Pros: Structure rigidity, More than enough Power, impressive Fuel Economy
Cons: Rear access is a bit tight, have to explain to people it’s a real truck
TL;DR: Solid truck with truck-like features while feeling a car, with tons of toys.
The 2017 Ridgeline is here to change the mid-size truck market, by offering a unique chassis and upscale features. For the 2017 model year, the Ridgeline has been completely redesigned from the ground up. Though still keeping with its unibody roots this truck is more Accord then F-150.
Most cars these days are designed via unibody construction, its light, simple and makes the car strong. And on the other side, we have trucks using generally a ladder frames with a cab and box stuck on top. Ladder frame is strong and provides the overall truck a great platform to build from, but with a frame underneath there are limitations like legroom additional weight from having two structures and not being able to utilize the space between the frame. Upon seeing the Ridgeline it’s evident that Honda engineers have worked hard to create such a vehicle. The cabin is spacious and rock solid with no chassis creeks, under the bed there’s a trunk for in bed storage that’s both lockable and weather sealed. To get access to the trunk the rear tailgate has a trick hinge where it can fold down like a regular tailgate but also swing out to have easier access.
On the road, the Ridgeline is quiet and smooth. Even with no load out back, the ride was sublime, behaving similarly to an Accord and it’s able to soak up bumps and ruts. Steering is light, making maneuvering the longest vehicle in Honda’s lineup a breeze.With the multilink suspension in the back rather than and axle like most trucks, handling is tight. Steering around objects and driving the truck aggressively doesn’t hinder the performance aspect. Behind the wheel, it feels though the truck is a lot smaller than it actually is. On the touring model, there are a few toys to keep the journey nice and safe. Honda calls it Honda Sensing technologies, it includes a few sensors and cameras which can aid the driver in all sorts of situations. Starting with Forward Collision Warning System, it’s able to sense any approaching objects in front of the Ridgeline and cue an audible and visible warning on the dash. Following that is the Collision Mitigation Braking System which will brake for you when those said objects come too close. The same sensors aid the Adaptive Cruise Control where it’s able to keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front and reducing speed when needed. In addition to those the Ridgeline also includes Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Road Departure Mitigation System. These three help the Ridgeline stay in lane and even brake the opposing wheel to steering the truck back when needed.
Powering the Ridgeline is Honda’s trusted J-series V6 making 280hp and 262lb-ft of torque, it’s not class leading but because of the overall weight, it does make it one of the fastest accelerating trucks in its class. And with the v6 it’s able to match and beat it’s competitors when comparing fuel economy. There was never a time while driving the truck that it felt it was down on power, the smooth powertrain paired with the 6-Speed automatic pulled nicely up hills and is able to even tow up to 5000lbs when properly equipped, and have a payload of 1500lbs.
Inside the Ridgeline is no work truck, it’s a very pleasant place to be and a lot more upscale than one might suspect. In fact, if there’s an Acura badge in front no-one would be the wiser. Seats are supportive and comfortable, providing the front driver and passenger with heated and cooled seats and even the rear seats are heated. A three zone climate control is available giving everyone in the cabin a nice dose of whatever temperature they feel like. On the Doors and throughout most of the cabin the Ridgeline is filled and lined with soft-touch materials and leather. In the back, the seats are also spilt folding, and with the seats up it creates an enormous area where your dog or bike can be. Also because of the low floor thanks to the construction, it’s easy to let your dog jump on up into the cabin.
Overall the Ridgeline is a great balance for people who’s looking for a Pilot but just needs that versatility of a truck, it has similar in cabin space and has similar toys and features. The bed with it’s in bed audio exciters and power outlet can make the Ridgeline one heck of a tailgate party vehicle. And when you just need to go to work, the Ridgeline proves that it’s able to handle everyday roads and even backroad with confidence.
Words and Photos by: Jimmy Mak