After being pulled from production due to dismal sales, Honda is hoping the Ridgeline can make a comeback. The automaker’s released a sketch of its next generation model, which Honda hopes revives the ailing pickup. Honda sold less than 14,000 of them in 2014.
Unveiling the new sketch at the Chicago Auto Show, Jeff Conrad, Honda Division Senior Vice President and General Manager told the crowd, “the new Ridgeline brings more traditional truck proportions and styling than the previous generation…while retaining space efficiency, ride comfort and flexible utility that helped make the original Ridgeline both the Motor Trend Truck of the Year…as well as the North American Truck of the Year.”
Most notably, the new Ridgeline ditches the old model’s signature flying buttress-style bedsides for a more traditional pickup profile. Technical details for the vehicle have not been revealed, and while it’s likely to maintain the Ridgeline’s unique reinforced uni-body chassis design, there are a couple of possible hints in the sketch that more changes than the bed side shape may be on the way.
The first is a line bisecting the tailgate that suggests it can open barn door style, as well as flip down. The one on the old Ridgeline could be swung open like a door, so a little cleverness here wouldn’t be too far-fetched. Chrysler recently patented a similar design, although it hasn’t confirmed any plans to put it into production.
Then again, the line could be nothing more than a drawing tool used by the artist. However, there’s another interesting one at the front of the bed that makes it look as if it’s detached from the cabin, like a typical pickup’s. On the last Ridgeline, the body sides were seamless.
It’ll be a while before Honda reveals all, including the front-end design, but spy photos of prototypes undergoing suggest it’ll be more streamlined than the one it replaces.
It’s expected to go on sale next year.
Photo Credit: Honda