In this edition of the Car Pro Test Drive, I bring you the 2017 Honda Ridgeline, the second-generation Ridgeline made by Honda.
Although Honda calls Ridgeline a pickup, it’s basically a car with a bed on the back, but that has some advantages over traditional pickups if you are not towing or hauling large loads.
2017 Honda Ridgeline
First, Ridgeline has a unibody frame versus half-ton trucks that have body-on-frame construction. You lose a lot of towing capacity with the unibody, but you gain a very car-like ride that is very enjoyable. You won’t feel bumps in the road like a normal pickup.
I was not a huge fan of the original Ridgeline that came out in 2006 and went away in 2014. However, this new model has more of a real truck bed, measuring 5 ½-feet with the tailgate up, almost 7-feet long with the tailgate down.
Under the hood, Ridgeline comes with the 3.5 liter V6 with a 6-speed automatic, and together they are putting out 280-horses. It comes in front-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive.
The low line Ridgeline is the RT and the base price is $29,475. Next up is the RTS, the Sport, the RT-L, the RTL-T, and finally the top-of-the-line, the RTL-E, which is the one I am reviewing. You can go on to the Black Edition, which is as it sounds, all black.
Cool New Tailgate
Let me point out a couple of the really cool features of the Ridgeline, which are unique. First is the tailgate. You can pull it down like every other truck out there, or you open it from the right side and swing it out. This puts you much closer to the bed itself.
With the tailgate swung open, you can access the hidden trunk, which is larger than the old version. It will hold golf clubs, a 64-ounce cooler, or fill it with ice and your favorite beverage because it has a drain plug in the bottom. It is completely waterproof too. You will also find a 400-watt rear power outlet that is behind a sealable door. You can charge your power tools, your cell phone, or anything else that you need to plug in.
Finally, in the bed, there are hidden, weatherproof speakers that will play whatever is playing in the cab as long as the vehicle is not moving. What a cool pickup for tailgating, huh?
This model of the Ridgeline has a very nice interior with leather seating, a handy center console that slides open and closed, a terrific stereo, pushbutton start, and power moonroof. In fact, my tester has no options; everything you see in my video comes standard at no charge.
You also get an 8” color screen to operate the Garmin navigation system, rearview camera, parking sensors, Bluetooth, Pandora, and the system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android. You can also activate HondaLink, which lets you interface your Ridgeline with your smartphone. You can even make service appointments and access real-time weather, traffic, and more. Like your phone, you can rearrange the icons, too, right on the HondaLink screen.
Other major standard features are pushbutton start, remote start from the key fob, blind spot warning, power seat, power sliding rear window, and a great feature called Honda Sensing.
Honda Sensing, if safety is a top concern of yours, is terrific. You get automatic braking with advanced warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning and road departure warning, which puts you back in your lane if you cross a road stripe without using your turn signal. The steering wheel vibrates, too, to further warn you.
Ride and Drive
The new Ridgeline has an incredible amount of headroom and a very good amount of rear seat room. The rear seats fold from the bottom up to give you a huge amount of room for storage or so Fido will have a safe place to ride.
This Alabama-built Ridgeline drives great, it is quiet inside, and you truly feel like you are inside a car or a crossover SUV.
Towing, Fuel Economy and What You’ll Pay
If you tow something, be aware of the limits. The front-wheel version will tow 3500 pounds, and the all-wheel is rated at 5000, but my gut feeling is that would really be pushing it.
Fuel economy is 18 in town and 25 on the highway, and the highway mileage I got was actually better.
Let’s talk price for a minute. This ultra-loaded Ridgeline has an MSRP of just over $42,000. Before you try to compare that to full-sized truck prices, which have huge rebates, it is just not an apples to apples comparison, but if you want a roomy cab, a great ride, good fuel economy, and you are not towing or hauling anything heavy, the new Ridgeline is an exceptional car, I mean truck. Either way, it’s terrific.
Honda makes cars, motorcycles, generators, boat motors, and even airplanes. The one thing they have in common is that everything they build, they do it really well. Certainly, the Ridgeline falls into that category.