plastic lined bed handling a dump load of landscaping stones and coming out unscathed. (Chevy started the challenge with its own recent video pitting the Silverado against the Ford F-15o.)
Payload rating weighs in at 1,580 pounds. That’s comparable to the Chevrolet Colorado that has a steel bed and a payload of 1,620 lbs. The Ridgeline also offers a dual-way opening tailgate.
Under the pug-like sloping hood, the model gets a 3.5-liter, direct injection i-VTEC V6 engine. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Gone are the days of no choices. Both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive are offered. AWD uses Honda’s i-VTM4 torque vectoring with Intelligent Terrain Management with Normal, Sand, Snow, and Mud modes.
In terms of fuel economy, the FWD gets an estimated 19 city and 26 highway mpg (AWD drops 1 mpg in each rating.)
The new Ridgeline goes on sale June 21st. It starts at $29,475 for the FWD and $31,275 for AWD.